Discussion created on 02/21/2014

How to Improve Uniformity in Broiler Flocks

It is very important to have good uniformity in broilers to maximize the performance. Variation in their body weights causes lot of complications and problems. If the flock is not uniform, it will take longer time to grow and many rejections at slaughter house. Different type of enteric and other diseases can easily disturb the flock resulting in severe economic losses. FCR is badly affected by unevenness in a flock and the result is less profitability. If the chicks are uneven the shed environment is not equal to all the chicks placed in the same house and this creates a lot of stress on some chicks making them more porn to diseases. Remember “Uniformity is money”. Try to have a maximum uniformity to maximize the profit. Following are some key points to be considered to get good uniformity.

Brooding period is always very crucial especially in winter. Before arrival of chicks, preheating of sheds is very important. Depending on the weather, area, type of construction, insulation status and other factors, the pre-warming should be started from 24 to 72 hours before arrival of chicks at the farm. Before placement of the chicks floor temperature is key for good start and good uniformity. The concrete floor temperature should be about 28 to 29 degree C and bedding temperature 32 degree C. Cold floors cause severe problems for baby chicks. Cold will enter in the body of chicks through its feet and ultimately chick sits on floor. Now a big surface area of chick’s body is exposed to cold floor. Chick do not eat and drink and will be out of race. Colder floors are responsible for poor intestinal development consequently poor absorption of nutrients and more gut health challenges. For good uniformity it is necessary that floor temperatures must be even before chicks arrive at farm. Pre-heating is key to have proper air and floor temperatures and remember preheating is investment rather cost. With uneven temperatures chicks with low floor temperatures will eat and drink less and result is unevenness.

It is worth to have enough feed and water before the arrival of chicks. Feed should be in feeding pans, supplemental feeding trays and on paper covering at least 80% of brooding area. Place feed on paper @ 80gm/chick. Supplemental mini drinkers are very useful. In nipple drinkers try to have suspended water drop on each nipple. This drop will glitter and chicks will be attracted to drink. Chicks are also attracted with feeding system noise. Gently walkthrough the chicks helps them to eat and drink. Use of electrolytes in drinking water helps increased water consumption. Lighting also play critical role in evenness of the flock. Light should be evenly distributed and there should be no dark spots. If the light is not even there will be many chicks with slow start. Try to have 20 lux light intensity at chick level in start. Then reduce according to recommendations. Try to keep the Co2 level less than 3000 ppm. More Co2 and less O2 will affect chick development and increase incidence of respiratory disease and ultimately unevenness in flock. Proper ventilation during brooding is very critical. If ventilation is not proper there may be more ammonia and Co2 causing variation in chicks and predisposing these chicks to many disease.

Control of coccidiosis is also important. This disease will badly affect uniformity. RH in the start should be 60-70% and in the absence of proper RH chicks will be dehydrated rapidly. For proper and uniform growth intestinal health plays vital role. Before chicks arrival cleaning and disinfection should be done properly so that no bacteria or virus from previous flocks are not present. Bedding material should be treated well as it can cause severe threats to intestinal health. Probiotics can be helpful for normal micro flora and good intestinal health. Monitoring is very useful to check your arrangements. Take 50 chick sample each from three different places and do feed and water test by palpating crop of the chick. After 24 hours brooding more than 95% chicks should have proper feed and water in their crops.

Munawar Ali
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
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Eng-Abdalnaser Ghzawi Eng-Abdalnaser Ghzawi
Poultry farmer
December 30, 2015
I have a 21 thousands bird of hubbard flock.... the problem is that the first week weight is 148 gram and I tried to figure out why but couldn't... help?
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August 21, 2019

What should I do to improve uniformity and body weight in broiler?

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October 18, 2020
Very much excited
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Fred Hoerr
Fred Hoerr
DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVP, ACPV
  Nashville, Tennessee, United States
 
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