Discussion created on 12/18/2014

Uneven growth in chicks

I have a batch of 3,000 chicks at seven weeks old and the flock is very uneven. I was thinking about separating the smaller ones from larger ones; replacing the grower feed to the larger ones and continue feeding starter feed to the smaller ones. After two weeks I would put all chicks together again. Do you think this could be a good measure? What’s your opinion?

Anonymous query
United States
Zootechnist
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Grant White Grant White
Agro Technician
December 18, 2014

Hi There,

I would be looking at the feed distribution are they getting even feed distribution throughout the shed, water and god ventilation-just the basics.

Really you should of graded these at 28 days, as you now only have 3 weeks left of skeletal growth, however it would be better to grade these than do nothing.

Best option is to individually weigh 10% of the population(300) and then from this divide into three separate groups approximately 25% small and 8% large the rest of the population would be you mediums and should be on target bodyweight profile.

Feed the small more than the medium/heavy group. I would stay on the grower feed profile.

Hope this helps.


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Mathews Ngosa Mathews Ngosa
Animal Nutritionist
December 18, 2014
It may not just be feed there are other factors you should look ot for eg disease, stocking density, ratio of feeders and drinkers to the number of birds,, temperature variations during brooding and hygiene
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December 18, 2014
I agree what John White and Mathew suggested but if it is a hatchery problem then nothing will work. If the chicks are hatched from eggs of different age group hens and from eggs weighting less than standard weight of eggs. Hope in the last 2 weeks they will recover a bit if suggestions given by John and Mathew followed
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Hemon Stephane Hemon Stephane
Master's degree in Poultry
December 19, 2014

Dear all,

Advice from Grant is correct, I will go for this solution. Grading chick is not an easy task but it's working well to narrow the difference between individus.
Ideally, it will be easier if you can get from the hatchery the different origin of the chicks, if they are offspring of Young/medium or old flock. With these informations you can spilt into different categories of rearing groups.

According to the egg production, sometimes it's not easy to use the same flock origin. But with a good collaboration between parties, results can be improved.

Regards,

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Asitbaran Mandal Asitbaran Mandal
Animal Nutritionist
December 19, 2014
It is better to grade the chicks and as decided by you, larger birds (more than 450g) are to be placed in grower diet and smaller birds are to be kept in starter diet. However, ensure feeding and watering space, floor space, uniform chicks from same flock placed, size of feed particles, type of feed (mash/pellet as crumbles are always better to have uniform body weight), and encourage the smaller chicks for more feed intake by frequent feeding, shaking feeds in outside feeder though fingers, and by increasing exercise.
Regards
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Aoun Khan Aoun Khan
general manager production
December 19, 2014
AOA...everyone as mr MATHEWS said stocking density matters very much ..............at same feed the result of weight gain is much different when birds are placed with different densities ...........
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Jan Grobbelaar Jan Grobbelaar
Consultant
December 19, 2014

Feed is the last thing that must be changed. The most important rearing factors to be looked at are: temperature, ventilation, stocking density, number of feeders (birds per feeder) and quality of feed. at this stage you can separate the birds but ensure that the birds have enough feeders.

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M D Sims M D Sims
Consultant
December 19, 2014
In addition to husbandry suggestions previously suggested, critically observe and cull any lame, vigor-deficient and obviously diseased birds. At 7 weeks of age caloric intake by healthy birds is most important and any moribund birds left in flock will continue to work against you.
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Slausgalvis Virginijus Slausgalvis Virginijus
Veterinary Doctor
December 19, 2014
mycotoxins, REO, deinfection quality , viral RRS syndrom, should be estimated to learn lessons for future
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Ing. Dragan Ionut Ing. Dragan Ionut
Agro Engineer Zootechnist
December 20, 2014
Breeding or broilers? Space of feeding , light ,disease , feed , air flow ..... Everything can contribute to tihis situation. Can you give more information? I have this kind of problem when I uset lactobaccilus in feed . Verr y uneven flock
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Badr Alfadil Badr Alfadil
Veterinary Doctor
December 20, 2014
worms are also should be considered.
dissect the dead birds if any!
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Sataluri Satagopa Raja Ayyangar Sataluri Satagopa Raja Ayyangar
B .Sc ( Mathematics , Physics and Chemistry ) ; P G Diploma in Environmental Studies ; P G Diploma in Industrial Pollution Management ; Industrial Chemistry ( B I E T )
December 21, 2014
Intake of food by birds may be one of the reason of health.If any body interested one can try Kalmegh leaf powder along with feed as herbal in micro doses.Let me know the result. I am not an expert but general advice.
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rommel manlapig rommel manlapig
Zootechnist
December 22, 2014
For you to have a good flock uniformity, you must consider the condition of the poultry holding facility and the management that will MAKE YOUR CHICKS COMFORTABLE AT ALL TIMES. Brooding is a critical stage to all avian species whether intended for production or ornamental.
Tips to have a better flock uniformity during brooding:
1. Temperature - Provide artificial source of heat and adjust the temperature based on the chick activity (e.g. turn on when chicks are huddling, turn off if chicks are panting). Air temperature in the facility must be uniform in all areas. Chicks will huddle and will not eat if the environment is cold.
2. Humidity - For chicks, ideal humidity range is 60-70%. If below 60%, birds may dehydrate and if beyond 70%, thermoregulatory function may be affected.
3. Water and Feeds - Source of clean and fresh water must be provided and quality feeds must be available at all times. Ensure that all feeders and drinkers are accessible to chicks. Clean the equipment once daily. Provide more feeding and drinking space.
4. Lighting - Ensure good lighting in all parts of the building because chicks will tend to sleep in darker areas, hence may cause uniformity problem.
5. Litter material - must be dry at all times, replacement must be considered when litter is wet or damped. Poor litter condition may also trigger lameness and upper respiratory tract irritation.

