Poultry International - September 2017 - 29
PoultryInternational ❙ 29
Effective brooding will enable good development
of the intestines, allowing the birds to absorb nutrients
from their water and feed consumption.
Achieving appropriate floor temperature and good
water and feed intake will maintain the chicks' desired
body temperature of 40-40.6C in the first four days.
To achieve this intake, we recommend the following:
✔Provide the chicks with good quality crumb
✔Cover 50 percent of the brooding area with paper,
placing a line each side of each drinker line
✔Place at least 75g of chick feed on to the papers (lasting at least four days)
✔If paper is not an option, supplementary trays should
be provided, at least one per 50 chicks
✔Place each feed pan as low as possible
✔Flood each feed pan with feed for ease of access
✔During brooding, manually activate each feed line
regularly to ensure each pan remains full
Conduct regular crop-fill checks of at least 100
chicks in different areas of the poultry house during
the first 24 hours. At least 95 percent of the chicks
should have water and feed present in their crops the
morning after chick placement.
✔360 degree nipples should be used for ease of access
✔Regular flushing should be practiced to control water
temperature and prevent biofilm
✔Water temperature should be kept below 25C (below
20C if vaccinating orally)
✔Nipple height should be evaluated at least daily
✔Nipple flow rate should be checked and increased at
Moisture levels will normally be higher underneath
the drinker lines, but should be maintained at no more
than 35 percent.
At least 70 percent of water consumed by the birds
ends up in the litter. A typical bird grown to 35 days
consumes 6 liters during the cycle. A house of 40,000
birds will add approximately 170,000 liters of moisture
to the litter - 7 percent of the volume in an Olympic-size
September 2017 ❙ www.WATTAgNet.com
Excessive flow rates or low drinker lines result in
spillages. Nigel Strain
swimming pool. Capped litter traps unwanted moisture
and noxious gases.
Ventilation is the only tool available to remove
moisture. It is essential in controlling the environment,
including air quality and temperature.
Minimum ventilation is pivotal in removing moisture from the house and providing the birds with their
oxygen demand. Under ventilating during brooding
will allow moisture to build in the litter, causing issues with capping and wet litter, usually toward the
end of the third week. Adequately ventilating will help
maintain the required moisture content of litter (30-35
Relative humidity (RH) is a measure of the moisture holding capacity of the air. It should be kept below
70 percent at all times. When the temperature of the
incoming air is increased by 1C, the RH is decreased
by 4-5 percent, raising its moisture holding capacity.
Correct air speed is essential in achieving this.
When it comes to litter quality, there are many factors to consider. However, controlling the DRIVE is
the key to achieving excellent broiler performance. ■
Nigel Strain is broiler specialist, Cobb-Vantress.