Poultry brooding is defined as the management of baby chicks from one day old to about 8 weeks of age, and it involves the provision of heat and other necessary care during chicks’ early growing period.
As normally, the type of poultry brooding include natural brooding and artificial brooding, this article will introduce the artificial brooding in details.
Artificial brooding can be defined as the handling of newly born chicks without the aid of hens. It is accomplished by means of a temperature-controlled brooder (foster mother). Artificial brooding has several advantages over the natural method, which are:
Poultry chicks may be reared at any time of the season.
Thousands of chicks may be brooded by a single person.
Sanitary conditions may be controlled.
The temperature may be regulated.
Poultry Feeding may be undertaken according to the plan.
The essentials of a good brooder are a dependable mechanism for controlling temperature and regular supply of fresh air, dryness, adequate light, space, easy disinfection, protection against chick enemies, safety from fire, and economic in construction.
Management of Chicks in the Brooder
Adjust the temperature as per the requirement of the chicks. In the case of oil heating, see that there is no defect in the stove or lamp. Chicks should not have access to the heated parts of the lamp at any cost.
Avoid a damp poultry house. You can use a deep litter system.
Discourage litter eating by the chicks, and scatter mash over egg case flats when the chicks are first taken out of their boxes.
Provide balanced standard mash.
Keep provision for the entrance of fresh air.
Provide clean, fresh water in front of the birds at least twice daily.
Clean the brooders including feed hoppers daily.
Follow a regular vaccination program.
Avoid overcrowding as this will lead to slow growth and mortality.
Keep the brooder in such a place that cold wind and rain do not get in.
Daily inspect the condition of birds and their faces for any sort of abnormality.
Keep in touch with any veterinarian for help in your time of need.
It is always advisable to check the fittings, temperature control, feed, and water trough arrangement before shifting the chicks into the brooder.
Poultry Brooding Equipment
While brooding is an important management practice in poultry production, it is important to know the required chicks brooding equipments. Remember, the purpose of brooding is to raise healthy chicks and provide the required heat (mimicking the mother hen) until they are able to adapt and regulate their body temperature to the ambient temperature.
For brooding to be successful, there is some equipment that must be available in the brooder house/pen. These are the equipment used for brooding:
Baby chicks feeders are necessary to provide chicks with food. The best chicks feeders are those that minimize waste while providing enough feed for the chicks. Such like the round feeder trays and flip-top feeders as is.
Poultry waterers are necessary to provide chicks with water. Like feeders, there are many different types of drinkers on the market, so it is important to select a drinker that works for chicks and young birds. There are broiler nipple drinkers and fountain drinkers for chicks.
Brooders are necessary to provide chicks with the required heat. To provide the necessary heat some type of brooding device is required.
Infrared heat lamps
Infrared lamps are an excellent source of heat for brooding small flocks of chicks. The initial cost of equipment is relatively small, and the lamps are excellent for supplying heat to the chicks. The infrared lamp is suspended approximately 18 inches above the litter. One 250-watt bulb is sufficient to brood up to seventy-five chicks.
Other brooders manufactured commercially are fired by oil, gas, electricity, wood, or coal. These have a hover to keep the heat down at floor level. Such brooders are excellent for flocks of one hundred chicks or more. Some of them are rated at a capacity in excess of 750 chicks.
Whatever brooder stove you use, it should have the capacity to heat adequately and a means for controlling the temperature accurately.
The chick or brooder guards help keep chicks within the brooder and help protect them from predators. There are many different types of brooder guards on the market. Most brooder guards are corrugated boards that are used together with brooder guard stands.
It is important to have a room thermometer inside the brooding pen or house. It is used for monitoring the ambient temperature inside the brooding house. With the help of the room thermometer, you will know if the temperature within the brooding house is cold, moderate or high.
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