Broiler Breeder Management Is No Easy Task

Published on: 10/24/2016
Author/s : Tom Tabler 1, Chris McDaniel 2, Jessica Wells 3 and Haitham M. Yakout 4 / 1 Extension Professor, Department of Poultry Science, Mississippi State University (MSU); 2 Professor, Department of Poultry Science, MSU; 3 Extension Instructor, Department of Poultry Science, MSU; 4 Visiting Research Professor, Department of Poultry Science, MSU.

Broiler breeder genetics are constantly changing as the poultry industry continues to shift more to processed items to meet increasing consumer demands for these products. Strains with the potential for high breast-meat yield in a feed-efficient manner now have the majority of the U.S. market. Genetic improvement over the past 50 years has been nothing short of remarkable. In fact, the six-fold im...

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Sharan Pant Sharan Pant
Poultry farmer
October 24, 2016
Thank you very much author who is give us very very useful tips for broiler breedir management .
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October 24, 2016
Thanks a lot. It ïs a sum up full of tips for all field managers. The challenges we re facing have really been underlined.
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October 30, 2016
A very good article for all those engaged in breeding management. Broiler Male management is no so easy and the effects will be on hatchability. Separate male diets is necessary but in the beginning the males will feed in the female feeders with the result of getting over weight males.
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October 30, 2016
DEar Mamode

Morning,


I do agree that it is not an easy business. According to you, rearing PS, in the beginning males will gain weight feeded by female feeders. Could you please explain to us that conclusion because I do not understand how it can be reached using separate and special diets? BAWINDSOMDE from BURKINA FASO
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November 5, 2016

Dear Bawindsomede,

Sorry for the delay. When the males and the females are mixed together in the house, the COMBS of the males are not yet fully developed, so, the males will pass their heads into the female feeders and consume the feed. The farmer has no choice than putting a wire to reduce the size of the feeders but not to penalize the females. This is a difficult part in the management. It can last for 2 to 3 weeks or more. It is not advisable to either reduce the Male ration or to increase the Female ration. It is for the farmer to manage the feeding system of the birds.

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November 5, 2016
Dear,

Do not mind of the delay.

Thanks a lot.
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Robert Huggins Robert Huggins
Animal Nutritionist
November 7, 2016

In the early days of raising broiler breeders we always had a problem with female uniformity. It was only when we were told by the Veterinarians at Arbor Acres that within every flock of broiler breeders there are small, medium and large birds. Once we realized that, proper rearing, body weights and uniformity became a lot easier. Each house was divided into 4 sections and based on bird weights. At time of weighting, the females were separated into small, medium or large birds. Males were reared separately as they were being fed a male ration. Males were introduced at night about two weeks prior to photo-stimulation to allow them to get accustomed to their new surroundings and their female friends. Because I was raising these birds under tropical conditions, we used a male to female ratio of 1:8, and kept replacement males available at all times in the same house. Males were also fed separately and the feeder adjusted to the height of the males so females could not get at the feed. This worked very well, uniformity was in excess of 90%, and egg production high. Fertility and hatchability was also very high. We also kept very good records from day one, so any potential problems were relatively easily detected.

