Brooding in poultry is necessary for the small chick that has just been brought out from the hatchery, as it is known from the local fowl, the hen always covers the chicks to prevent them from catching cold especially when theirs cold. The hen does this with its feathers until the chicks are of age when the heat is no longer needed. Meanwhile due to the fact that broilers are hatched in large quantity, they cannot be covered by any mother hen and for this reason, brooding is essential to prevent cold from entering the chicks.
What is brooding? Brooding can be defined as the period whereby the chicks are provided with heat after hatchery until the heat is no longer needed to keep them alive. At the period, the chicks must have grown enough feathers to protect their body from cold and at the same time the heat from the chick’s body is warm enough to keep the warm away from cold.
Preparation of the brooding house
Before the chicks are brought into the house, it is first depopulated and sprayed with the approved insecticide both inside and some meters outside the house to get rid of any kind of insect that might bring harm to the chicks.
After which the house, the feeding trays and the drinkers should be washed with detergent and rinsed with clean water then allow to dry properly before disinfecting it to avoid transfer of diseases or infection from the previous occupant to the new occupant. The window and door areas of the house should also be covered to reduce inflow of cold air into the house. This is done to reduce heat loss from the house especially in a case where there is no constant heat supply to keep the house warm.
The floor should be well covered with any material, could be paper or any material that can absorb water from the bird’s droppings or from the drinker as they tend to wet their bodies from the water
The sides of the brooding room or pen should be covered with clean card or paper or cut out bags to prevent the birds from picking dirt from around the walls of the pen or house.
Warm temperature is required for brooding chicks to keep them off from cold and to keep their body warm always as this will prevent clustering.
On arrival, water with glucose or little sugar is glucose is not available should be provided for the chicks to recover their energy which was exhausted from the travel
Feeds should be provided at least 2 hours after the chicks are placed in the pen or house. The feed should be sprinkled all over the entire floor. Hours later, the feed should be poured in flat type feeder lids or any clean object that won’t be hard for the chicks to pick their food from.
The period of brooding is between 0 – 3 weeks, during this period the chicks should be monitored always to be ensure that the temperature of the room is not too hot nor cold, ensure that there is presence of water and feed.
- Check with the vet doctor for the drugs to be administered to the chicks from time to time.
- Ensure to ventilate the pen or house from time to time get rid of carbon dioxide and ammonia.
- Ensure proper heat provision to prevent clustering and possibly stampede.
- Ensure to remove the paper or absorber on the floor once it’s wet or dirty this will help the poultry birds healthy and poultry clean.
- Provide another foot wear for the brooding that’s not used elsewhere to prevent infection from entering the pen though some may decide to go barefoot.
- provide at least one drinker for fifty birds.
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