How to grow, feed and care for broilers at home?
Fast-growing broiler chickens are becoming increasingly popular on small farms. Broilers are also purchased for growing in a private household. The article discusses the secrets of growing meat breeds of chickens at home.
Broiler weight gain is achieved through:
- a balanced diet for meat breeds;
- compliance with the sanitary and hygienic conditions of poultry;
- maintaining the health of broilers in excellent condition.
Some farmers prefer to keep broilers in their cages. But proponents of floor content argue for it.
Did you know? Although the broiler does not fly, it is the most migratory bird in the world, albeit in a food form. So, Spain is the largest consumer of wings, Russia - shins, Turkey - stomachs and offal, America - breasts.
Correctly designed and equipped cells are believed to preclude “bad” results from cell growth. The sex of the cage should be such that droppings are completely eliminated through it.
- Cellular content has several advantages:
- lack of direct contact with sources of infection contributes to rapid weight gain and improves sanitary and hygienic conditions;
- significantly reduces the time for distribution of feed;
- You can grow more birds in a smaller area;
- feed is used sparingly, as chickens do not dig and do not scatter food;
- it is believed that if the bird moves less, then it gains mass faster;
- Broilers are easier to catch for slaughter;
- litter cleaning is easier and faster.
- The disadvantages of cell content:
- broiler wing bones become more fragile;
- cases of keel curvature are becoming more frequent;
- initial investments in cages, their installation and equipment are quite high;
- in summer, birds can overheat due to heat.
Learn how to make broiler cages with your own hands.
Floor content means that broilers are kept in a regular chicken coop, without cages. This allows you to grow a bird at a lower cost for equipping the chicken coop and feed, as chickens on a walk can fill all the gaps in the diet.
- Advantages of keeping broilers on the floor:
- poultry meat is much tastier due to an improved diet: during walks, chickens eat herbs, seeds, insects, than make a difference in the diet;
- chickens have no disorders of the musculoskeletal system;
- broilers are found in a natural environment, which reduces stress levels;
- you can save on feed, as walking provides more than 20% of the daily diet;
- You save on the purchase of cages and additional equipment: nipple drinkers, special feeders.
- Disadvantages of keeping broilers "on the floor":
- low profitability;
- birds gain weight more slowly than with cages;
- inefficient use of available poultry growing area.
Growing broilers begins with the choice of eggs or the acquisition of chickens. The end result depends on the right actions on your part. Let us dwell on the rules of choice.
Eggs for incubation
Fertilized eggs are selected that must meet the following criteria:
- not have external defects and pollution;
- be about the same size;
- they were demolished by healthy chickens within a week before laying in the incubator.
If you look at the egg in an ovoscope, then a uniform air chamber should be at the blunt end of the egg. Prior to laying, they are stored at a temperature not lower than + 10 ° С. Immediately before laying, the eggs are warmed to room temperature to avoid condensation on the surface when placed in an incubator.
Read more about how to raise chickens in an incubator at home.
When buying chickens in the market, consider the following:
- a healthy chicken is always agile and active;
- the down is even, soft, without pollution and blood;
- eyes are brilliant, without films and secretions;
- legs are straight;
- the body is proportional, without distortion.
Depending on the breed, chickens can be of different colors: yellow, brown, striped. In autosexual breeds, color is a sign of sex. Therefore, when buying chickens of a particular breed, you need to know exactly how to distinguish a chicken of a selected breed from others.
- Buying chicks has undeniable advantages:
- no need to spend time and resources on incubation;
- You will get immediately as many chickens as necessary;
- you can immediately buy older chickens and avoid difficulties in rearing.
But one cannot be sure of the quality of the acquired chickens: whether they were vaccinated, or if other factors were too cold.
Chicks hatched in an incubator should dry in place. The process will take several hours. A dry chicken becomes active and is placed in a brooder - a specially equipped box that maintains the required temperature and humidity, has ventilation and round-the-clock lighting. From the first days of life until the end of the first month, the brooder will become a home for broilers. In the first few days, the air temperature in it should be + 36 ° С, and in the room - about + 28 ° С.
Important! Cheap chickens from poultry farms - rejected livestock (for various reasons). Keep this in mind when buying!
Gradually, the temperature is reduced so that by the end of the first month it is +22 ... + 18 ° С. For the cellular content of the livestock, you will need to install sections in the chicken coop, each of which will fit from 10 to 30 heads. The standard height of the cage is 50 cm. Usually sections consist of three cells located one above the other. With the floor content, 3-4 broilers per 1 m².
Read also about how to build and equip a chicken coop for broilers with your own hands.
- The main needs of broilers:
- fresh clean food and water;
- Fresh air;
- compliance with the alternation of day and night;
- comfortable microclimate (temperature, humidity);
- disease protection;
- sufficient free space.
In the first month of growth in a brooder, chickens should be provided with:
- dry and clean litter (pine shavings) about 7 cm thick;
- clean drinkers and feeders;
- fresh food appropriate to the age of the bird.
