Do you want to build a big flock of Kienyenji chickens within a short time? If so, learn the basics of proper brooding. This is the art of raising young chicks until they become less vulnerable adult chickens. Brooding can be challenging, if you lack motivation, knowledge and suitable equipment. It is a labor-intensive process that requires a lot of commitment and caution. Mistakes made during brooding can cause unexpected deaths of chicks, leading to wastage of time and money. Hence, an aspiring kienyenji chicken farmer like you should know everything about brooding even before you begin farming. In this article, you will learn the basics of the chicken brooding process.
Essentials of the brooding process
- Litter management – Before chicks’ placement, lay a dry flooring material (like sawdust) on the floor of your brooding house. Up to four inches of dry bedding litter will be enough to provide enough warmth. The litter should be dry and clean; so, take the time to get rid of as much wetness as possible. Needless to say, you should lay fresh and dry litter when the current one becomes soiled.
- Temperature management – Just like a new-born baby, a day-old chick needs a lot of warmth. Its feathers are not thick enough to shield its tiny body from the cold. As well as dying from the cold, chicks can succumb to extreme heat. So you have to regulate temperatures often to keep your chicks comfortable and safe. The best source of heat is the infra-red heating system, although some farmers start out with a charcoal jiko. This heat source should be placed in the middle of your brooding ring. In the first week, maintain the heat at 32 degrees Celsius. If your chicks are receiving excessive heat, they will move further away from the heat source and if it’s too cold, they will come closer to it and cluster together. When temperature is just right, your chicks will scatter all over the brooder ring.
- Proper lighting – During their first week of life, chicks needs help locating something to eat. Thus, you should place a bright light source in the brooder ring to help your little birds locate their food and water. But, as they grow up and mature, your birds will no longer require very bright light as their eyesight will be stronger. Besides, a bright light source can encourage cannibalism among grown birds.
- Good ventilation – As a small-scale Kienyenji chicken farmer, you should pay attention to the air quality within the brooder house and ring. This is particularly true if you intend to use a charcoal jiko as your heat source. Charcoal produces carbon monoxide when burnt and can cause gas poisoning that could kill your chicks. Perhaps a smoke emitter can help. Furthermore, you should always condition your litter to reduce the high concentration of ammonia gas in the brooding house. Otherwise, your chicken might suffer from blindness and/or ammonia burns. When constructing your brooding house, think about ventilation inlets. Don’t leave ventilation inlets that will let in excessive wind from the outside, though, as it might end up blowing your chicks along with their feed and water.
- Make clean water and feed available – Pure water for drinking is ideal for young chicks. Plenty of it is necessary from the very day they are placed in a brooder ring. So you will require a device called a drinker. Get one that will suit your little birds’ height now and one they can grow with. As chicks will not drink as much water as adult birds, you should discard their water often to avoid contamination. Concerning the feed, chicks should eat the right kind to their fill from the first day onwards. During the first week, your concern should be less on the amount of feed that each bird eats and more on whether each one of them will access food. In short, providing adequate feeding space or a feeding chance to every chick is the most important thing to ensure when you receive your first flock. Even if every chick has an opportunity to eat, it may fail to do so if it feels too cold, hot or thirsty. Hence, a good chicken farmer should strive to maintain all the conditions that can boost the survival rate of the chicks.
- Immunization – You can make your chicks as comfortable as possible and still lose most of them to death because you have not vaccinated them. So, following the Kienyenji chicks’ vaccination schedule is a must if you want to brood your chicks successfully.
If you follow the above-mentioned tips, you will greatly raise your chicks’ survival rate and build a profitable chicken rearing business.