Chicks should be kept in the brooder for the first three weeks under controlled conditions. There are modern brooders made of plastic or steel but you can as well make use of plywood brooders in a round pen which should be at least 60cm high.
The wooden brooder should have the following:-
- Wood shavings on the floor to keep the brooder dry and also provide warmth to the chicks
- Have enough feeders and drinkers. There should be one feeder and one drinker for every 50 chicks but you can reduce the ratio to one for every 30 in order to provide optimal feeding conditions with very little overcrowding of the chicks.
- Have enough of high quality commercial chick mash. The Fugo and Chick and Duckling mash is a good one and this should be fed to the chicks for the first 8 weeks.
- Have clean drinking water in good and efficient drinkers where there is less contamination.
- Have a jiko in the middle of the brooder in order to keep the chicks warm. There should be one jiko for every 300 chicks. Check out our Kienyeji Chicken Farming Manual for additional information on the chick behavior at various temperatures and how to achieve optimal temperature.
Below is a diagram on how you can set up your brooder:-
When you are changing feeds, do it slowly so that you do not put the chicks under any duress. For example, you can change one feeder at a time. Use red feeders as well red color drinkers in order to attract the chicks to the feed. You can also use feeders and drinkers with bright yellow colors. Check out our post on the importance of red or yellow feeders and drinkers.
Vaccination Schedule for Common Diseases in Poultry
Follow this schedule when it comes to vaccinating your chicks:-