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
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Dr. Mohan Giri Dr. Mohan Giri
December 29, 2014
Specially brooding is effect on growth of birds. it may seen as uneven growth of birds. Brooding is a critical stage to all typrs of birds.
1. Temperature - Provide better source of heat and adjusting the temperature based on the chick activity 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 65%. 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.
Mridul Borah Mridul Borah
December 29, 2014
There may be various reasons of uneven growth. Most of them are managemantal. The small farmers and chick traders have a normal tendency to blame the chicks producers of supplying poor quality chicks but, dose never rectify their managemental condition. My experience is,even poor quality chicks perform well provided management is good. Out of the major conditions- overcrowding, lack of feeders and drinkers, lack of proper arrangement of these equipment, improper lighting, lack of ventilation and feed restrictions are the contributing factors for uneven growth in broilers. Layers are also sensitive to the same issues.
Apart from the causes as mentioned above, infectious causes are also there. flocks affected with E. coli may show uneven growth which is most common. the farmers who use well water with high iron contents are more prone to E. coli. Other infections like reovirus also may be contributing factor.
Danka Maslic-Strizak Danka Maslic-Strizak
Veterinary Doctor
December 30, 2014
Disconnecting and reconnecting certainly not the solution. If you decide to take the chickens in groups continue them until the end kept separate.
Dr.Prasad P Kulkarni Dr.Prasad P Kulkarni
M V Sc (Poultry)
December 31, 2014
This practically depends on the percent of variation and etiology.
Its difficult to recover if Reo or AE infection in origin & need to workout from parent level for next batches.
Now at present what you thought to separate is advisable which we do follow in India in large size flocks. If weight variation is above 10% and variation percent is more than 15% it becomes mandatory. Do separate the smaller size chicks otherwise flock order(Dominance) will keeps the under grown chicks slow growing especially if flock is reared in deep litter system.
We follow feeding as per body weight and not as weekly basis. Till you get 520 gms Body weight follow Chick ration.
Apart as stated above management must be optimum. Necessarily keep providing number of feeder and drinkers as per recommendation.
Nutrition is crucial in such cases keep Gut integrity in mind before formulating the ration(selection of easily digestible ingredients) also keep particle size of chick feed as desired.
Dr. Rakesh  Nimbalkar Dr. Rakesh Nimbalkar
Animal Nutritionist
December 31, 2014
Dear all ,
whatever may be the cause of variation , grading of chicks based on body weights then plan feeding regime which will ensure extra protein supply to underweight chicks ( top dressings of soy meal is highly recommended1- 2 grams per bird ) to correct variation in chicks ( > 95% uniformity ) . Also monitor nutrient profile of the feed ingredient for guaranteed parameters like proteins essential for proper growth ( check for admixing of protein sources adulterants or other material , toasting of soy meal for amino acid availability ( protein solubility )
Dr Rakesh Nimbalkar
Consultant - Poultry Nutritionist
Polchem Hygiene Laboratories Private Limited
Pune - India
January 1, 2015
Mathews Ngosa Mathews Ngosa
Animal Nutritionist
January 1, 2015
I agree with the comments earlier posted but apart from variability in chick size and weight other managent practice play a bigger part in creating this situation. These include nutrition, house environment and off course stocking densities. Poor management of the afore mentioned can also lead to the problem of uniformity variation
Dr Bijoy Krishna Nanda Dr Bijoy Krishna Nanda
B.V.Sc.& A.H.
January 4, 2015
Uneven growth of chicks is a very critical factor 4 ultimate economy of d farmer as performance of adult birds will be greatly affected.Reasons of this phenomenon r many & it will not be possible to diagnose immediately to follow corrective measures,so it is advisable to isolate d stunted chicks & nourish with extra ordinary care like booster nutrients,probiotics,acidifiers,watersanitizers,proper vaccination,temperature control,lighting,deworming etc.Isolation of stunted chicks is a must to follow so that specific care can be taken 4 all d chicks as needed.....Dr.Bijoy Nanda
Juvy Lago Juvy Lago
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
January 4, 2015
separating smaller ones is always a good measure. this lessen competition on spaces. Uneven growth on broilers or layers has many factors to consider. Mostly brooding management mistakes. temp., humidity, floor and feeding space. whatever the reason is, it is important to identify what went wrong to the current flock and correct it to the next flock.
Dr. K. M. Ehasanul Islam Dr. K. M. Ehasanul Islam
DVM, MS(Theriogenology)
January 5, 2015
As this problem due to multi factorial so we have to check every part like management ,disease part ,DOC quality and Nutritional part.But i feel if your management and nutritional part is right then probably this problem is due to Helicopter disease,so you have to treat the disease and their after you have to supply some good amino acid composite medicine to the bird through water.But i want to know what was the average body weight at 7 days old and after separation what is the body weight they gain?Is their variation is decrease?
If variation still not decrease then you totally separate them and give special care.
John Kaijage John Kaijage
PhD in Tropical Animal Production
January 5, 2015
Uneven growth of growth can be associated with several factors. But, management and nutrition are considered to be the major factors. Managerial factors are uneven temperature, light and humidity in the brooder, inadequate feeders and drinkers and restricted feeding. In this situation some birds unable to get optimum temperate, light and humidity and feeds. Thus, separation of small and big one can be one of the options but should be accompanied with optimization of temperature, light and humidity, provision of adequate and well spaced feeders and feeders. Provide feeds without restriction ( provided energy/protein ratio is taken care by your feed manufacturers).
Andre Horta Andre Horta
Veterinary Doctor
January 6, 2015
Besides all the good coments above, it is advisable when one receives chicks to check on their body weight uniformity and CV to see it they are sourced from different aged egg donor flocks mixed together which will cause the smaller birds to struggle to compete with the older birds, see also how long since the birds have been from hatch to farm and at what temperature, since dehydration plays a major factor in uneven chick development.
Oyedele Oyewumi Oyedele Oyewumi
Technical Marketing Manager
January 8, 2015
provide adequate space from day one. expand the space as the chicks greow. provide adequate feeder and drinkers. also good quality feed is key and warmth is essential during brooding
Philip Miyani Philip Miyani
August 22, 2020
Good day.... Please I want to know the causes of uneven growth in broilers..
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