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Five common issues during brooding

The brooding period is important to getting chicks off to a good start and influences flock performance. Depending on the market weight, the brooding period represents as much as 1/3 of the grow-out period. The chick is still developing and will grow rapidly during this period. The objective is to minimize stress on the chick so that the majority of the energy is directed towards growth and development. Below are five common issues seen during the brooding period that can have negative influence on broiler performance. Once chicks have been hatched, the growing period is taking off. That can only be successful if all conditions in the growing house are under full control. Proper managing five critical factors is of great importance. Litter material: The floors in broiler houses are covered with bedding material. The main purpose of bedding material is to absorb moisture. Broilers retain approximately 20% of the water they consume and the other 80% is excreted or expired into the house environment. In addition to moisture absorption, bedding insulates the birds from the cool house floor which is either packed dirt or concrete, provides a cushion for the birds as they walk around the house, and helps dilute manure as birds scratch around in the material. Common materials used as bedding include but are not limited to: pine shavings, peanut hulls and rice hulls. A minimum of 3 inches (7.6 cm) in thickness is required from wall to wall in the house and will vary with the bedding material that is used. Another way to look at this is to compare the litter base to a sponge. A thicker sponge will absorb more water. Improper amounts of litter will result in litter quality deteriorating more rapidly even under proper ventilation rates. Poor litter quality can increase ammonia production, microbial loads, footpad dermatitis, coccidiosis, and dermatitis…Click here to read more

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