Tips for disease-free brooding in poultry chicks

Disease-Free Brooding in Poultry

Brooding in poultry is the process of providing heat, food, water, and every necessary medical attention to poultry from a day old to about 2 – 4 weeks of age. Usually, brooding can be done by the mother hen or by humans.

brooding in poultry

What is brooder?

In clear and simple terms, a brooder is a poultry house fitted with heating equipment that allows a farmer to deliver controlled heating to the chicks. Other parameters that must be considered in a brooder house include ventilation/air circulation, relative humidity, lighting, space required, safety of the chicks, etc.

Brooding practices

-Upon chicks’ arrival, do the unboxing exercise as quickly as possible
-While you are unboxing, checked for deformed chicks and those with unhealed navel. Treat them to prevent omphalitis.
-Check for underweight chickens and separate them from the rest. They might end up being runts. Separating them will allow you to manage them properly, giving them a better chance of survival.
-Ensure that all the chicks have some water. Usually, you should provide anti-stress in their water.
-Observe the chicks closely and see how they respond to the heat.
-Always serve fresh feed and water.
-Have antibiotics handy in case it is needed.
-Follow hatchery vaccination schedule.

There are 2 types of brooding
Natural (by mother hen) and artificial brooding

In artificial brooding, a farmer tries to simulate the natural brooding process by providing everything the mother hen could have provided. Therefore, artificial brooding involves providing heat, water, feed, and necessary veterinary attention to newly hatched chicks until they are able to regulate their body temperature for example charcoal,this heat source involves the burning of charcoal in a coal pot. The coal pot can be made of iron or clay.

NOTE: Age Of Bird (Weeks) & (Temperature required)
Week 1 (35-33)° C, Week 2 (33-31)° C, Week 3 (31-29)° C, Week 4 (29-26)° C

Brood Lighting

Lighting for 1 day old birds should begin at 20 – 22 hours per day for the first two days at 10 lux intensity. Reduce day length weekly to reach approximately 12 hours of light at 8 weeks of age.

Brooder Guard

Heat is a major component of brooding in poultry, hence, the need to conserve heat generated. This is why a farmer must have a brooder guard within the brooding house to contain the chicks and ensure that they get the required heat. A good brooder guard allows for easy extension as the chicks grow bigger. It is important to give just the required space within the brooder guard in other to encourage fast growth and conserve energy and heat. A brooder guard can be made of plastic, ply wood, metal or any other material, but it should be easily detachable.


Feed for one day old birds should be withheld for the first two hours to allow chicks to find the water prior to consumption of dry feeds. After the first two hours of housing, feed can be made freely available. The feed should be a high protein starter ration with at least 20% protein. Consumption will increase from approximately 13 grams of feed/chick/day at one week of age to approximately 29 grams/chick/day at four weeks of age.

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