For now try to isolate smaller groups from bigger groups. Supplementations of vitamins and amino acid can enhance the growth rate of delayed groups. Try to check also the flock health, you can consult a veterinarian for this matter. The key here is bird's comfort, you must often see that birds are drinking, eating, resting and playing inside your facility. Hope this will help..
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John Matcham John Matcham
Sales and Marketing Director
December 22, 2014
Hi Anonymous

Do you have any photographs of the building? With the chicks in place? I spend a lot of my time looking at bird distribution and growth rates. I might be able to help if we could see a picture showing the full length of the building.

Regards John
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Ing. Dragan Ionut Ing. Dragan Ionut
Agro Engineer Zootechnist
December 22, 2014
Because we talk about 7 weeks we talk about breeders I think . So in this case we discuse about rerwriting the growing curve . Is not normal to try to push smaller bird to become bigger when we discuse about reproduction birds
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Leo Antony Leo Antony
Consultant in Poultry management and training
December 23, 2014
By the time you read this, you will have received many more sets of advices. Please don't get confused. Stay focussed on facts and first get the answers to these questions clearly in your mind and also let those who can help you also have them before they can wisely comment on your flock. Let me also tell you that trying to find out the reasons for the unevenness will only be one part of the solution. You will have to practically do something about this flock. So here are the questions about your flock:
1. Are the birds you are referring to Broiler breeders or layers?
2. What is the recommended or standard weight of your breed for this age (7 weeks) ?
3. How is the distribution of weights in your flock like-
a) %age of birds below 10% plus or minus the recommended standard
b) %age of birds on standard
c) %age of birds above the standard
d) Range of weights under which your birds fall- lowest to the highest.
4. Depending on the answers to these questions, you will need to decide what type of grading is required for your flock- a 100% grading or Visual grading. But you definitely have to do some kind of grading even if it sounds inconvenient for you.
5. Merely delaying the weekly feed increase for the heavier birds will bring gradually them down to the standard weights.
6. The lighter birds can be given marginally higher amounts of feed.
7. Once the weights become uniform why do you think of putting them beck together- unless the numbers are small ?
Let me be very clear that except for disease problems, there are no general ready made answers in poultry. Each flock is unique and most problems such as yours can be a result of a variety of factors ranging from Day old chick weights, Nutrition, management, Infections etc . Doing a post mortem on the causes at this stage will only help you to avoid such headaches in the future. What you need now is also a solution. So when you look for them,know the facts first.
All the best.
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December 26, 2014
It is exactly correct sir,Daily PM is effective practice for all the poultry peoples
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December 27, 2014
" I have a batch of 3,000 chicks at seven weeks old and the flock is very uneven. "
Questions and clarifications. what is this 3000 belong Layers / Broilers ----- PL. GP, Parents, Commercials . Every class has to handled separately. I believe that its breeders flock as still there time and you want grade mix and manage.
If its layer you will be giving full feed and check feeding space and quality, I feel no mortality or disease in the flock. Just feed formulation ruled out as if average bird weight is ok.
Now if its broilers Pl or GP or parents chicks. Check following and rule out one by one.
how was brooding done, were chicks quality ok , feeding restriction started which week, how and when debeaking done, feeding type / space, these are males or females birds are in deep litter or cages, check water levels, check of subclinical infection , now based on these factors go for grading 100% or physical, how many classes, based on scales variation more variation more classes based on average and target weight based after next 4 weeks. still based on above observation's give better suggestions
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Maheswar Rath Maheswar Rath
BVSc &AH,MVSc &AH,poultry science, Ph.D. Poultry science
December 28, 2014
the basic points are not clear from the question of the person who has not given his name-

Let him specify the chick source and feed source and his farming experience too.

-It is clarified that uneven body wt in the flock of chicken is mostly due to lack of uniform provisions for all chick.
-If you make uniform provisions for all chicks there would be no uneven body wt but it will follow the normal curve as per statistical norms. Then find out the mean and SD or SE .
-any deviation means a mismanagement of the farm and flock which need intervention of technical person at the farm to guide the farmer who has raised the question.
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Robert Huggins Robert Huggins
Animal Nutritionist
December 29, 2014
I agree totally with Hermon Stephane as to the age of the flocks from which the baby chicks were obtained. While the suggestions given by the other respondents are valid I like to keep things simple. In this case start from the hatchery (assuming your barn size is adequate) and work forwards. In every flock of chicks obtained there will be small, medium and large birds. However chicks obtained from different age breeder flocks will have very poor uniformity. No amount of feed will make them equal unless you want fat birds. Split you barn into 3 equal sections and grade the birds by weight. Grade birds at each weighing, and when walking through the barn. By the time the birds come into lay you should have "3" uniform flocks. Although this should have been started earlier it's never too late. If feeding with an automatic feeder, lightest birds should be at the front and heaviest birds at the back. A dummy hopper can also be placed at the end of the feeder line to speed up feed delivery. Whilst doing your daily walk through your barn observe any behavioral changes, not feeding or not enough feeding space and possibility disease or nutritional problems. I have done this very successfully with broiler breeders. Hope this helps.
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