Chick brooding is one of the trickiest parts when it comes to chicken farming. A lot of chicks will be lost during the brooding stage if the right conditions are not met. It is important to make a round brooder.
Chicks tend to hurdle in corners of brooders with sharp edges and this is one of the most common causes of chick deaths. A round brooder doesn’t have those constraints. Your brooder should have the following:-
Have a jiko or infra-red heat source. A single jiko is enough heat source for every 300 chicks during the first three weeks of their lives. If the temperature is ok and the chicks are warm, they will move around the brooder. If the temperature is not sufficient and the chicks are cold, they will huddle in the corners or under the jikos. If temperatures are too hot, they will move away from the heat source into colder areas of the brooder.
Have a single feeder per 30 chicks
Have one drinker for every 50 chicks
Put some wood shaving or sawdust on the floor
Caring for Your Chicks
The feed the chicks as much as chick and duck mash as possible. In the first week, you can give them water which has vegetable oil or some little liquid paraffin in order to assist them with the digestion of food. You can put a single drop of these in each drinker. When the chicks arrive in the brooder for the first time, you can mix glucose and a packet of vitamins with some water in one drinker and give to them. The glucose and vitamins generally come with box of day old chicks from Kenchic.
Appropriate Chicken Houses
An ideal chicken house must be secure, clean and also dry. The house that will house your chicks and chickens must have good ventilation on both the North and South-facing sides. Additionally, it should be orientated in the East-West direction. The East and West sides should be closed off in order to stop the draught and the wind.
The open sides of the house should have curtains and these should be closed at night so to stop the draught and the wind and keep the chickens warm at night. Make sure the house has at least a single feeder and drinker for 50 chicks although the more feeders the house has, the better.
It will ensure every chick, including the weak ones is able to get enough water and food and the chicks will roughly grow at the same speed.
Every chicken should have 1 square foot of space inside the chicken structure. So if you are planning to keep 500 chickens, you will need a house that is ideally 500 square feet.
Good spacing inside the house will stop antisocial behavior inside the chicken house such as henpecking and it also reduces incidences of injuries inside the poultry house. It is important to always keep the house cleaning and cut down any bushes which are growing around the house in order to stop rats and mice. Rats and mice generally transmit fatal diseases to chickens.
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:-
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;
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).
Want to learn more brooding management tips? Order Our Comprehensive Kienyeji Chicken Farming Manual and Feed Formulation Manuals on our website here http://www.kienyejichicken.com/