Category Archives: Kienyeji Chick Brooding

The Dos and Don’ts When it Comes to Chick Brooding

The toughest phase in raising your kienyeji chickens is during the chick brooding. This is the period when they are most delicate and where mistakes can be quite costly.

Many farmers prefer to start raising the chicks on their own right from the first day when the chicks are one day old. It is generally cheaper to acquire chicks at this stage so you can build a fairly large flock within a very short period of time.

Diagram of Chick Brooder Setup
Diagram of Chick Brooder Setup

However, the chick brooding stage requires special as well as intensive care in order to boost the survivability of the chicks. The problem is that many of the farmers who acquire the chicks are generally insufficiently prepared for the first few weeks. As a result, they end up incurring high mortality and huge losses that can easily be avoided.

The first few weeks of the chicks’ life is important not just for the survivability. The chicks may survive but if you didn’t give them optimal care during this stage, it may still end up impacting their physiological and development processes and thus impacting their yield.

One of the most critical factors during this stage is warmth. It is imperative that the chicks are given optimal warmth and protection. In natural brooding setting, the mother’s body and feathers is sufficient to supply the kids with optimal natural warmth.

However, in an artificial brooding environment, you have to try and recreate this environment to boost the chicks chances. You have to ensure that you are getting the artificial brooding conditions. That will require consulting widely and acquiring the right equipment for the task. The type of brooding conditions that you provide will have an impact on the chicks’ growth.

The Brooder

To prevent the chicks from huddling in one corner and thereby overcrowding and getting injured or suffocated, it is advisable that you use the brooder rings which are quite advantageous as they do not have corners.

Infrared Chick Brooder
Infrared Chick Brooder

Additionally, you must make sure that you have fumigated and disinfected the poultry house before you introduce the chicks into the poultry house.

The chicks are generally quite sensitive and delicate while they are still young so the farmer must go the extra mile to provide a sterile environment where they can grow safely.

Make sure that the litter and the bedding is disinfected and dried before they are spread on the brooder ring to line the flooring.

You can also use a newspaper layer to line the litter in the poultry house. This should also be sprayed lightly with some disinfectant. Make sure that you change the newspaper lining on a regular basis, at least after every two to three days. When it comes to raising day old chicks, you must never compromise on the hygiene.

Temperature

Chicks are covered in light feathers that offer very little insulation from the temperature extremes. This makes them fully reliant on the external heat source for survival. If you don’t provide optimal brooding temperatures, the chicks are either going to die from cold or heat stress.

Low temperatures will stunt the growth of the chicks as the feeds they take in is converted into heat instead of being used to power their growth. In brooding conditions, you must there provide a reliable external heat source such as infra-red heating system or just the normal jikos or ovens that will provide the chicks with sufficient heat.

The heat source provided in the brooding area must be centrally situated inside the brooder ring. During the first week, maintain the temperatures at 32 degrees Celsius.

When introducing heat into the brooding area, make sure that you carefully observe the chick behavior. If it is too hot inside the brooder ring, the chicks will move away from the heat source. If it is too cold, the chicks are going to huddle together under the heat source. If the temperatures are ok, the chicks will be evenly distributed inside the brooder ring.

Lighting

The brooder must be supplied with adequate lighting. The lighting is necessary to help the day old chicks locate the food and water inside the brooder ring. During the first 7 days after the chick placement, make sure that you provide bright lighting inside the brooder ring.

However, as the chicks grow older, make sure that you reduce or step down the lighting gradually so as to prevent cannibalism in the birds.

Ventilation

You must maintain very good air quality inside the brooder ring. This is particularly important if you are using the charcoal burners to keep the poultry house warm. A high accumulation of carbon monoxide in the poultry house is likely to lead to gas poisoning. On the other hand, a high concentration of ammonia gas in the poultry house is likely to cause ammonia burns and blindness in your chickens.

Vaccination

We have provided a vaccination schedule for your kienyeji chicken on this website that you must make sure you follow religiously. Also, make sure you provide the chicks with multivitamins before and after the vaccination.

Feed and Water

You can start your chicks off with a starter mash and eventually, you will introduce them into a grower mash. Make sure you provide the chicks with clean and fresh water at all times. Chickens will never forgive you if you fail to meet their water needs. It is likely to impact their development and productivity over the long term. During the early stages, you can also supply the chicks with a chick booster which is a mixture of glucose and vitamins.

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Poultry Farming: Chick Placement and Record Keeping

The objective in the first three weeks of poultry farming is to ensure there is maximum survival for your chicks. Here are some tips on chick placement that will help you achieve maximum survival rates:-

What to Do at the Collection Point

  • Count all the chicks in order to ensure that the number is right.
  • Ensure that the chicks are uniform. They should be alert, active, and should be free of any deformities or sign of infection. Their navels should also have been fully healed.
  • Ask the hatchery for relevant information about the vaccination of chicks. For example, have they been vaccinated? What is the vaccinated program or schedule for the broilers, layers, kienyeji, Kuroiler or Rainbow Rooster depending on the kind of day old chicks which you are purchasing?

Transportation of the Chicks

  • The chicks should be transported in a vehicle that is well-ventilated but it should not be windy inside.
  • The chicks should be protected from direct exposure to some if the elements including rain, sunshine or chemicals.
  • When loading the chick boxes for transportation, ensure that the circulation of air is not interfered with and the lower boxes are not squashed.
  • The chicks should be transported direct from the hatchery to the farm with no unnecessary stops. Remember that the time period between hatching and placement in brooder should range from 6-12 hours in order to avoid putting unnecessary strain on the chicks.

Arrival at the farm

Remove the chick boxes carefully from the vehicle and place them in your housing structure which should have been prepared in advance. Remove the chicks carefully from the chick boxes and place them in the brooder rings.  It is ideal that the chicks are placed inside the brooder ring within 6-12 hours after they have hatched.  The longer you take with chick placement inside the brooder ring, the more the chicks are going to be adversely affected.

RECORD KEEPING FOR YOUR POULTRY FARMING

  • Before you even bring the chicks, open a record book where you will record all the happenings in the poultry farm. Check our Kienyeji Chicken Farming Manual for information on the various kinds of records that you need to keep for your poultry farm.

The record keeping in your poultry farm will help you calculate your expenses, losses, revenues and profits. Your records should include the following:-

  • Records of type of feeds the chicks are consuming
  • Batch number
  • Feed expiry date
  • Daily feed intake
  • Daily mortality
  • Culls
  • Daily egg production
  • Vaccinations and Cost
  • Other expenses

WEIGHING YOUR POULTRY

The chickens should be weighed on a weekly basis. Do it at the same time and on the same day every week.  If you are doing broiler farming in Kenya, weighing will let you know when your chickens are ready for the market. If you are doing commercial layer farming in Kenya, weighing your hens every week will let you know when they are about to begin laying eggs.

Keep vaccination as well as medication records for your flock.  Some of the information that should be included in the vaccination record include the following:-

  • Age of the poultry during vaccination/medication
  • The drug or vaccine used
  • Mode of drug/vaccine administration
  • Batch number
  • Expiry date

These records will guide the veterinarians a lot when they are coming to examine your flock. It also helps them to prescribe quick solutions for problems affecting your poultry.

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