For newly acquired birds, be sure to:
- check for symptoms: coughing, sneezing, tearing eyes, shortness of breath, diarrhea and the presence of external parasites;
- during the first 2 hours to provide access to water, and only then access to feed;
- on the first day, it will be good to add 5% glucose solution to the water;
- check feeders, automatic drinkers, heat source, eliminate drafts;
- suspect a chicken quarantine area with suspected disease.
It is necessary to protect the area with broilers from rodents. Take care of the disinfection of the shoes of those who enter the chicken coop.
Did you know? The only country in the world where there are no chickens is the Vatican, and the only continent is Antarctica.
Temperature and humidity
The temperature maximum and minimum in the room that must be provided depend on the age of the birds, body weight, feed quality, general health and indoor air quality. The recommended heat level for chickens as they grow older is from the first days +32 ... + 34 ° C, to reach one month with a gradual decrease every week by several degrees - +22 .. + 20 ° C.
Important! Make sure that the air temperature is correct at the height of the broiler, and not anywhere in the chicken coop.
Feeder and Drinker Requirements
The chickens spend most of the day exploring the environment and pecking the food found, including grains in the feeders. The most common type of feeder is hanging. It is mounted on the wall of the cage so that it is convenient to receive food, but not to rake the food with its paws. The shape of the feeder can be any. The main property is ease of cleaning and disinfection.
Important! At low light levels, some chicks do not find a nipple, which leads to dehydration. It is also desirable that the line with the nipples be adjustable, and as the chickens grow, rise higher.
Features of keeping hens and broilers in one chicken coop
The problem of growing broilers and layers together lies in the nutritional features. The main task of the broiler is to eat well and gain weight. In addition, it is larger than a laying hen. Therefore, smaller birds find it difficult to get to the feeder. The second problem is the difference in rations. A broiler needs more protein to build muscle.
To solve the problem, separate nutrition is used for both breeds, as well as dividing the chicken coop into sections. Cells solve this problem easier — each type of bird is given its own diet in its own feeders. If this is not done and a ration for broilers is formed, then the laying hens will be obese and rush less. In the floor content, hens are fed before broilers in a fenced area.
Video: how broilers and laying hens settle in a chicken coop
Features and norms of broiler feeding at home
If you decide to breed broilers at home, you need to take care of the proper preparation of the diet. Feeding technology should ensure maximum weight gain in a short time.
Important! For catering, you need scales. Both feed consumption and weight gain should be controlled for maximum productivity.
Broilers need 7 main components:
- Healthy minerals.
With the exception of water, these nutrients are provided by the ingredients that make up the poultry diet. Find out also
- cereal feed;
- animal proteins;
- vegetable proteins;
- vegetable fats;
- animal fats;
- micro minerals;
- macro minerals;
- vitamin premixes.
Nutrient requirements for meat chickens are taken into account in industrial feeds, as evidenced by the table of the ratio of the issued feed and the average gain from manufacturers.
For example, this:
|Age||Weight gain (g)||Feed rate (g)|
Recipes for Feeding
An approximate feeding schedule may be as follows:
- during the first week - 8 times every 2-3 hours;
- second week - 7 times;
- 3-4 weeks - 5-6 times.
Then the feeding schedule gradually leads to 4 meals a day. The recipe depends on the type of food: natural food or compound feed. The water in the cups should be at room temperature. To prevent overcooling of small chickens, you will need a heated drinking line, more frequent replacement of water or placing it closer to the lamp so that the water is constantly heated.
Compound feed for broilers
You can buy industrial feed for catering. Making your own feed for chickens will be a cheap alternative to in-store feeds. Mixed feed is served in the same way as a regular diet.
- Mix corn and beans in equal proportions.
- Add oats, alfalfa and fishmeal to the mixture.
- Stir until even.
Mix is perfect as a daily diet. If you double the amount of corn, you get a good starting mix for broiler chickens.
You will be interested to learn how to make feed for broilers with your own hands.
When organizing nutrition with natural feeds, the diet depends on age. So, the first 5 days the chicken will need 5 g of feed. It may include: boiled millet, boiled eggs, cottage cheese. In the second week, chopped plantain greens, finely crushed wheat, oats or barley, boiled finely chopped carrots are added.
Did you know? Without a balanced diet, birds will suffer from poor plumage, stunted growth, obesity, and leg problems.
Growing, caring and feeding broiler chickens
A common cause of problems in small herds is the rejection of industrial feed, as well as the lack of enrichment of the diet or the wrong grain proportions. A broiler ration provides birds with the necessary energy and nutrients. In the first six weeks, feed intake will be approximately 4 kg for each broiler.
Read more about raising, caring for and feeding broiler chickens.
Among the important measures for broiler care are disease prevention. It is ensured by organizing good chicken house biosecurity and timely vaccination. Biosafety is to prevent the spread of pathogenic microflora.
