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Brooding Chicks for Best Starts

In this webinar, Lisa Timmerman discusses Back to the Basics management to get chicks off to a good start through 4 weeks of age and establishing the foundation to meet their genetic potential in the future.

The development of productive laying hens starts before they hatch, but that’s a process that can’t be influenced by the pullet rearer or egg producer. As soon as the newborn chickens arrive at the brooding or rearing house, it is where they play a crucial in the development of the birds. The productivity of a flock depends to a large extent on the successful attainment of bodyweight targets from an early age. The objectives during the brooding period are:

  • Rapid growth to reach the body weight target at 5 weeks of age
  • Good uniformity from the beginning
  • Excellent livability

From day-old to transfer to the production house, the chickens will grow slowly, and organ development occurs at various ages. A lack of growth during each of the stages could have a detrimental impact on pullet quality. Any delay in growth at 4-5 weeks will be reflected in a reduction in body weight at 16 weeks and in the performance, particularly in the average egg weight. Please keep in mind: two chickens with the same bodyweight haven’t necessarily developed the same body composition!

A rule of thumb: good growth curves result in good pullet development.