Raising Day Old Broiler Chicks for Meat Production
This guide has been put togetehr to be used as a quick and practical reference for both the enthusiastic and experienced poultry keeper. Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
This guide summarizes the best management practices for broilers kept under good nutritional management and health conditions that we consider the most appropriate for achieving good broiler performance, health and welfare.
1. Chick Management & Brooding
2. Feeding & Drinking Requirements
3. Removing Your Chicks from the Heat
It is important that all birds are always handled in a calm and responsible manner.
Promoting early feeding and drinking is essential for the bird’s performance and welfare.
Preparing your brooder for the arrival of your chicks
Your brooder should be clean and disinfected prior to the arrival of your chicks.
Your brooder should have been pre heated for 2 – 3 hours before the arrival of your birds. Using either a heat lamp or a chick heat plate. What’s the difference between a heat lamp and a heat plate?
We recommend that your brooder should be 30 degrees Celsius at chick height when they are being placed.
Spread 5 – 10cm of Wood Shavings evenly throughout the brooder. Why should I use Wood Shavings in my brooder?
Ensure that feed and water are available to the chicks immediately upon arrival to the brooder.
A quality chick crumb is vital and will determine how well your chick is going to develop. If the pellet is too big or the feed is full of the dust it could have severe consequences on your birds. What is the best feed for broiler chicks?
Placement of your chicks
If you purchased your chicks from a reputable supplier they should arrive in specially designed boxes that allows airflow and prevents draughts.
For more information on how to set up the Perfect Brooder check out this article
Setting up the Perfect Brooder
The bedding, feed and water should be topped up at regular intervals for the first 4 days.
Do not give full sized pellets until the birds are at least 18 days of age.
It is essential that you monitor chick behavior to ensure that brooding conditions are correct.
If the chicks are all chirping and huddling underneath the heat source it means that they are too cold so it would be advisable to either lower the heat source or add another one.
If the chicks are all around the edges of your brooder or visibly panting, they are too hot, we recommend raising the heat source or increasing the size of your brooder.
In either circumstance you must check back on the birds regularly for the next 2 hours.
If the chicks are spread out evenly and alert, then no action is required.
Check Out Our Broiler Feeding Program
Birds should have access to clean, fresh, good quality drinking water 24 hours a day.
Your birds should have to travel no more than 2m or 6.6 ft to water.
How many drinkers you require is dependent on a number of different factors such as the size of the drinker or the quantity of birds. It is best to just observe. It is also vital that you purchase a shallow base chick drinker or a drinker with a chick protector ring to prevent them from drowning.
Place the chick drinker on the ground and gradually raise as they grow. As a general rule of thumb a poultry drinker should always be level with the birds back.
Removing your chicks from heat
At 3 weeks of age you can begin to remove your chicks from the heat gradually. It is best to first do this when you are going to be able to check on them at regular intervals.
The first day you may leave off the heat for 3 hours and observe how the chicks respond. If the chicks remain spread out evenly the this is an indicator that they are ready to be removed from heat but if they all cluster together then they are not yet ready and should be given another few days. The amount of time the chicks require under heat can vary from month to month depending on the weather.
Presuming that your chicks were able to manage the first day without the external heat on the second day you can turn the heat off first thing in the morning and turn it back on at night.
You repeat this process for the next 3 – 4 days and your chicks will now be ready to start the second stage of their life cycle!
How to set up the Perfect Brooder
Broiler Feeding Program
Raising Off Heat Broiler Chickens
What is the best bedding material for my birds?
Where do we source our chicks?
How much space do day old broiler chicks need?
Day Old Broiler Chicks need 1/2 a square foot per bird for their first week however, they will quickly outgrow this space requirement.
How much heat do my broiler chicks require?
Broiler Chicks require their brooder to be at approximately 30 degrees Celsius. If using a chick heat plate, the number of chicks that it is suitable for will be clearly displayed in the instruction manual or if using a heat lamp you should have one 250 watt lamp for every 50/60 birds. Of course, you can still use a heat lamp even if you only have 3/4 chicks – 60 is the maximum.
How often are Day Old Chicks Available?
We have Day Old Chicks available for delivery every week. All you have to is place your order online, select your date and collection point and we take care of the rest.
How long will it take for my day old broiler chicks to reach slaughter weights?
Intensively – If you rear your broilers indoors intensively you can expect to reach slaughter weight between 6 – 8 weeks from the time of hatch.
Free Range – If you decide to rear your broilers outdoors you can expect your birds to reach slaughter weight at around 8 – 10 weeks from the time of hatch.
If you have any questions which have not been answered in this article fill out the contact form below and we will answer your question in the same day!