Basic protection measures:
- isolation of broilers from contact with wild birds, rodents and potential carriers of viruses;
- restriction of access of strangers to the chicken coop;
- lack of mixing old and young herds;
- regular cleaning of the farm from debris and unused equipment;
- quarantine for new birds;
- compliance with the disinfection schedule.
What can not feed broilers?
- Broilers, like other birds, cannot be fed ration from your table, including:
- bread, pastries and cakes - due to the content of fats not digestible by the intestines of the bird;
- sausages and meat products - due to preservatives, dyes and other "chemistry";
- peel of citrus and peeling potatoes - due to poor digestibility;
- stalks of potatoes and tomatoes - because of the vegetable poison contained in them - solanine;
- additives for cattle - due to the high content of minerals.
Broiler diseases and their prevention
Birds are exposed to the environment in the form of mechanical injuries, exposure to toxins or pathogens, stress, malnutrition and other factors. The degree of influence of the factor on the body depends on the general health of the broiler, timely vaccination and nutritional value of the diet. The following is a list of the main poultry health problems that a farmer may face.
Important! Adding vaccines to drinking water is the most common form of vaccination. The vaccine should be drunk completely by broilers within 2 hours after breeding, otherwise its effectiveness will decrease.
Respiratory diseases can cause:
- sudden changes in temperature, including from drafts;
- virus transmission from a new chicken or wild bird;
- poor ventilation and poor exhaust air removal.
The main symptoms are:
- discharge from the nose;
- loss of appetite;
- slowdown in weight gain and growth.
- The introduction of antibiotics.
- If the symptoms are the result of environmental factors, that is, a dusty chicken coop, then eliminating this deficiency, you will get rid of the signs of the disease.
Sneezing from dust escalates in cold weather. Having a well-ventilated chicken coop will be one of the best ways to prevent respiratory infections.
Did you know? Research conducted by the University of Iowa in 2011 showed that people with viral infections who ate chicken soup recovered faster than those who didn't.
All diseases that arise under the influence of bacteria or viruses are contagious. Pathogens are carried by birds, rodents, insects. Заразиться бройлеры могут через контакт с носителем, пищей, помётом, общими предметами обихода.
Признаки вирусного или бактериального заражения:
- вялость и пассивность птицы;
- lack of appetite;
- выделения из глаз и носа;
- воспаление слизистых оболочек, наличие высыпаний, припухлостей или изменение цвета;
- грязные взъерошенные перья.
Лечение заразных болезней:
- Назначается специалистом в зависимости от результатов анализов и осмотра больной птицы. Если бройлер погиб, то анализ тушки может дать достаточно информации о природе болезни и степени её опасности для остального поголовья.
- Применение антибактериальных препаратов или антибиотиков, в зависимости от возбудителя.
- Вспомогательное лечение относится к ликвидации симптомов и поддержке иммунитета.
- Больная птица отсаживается на карантин. Курятник дезинфицируется, а потенциально здоровому поголовью назначают лечение или вакцинацию.
Did you know? Современный бройлер готов к забою уже через 41 день выращивания, что в 2 раза быстрее, чем ещё 50 лет назад.
Почему бройлеры падают на ноги?
Болезни бройлеров часто связаны с ногами. Причина этого — искусственная селекция и рацион, направленный на увеличение веса. В дикой природе у птиц нет потребности в повышении веса. Поэтому, если вы растите бройлеров, то их костный аппарат и сердечно-сосудистая система просто «не успевают» за ростом массы тела, что вызывает болезни.
- боль в ногах;
- деформация суставов.
Скелетные расстройства являются причиной замедления роста, отбраковки и более раннего забоя бройлеров. Нарушение коленного сустава может наблюдаться у цыплят с раннего возраста (6–8 дней). В результате цыплёнок погибает, поскольку не может самостоятельно добраться до воды или еды.
Узнайте подробнее почему бройлеры падают на ноги.
В возрасте до 4 недель у таких птенцов развивается дисшондроплазия, наблюдается атрофия мышц и чрезмерное отставание в росте от остальной части стада. Недостаток кальция в рационе также становится причиной для проблем с ногами. Это приводит к механическим травмам у растущих цыплят.
Лечение болезней ног:
- Замедление темпов роста за счет сокращения потребления корма снижает процент бройлеров с проблемами ног. Недостаток метода — замедление набора веса и забой при невысокой массе тела.
- Хорошая объемная подстилка, пластиковый пол клетки с правильным размером ячеек снижают вероятность механических повреждений, если в рационе недостаточно кальция. Вы также можете скорректировать рацион, чтобы улучшить состояние скелета птицы.
Выращивание бройлеров результативно и выгодно при любых типах содержания. При этом важно соблюдать правила составления рационов, вовремя проводить вакцинацию от заразных болезней и соблюдать санитарно-гигиенические нормы. Закупайте необходимый инвентарь, готовьте помещение и приступайте! Уверены, что через 2–3 месяца вы получите качественное и вкусное мясо.