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November 7, 2016
Male to female ratio seem high.1:10 will be good enough 1 male for 10 female. What is flocks average hatchability. Male mixing pattern. All at same time or in parts.
5%.
3%
2%
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Robert Huggins Robert Huggins
Animal Nutritionist
November 7, 2016
We had tried the 1:10 ratio, but found the 1:8 worked better under the conditions we had. As far as I remember hatchability was somewhere around 95 to 98%, but this was a while ago, so I'm pulling this info from memory. I'm not sure what you mean by mixing pattern, Please explain.
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November 7, 2016
Mixing of male with females all male were mixed with females at one go or in parts on weekly basis. Like 5% and then 3%. To make it as 1:8 ratio .
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Robert Huggins Robert Huggins
Animal Nutritionist
November 7, 2016
When it was time to mix the males with the females this was done all at once. The reason that the males were placed into the house at night was to reduce the chance of them fighting and also being flighty due to their new location. Sine the females had already established their own locations, by the time morning came, the males had settled down and got down to doing their job. As always there will be some fighting, but it was minimum. The spare males were rotated as required, or when a male died he was replaced. This may not have been ideal, but it certainly worked for us under our conditions.
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November 7, 2016
It is very good to have SPARE MALES right from the beginning. Farmers keep the spare males in a pen in the same house so that when the males are mixed , they are already in a known environment. I agree with the ratio 1 : 10 but I shall not hesitate to go for 1 : 8 if necessary. Despite the fact, that males have a special ration, yet it is found that the males become overweight with age. The Egg Weight is another issue. Around 40 weeks old, the Egg Weight increases too much and it is necessary to change the specifications of the female diets. Do you see the same phenomenon?
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Robert Huggins Robert Huggins
Animal Nutritionist
November 8, 2016
Monitoring bird weight was critical throughout the production period for the same reason you mentioned, as birds get older larger eggs are produced. These weights were submitted to our nutritionist (wasn't one at that time) and feed adjusted. Unfortunately, once the hens start to get heavy you have to be very careful how weight is controlled otherwise egg production suffers. How this was done is another story.
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November 9, 2016
How over weight birds are managed to reduce their weight in a situation when there is heavy fat pad. My question is more related to ration .
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Robert Huggins Robert Huggins
Animal Nutritionist
November 9, 2016
Generally, the rations recommended for poultry have been developed under somewhat controlled conditions suitable for where the birds came from. I always fed the birds based on their daily energy requirements for the given week of production. First of all you need to maintain good records as this will tell you how much more the birds are over target weight, given that if the birds are heavy at start of lay you don't want to try and bring their weight back to target weight. In this case you will want to maintain a weight that follows a line that matches the target weight. Back to feeding. I would determine what the body weight was at the beginning of the week, and determine how much feed was required for that week for the birds, divide by 7 and that is their daily requirement. You will find that towards the end of the week the birds appear to want a bit more feed as they get a bit heavier. This program (simplified) was carried out until termination of the flock.
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November 10, 2016
The feed quantity should be as per the breeders recomendations which is based on body weight, production level, egg weight and outside temperature on one side and nutrient density in the form of protein, energy & methionine levels on the input side.
The flocks get heavy some times due to over feeding which is consciously done to mature the flock in time and to get better peak.
It is better not to attempt a reduction in weight for over weight flocks. we shoild see they do not get further heavy. THe heavier birds need more feed for maintainance. hence feeding up to 10% above the recommendations helped us. Feeding on lower side and attempting to reduce the body weight during lay was never of help
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November 11, 2016
While selecting male at the of mixing which weght birds you will prefer heavist, standard wt, under weight or mixed weight with average body weight, also mention impact on initial hatchability.
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November 11, 2016
The breeder females are finally graded in to at least three grades by 21/22 weeks. The heavier grade females mature earlier. Hence it is better we put heavier weight males with heavier females. Heavier males also will mature early and it helps in getting fertile eggs in time.
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November 11, 2016

Thanks, valuable information. What wt eggs we can set as hatching? Is there any correlation between egg weight and hatchability?

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Robert Huggins Robert Huggins
Animal Nutritionist
November 11, 2016
According to the Arbor Acres breeder management guide, a minimum egg weight of 50g (21 oz per dozen) is recommended. Lighter weight eggs can be used but chicks produced should be grown separately for 1 to 2 days longer to attain the required weights. When I did broiler breeders we tried to have eggs around 55 g (23 oz per dozen) to 58 g (24 oz per dozen) eggs. At this weight we would have a baby chick somewhere between 37 and 39 g. Under our conditions, 33C and RH 85% we found that the bigger chick would have a better survival rate.

Source: https://www.scribd.com/document/45827169/AA-Breeder-Guide, page 57
http://en.aviagen.com/assets/Tech_Center/AA_Breeder_ParentStock/AAPSHandbook2013_i-r1.pdf

The above gives some very good general information. However, I suggest you contact the supplier of your broiler breeders for more information on their strain.
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Fred Hoerr
DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVP, ACPV
  Nashville, Tennessee, United States
 
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