Rearing of the Day-Old Chick
Brooding is essential for the chicks. Brooding is the process of supplying
artificial beat to the chicks from the time they are taken out from the
incubators up to the time their bodies can control their beat requirements and
they are covered with feathers.
The following are the basic requirements for brooding day-old chicks:
1. Sufficient Heat
- Provide sufficient artificial heat to keep chicks comfortably warm during the day or night. Avoid abrupt changes in brooder temperature during the first-two weeks of life.
- The following set of temperatures have been found to be ideal for brooding under Philippine conditions. Use this as a guide only.
The behavior of the day-old chicks in the brooder can be used as guideline for the correct brooding temperature. When the temperature is hot, the chicks will pant, spread out their wings, eat less and remain inactive, move away from the source of heat and stay close to the edges of tile brooder. When temperature is low, the chicks will crowd under the heater, pile up and make known their comfort loud chirping.
2. Adequate Light and Ventilation
- A well-lighted brooder attracts and encourages the chicks to start feeding.
- Provide sufficient ventilation to supply plenty of oxygen and facilitate the removal of carbon dioxide and excess moisture. When there is not enough ventilation, the chicks will not only be weak and in poor condition but will also be more predisposed to respiratory diseases
3. Ample space to avoid overcrowding
- Provide the brooder with enough space to avoid overcrowding which leads to poorly developed chicks, high mortality as well as harmful vices like toe picking, feather picking or cannibalism.
4. Healthy stocks
- Select only healthy chicks, which can be easily recognized by their dry, fluffy feathers, bright eyes and alert active appearance. Avoid chicks with wet vents and dull eyes.
5. Correct Feeding
- Provide the chicks with good quality feeds either home grown or commercially sourced.
- Feed the chicks intermittently rather than continuously. Research studies have shown that when using intermittent feeding chicks utilize nutrients better.
- Do not allow feed troughs to go empty longer than one to two hours.
6. Proper Sanitation
- Cleanliness and dryness of the brooding quarters will prevent contamination of the chicks from parasites and diseases which may be carried by previous brooded chicks.
7. Regularity of Care and Management
- Environment should be kept as uniform as possible. Sudden changes in surroundings cause a certain degree of stress or insecurity. Such examples are removal of brooder canopy and slamming doors of brooder houses or the presence of drafts.
- It is advisable that a regular caretaker feed the chickens following a definite schedule during the first 3 weeks of the chick’s life.
8. Environmental Control
Optimum house temperature for laying birds is between 18°C-29°C. Within this range, maintain a uniform house temperature when possible. Flock health and performance are highly dependent on temperature control and good ventilation. Fans may aid in keeping the birds more comfortable during hot summer months. In environmentally controlled houses be sure to provide for adequate air movement especially during hot weather.
Evaporative cooling may be used to lower the house temperature.
- Make sure that feeds and fresh water are always available. Vitamins, minerals and antibiotic supplements may be added to the drinking water during the first few days. Consult your feed dealer.
- Always check the chicks at night before going to sleep.
- After 7 to 10 days the brooder floor mats can be removed.
- More feeders and waterers should be made available as the chicks grow.
- Vaccination against avian pest is a good measure to prevent the outbreak of the disease.
- AIl weak, deformed and sickly chicks should be culled right away and properly disposed of.
- The immediate burning or burying of dead birds is an important part of a good sanitation program. Use an incinerator if dealing with large numbers or bury them in the ground right away. Do not expose to flies or rats.
source: wwwldc.da.gov.ph, photo from sabong.net.ph