Brooding is a critical period when poultry farmers must give day old chicks a good start so that they can perform optimally.
It is important for farmers to ensure that during brooding any form of stress on the chicks is eliminated so that the energy consumed is efficiently utilized for growth and skeletal development.
The following factors are necessary for excellent brooding:
The brooding house and equipments must be clean, thoroughly washed with disinfectants and detergent. Litters must be cleared off the premises or burnt, cobwebs must be removed, properly covered and fumigated. It must be isolated or far from other pens, it must have food dip, clean water source, rodents eradication and visitors must not be allowed entry so that the chicks will prevented from diseases.
These are the materials thaurpose of absorption moisture and feaces and floor insulation. It must be dry, clen, free of mould and 2-3cm thick to improve its water absorption rate. Examples are wood shavings, rice husks, shredded papers, straws etc. It must be well managed otherwise it will lead high bacteria load, high level of ammonia production, protozoan and other bacterial infections which will have adverse effects on the birds health.
3. Adequate Temperature
Chicks require adequate warmth to keep the birds active so that they can eat and consume water well. The temperature of the brooding house in the first week should be 35°C and reduced by 1°C every other week. Thermometer should be in the brooding house to measure temperature and if there’s none the following signs:
- Huddling – signifies low temperature;
- Chicks running away from heat source – very high temperature;
- Even spread of chicks – adequate temperature.
4. Adequate Ventilation
Ventilation is very important during the brooding period so that gaseous exchange of ammonia gas, dust and stale air can be refreshed with fresh air.
5. Adequate Lighting
Lighting is very important during brooding as it will help the chicks to see feed and water properly. The better the lighting, the higher the chicks activity and which will in return make the chicks grow properly. Farmers must ensure 23 – 24 hours lightning during brooding.
6. Feed and Water
Provision of adequate feeders and drinkers will help the birds feed ad libitum. The feed and water should be of very good quality, samples of feed and water can be sent to the laboratory for proximate analysis. Feeders and drinkers should adjusted as they grow to reduce feed wastage.
Lastly, farmers must put in effort to give their chicks a good start so as to maximise the flock performance.