By Patrick Shoriwa & Taruvinga Magwiroto

Brooding is a critical phase in the broiler production cycle, therefore it is important to get it right first time every time whenever a poultry farmer starts this journey of rearing broilers or broiler breeders.

So what is brooding in poultry production? The brooding period refers to the period in the life of the chick from day old to around 4 weeks of age. The early days are particularly critical (first week), and extra care needs to be taken.

The key brooding fundamentals to be given special attention to provide a good chick start are:

  1. Feed
  2. Temperature
  3. Water
  4. Ventilation

The goal of brooding is to stimulate early feed intake, good flock uniformity and good early start in the growth of the chick. That is, to achieve 4 ½ times the day old weight at 7 days. This goal can only be attained through good management of the above listed brooding fundamentals.


Benefits of Early Feed Intake

Like all young animals, chicks are susceptible to cold and diseases because of the immaturity of its temperature regulating and immune-systems. As such, the first 24 hours after placement a chick needs to consume 20 -25% of its body weight in feed. Once the chick starts eating:

On the other hand, poor early feed intake results in:

  1. Reduced weight gain
  2. Higher mortality because of increased culling for small non starter chicks
  3. Poor flock uniformity i.e difficult to market birds of different sizes

There are therefore different methods of stimulating early feed intake for one to get this brooding fundamental right first time every time. The methods are as follows:

Brooding temperature targets

  1. Litter temperature 32 degrees Celsius
  2. Floor temperature 28 degrees Celcius
  3. House temperature 33 degrees Celcius
  4. Under brooders 40.5 degrees celcius

Lastly feed intake should be evaluated or assessed after 24 hours of placement through performing a procedure called CROP FILL test. This involves sampling 100 chicks and 95% of chicks should have their crops with water and feed. The guide is as shown below:

Look out for Part2 as we discuss the remaining aspects of brooding. Meantime don’t forget to like or comment if you found this article useful!

Exit mobile version