Handling of the day-old chick and management of the brooding program has a direct relationship on lifetime production of the bird – whether indigenous chicken, breeders, layers or broilers, as well us flock mortality. The four factors to control are;
- Air quality
Prerequisites for brooding
- Brooding houses should be isolated from other houses containing older birds. The producer should follow an “all-in, all-out” program, never mixing birds of different ages.
- All facilities must thoroughly be cleaned, and disinfected.
- Before the arrival of chicks the brood ring and heaters must be checked to ensure that they are working properly.
- On arrival, chicks should be offered fresh water containing glucose where applicable
The Importance of Brooding
The hatched chick has not developed the mechanism to regulate its body temperature, so it cannot maintain its body temperature properly for the first few weeks and can easily die due to the cold conditions of the housing.
Brooding management is mainly aimed at providing right temperature for the chicks in order to ensure their survival. Brooding provides extra heat from an external source to newly hatched chicks. When the artificial heat is not provided in the Improved Kienyeji chicken house, the chicks will not take sufficient feeds and water. This leads to retardation of growth and poor development of the internal organs responsible for digestion. As a result, the chick will not be able to digest the yolk completely.
The egg yolk is a highly nutritious feed for the chicks. As such, if it is not absorbed completely by the chick, there are growth and multiplication bacteria on the yolk leading to Early Chick Mortality (ECM) and growth retardation. A condition called omphalitis (yolk infection).
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