Hello farmers as you all know I was involved in the family poultry project at the age of 10. Growing up we used traditional methods of brooding our chicks however I realized that these were not convenient at all as we experienced high chick mortality rates. This is one reason I started Passion Poultry. I remember one day I did not put chicks in the box at night as I was supposed to because I felt lazy. The following morning 35 out of 100 of our chicks died and this was huge loss to my family. I could see the pain and frustration on my father’s face and it was that day I said to myself I should definitely get my family a machine that can keep these chicks warm during the brooding period. Fast forward in 2016, I started my own broiler project and Passion Poultry was born because I could not find any equipment for small scale farmers. I realized that Farmers are still facing the same challenges that my family were facing when I was 10years. Today I am going to share nuggets on brooding!
Brooding is the period between 0 -14 days in summer and 21 days in winter. This is the most crucial stage as it will determine whether a farmer is going to make a profit or a loss. According to the Feedmix management tips, this is the critical management of temperature, feeding, litter and ventilation for chicks to develop their thermos regulatory system.
Brooding is the period from day old to 2 weeks when chicks require extra care especially in terms of heat supplement for them to strive. It is at this stage that the farmer assumes the role of the mother hen, hence the farmer must ensure that:
The new environment mimics the old one
- Try and make sure that the environment is as close to the egg environment as possible.
- The temperature (30-33 degrees) at day 1 and ventilation are critical parameters.
- Since food was easily provided in the egg through the navel, the farmer should ensure they mimic this by increasing feeding and drinking space.( hence need for supplementary feeders and drinkers)
Passion Poultry brooding devices can be used for both spot brooding or partial house brooding.
An ideal brooder should have the following:
- Chicken curtains bought from reliable suppliers or made from used feed sacks. These should be hanged both in and out of the chick mesh. An allowance of 20cm should be left from the top of the roof to where the curtains are placed to ensure proper ventilation.
- Artificial ceiling made from used feed sacks.
- Litter in the form of wood shavings which should be 15cm deep or the height of an Eversharp 15M pen for a good floor temperature.
- A spacing density of 33 birds’ square meter during the first week and 25 birds per square meter during the second week.
- A source of heat such as the biomass chick heater from Passion Poultry. This is highly recommended as the biomass briquette produces less carbon monoxide and less carbon dioxide thereby reduces the chances that your chicks will be affected by respiratory diseases.
- A good light, preferably a solar light to reduce electricity charges.
- One drinker for every 50 chicks and one drinker for every 50 chicks.
- Make sure that you prepare your brooder 24hours before your chicks arrive, these include preheating the brooder, with enough chick fonts and feeders.
- Place feed on chick paper or newspapers around the brooder area, these will be for supplementary feed. The noise that the paper makes stimulates the chicks to eat.
This set up will help the farmer reduce parasites and diseases in broilers.
NB: THIS information is from personal experience and Co created with 700 small scale Poultry farmers in Zimbabwe.
Written by Evangelista Chekera © for Passion Poultry