Below are a few tips on how to source, what to look out for as well as measures to be put in place ahead of poultry birds arrival
- Day old chicks should be purchased from a reliable hatchery in order to obtain quality chicks that have very healthy and genetic production potential.
- Place your order in advance, always seek the advice of your veterinarian on the choice of the breed and the hatchery.
- It is very important to be fully prepared before you collect your day old chicks; ensure that they are properly transported and received at the farm. This increases their survival rate during the brooding period.
- Upon receiving birds, inquire about the vaccinations already done at the hatchery.
- Prepare the brooding room about 3 weeks before the chicks arrive.
- Two days to arrival, sweep the brooding house and clean all the equipment.
- Put litter to a depth of about 7.cm (3 inches) on the floor, cover the litter material with rough brown paper or old newspaper. This is to prevent chicks from eating the wood shavings while learning to eat. The paper may be removed after four days.
- The source of heat should be in place, if your brooding room is an open sided house; cover the open sides with thick polythene bags, thick boards or any other suitable material. Put on the heat source of the warm the brooding room and place feed in the feeders.
- Six hours before the chicks arrive, fill the drinkers with portable drinking water ( It is advisable that you add Glucose to the initial eater to help revitalise the chicks after a long journey). Count the chicks as they arrive and remove all deformed chicks, teach the weak ones how to drink. Never rush into feeding chicks upon arrival.
- After putting down the chicks watch them for about an hour and observe hoe comfortable they are, if the huddle in the centre close to the source of heat, they are cold. If the room is too hot, they will move away from the source of heat.
- A day after arrival, some feed may also be sprinkled on the paper covering the litter to tach them how to feed. After the first day, flat feeding trays should be used as feeders during the first two weeks.
FEATURES OF FIRST CLASS CHICKS
- Capacity to grow and mature in line with its genetic potential.
- Clean after hatch
- Stand firmly and walk well; i.e extended/ well stretched toes, well developed legs that are soft and well hydrated
- Alert and active.
- Vocalize contentedly
- Free of deformities; no signs of swelling in the hocks (knees)
- Fully retracted yolk sac
- Healed and closed navel
- Normal skin colour