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Focus on these 4 areas to ensure broiler chick success

Faultless management in the first few days of a chick’s life is critical to ensuring birds remain healthy and productive for the rest of the crop.

Nigel Strain of genetics specialist Cobb Europe said getting feed, water, air quality and temperature, and lighting in the first week are vital to creating a viable flock, reports Farmers Weekly.

By focusing on those four areas, producers can ensure good bird performance, he said.

When it comes to air quality and temperature, concrete should be at least 28°C (82.4°F) when chicks are placed, and the top of the litter temperature should be above 30°C (86°F); otherwise birds won’t be active.

Carbon dioxide levels should be kept below 3000 parts per million, Strain said.

If chicks gather around the walls it could indicate the shed is too warm, or that carbon dioxide levels have built up.

With feed, Cobb recommends a minimum of 75g of feed per bird is placed on chick paper either side of drinker lines to encourage chick feeding, while water flows should be checked regularly to ensure birds have access to clean supplies.

“You can’t know how much feed is being consumed on the floor, but if you’re achieving water consumption and the environment is right then birds will be eating. It is water consumption that drives feed consumption,” Strain said.

Finally, bright and uniformly distributed light is critical. When birds are first placed farmers should target at least 40 lux, with a minimum of 25 lux in the darkest part of the brooding area, Strain added.

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Posted on July 25, 2019

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