The chicks have arrived! So what do you do next?
Let’s check out a few things:
- That you booked and got your broiler chicks delivered from a reputable farm.
- That the room/space you plan to raise your birds has been made clean by washing, cobwebs removed and disinfected.
- That the floor has been spread with sawdust or wood shavings or rice offal (whichever type is readily available to you).
- That you have gotten the right feeders and drinkers ready for the chicks.
- That the room has some sort of heat: this could be from electricity power, kerosene stove or coal. Whichever is available and convenient to you
All these should be ready when your chicks arrive whether Day Old or already brooded for you from somewhere by someone.
If your chikcs were brooded for you…
Now, if they are coming to you brooded – say at age 2 or 3 weeks, take the chicks as well as the record of all drugs and vaccines already administered to them so that you can continue from where your brooder stopped. This will help to avoid duplication of or skipping any important medication.
Keeping a record book
It is very important to keep a record book. This record book helps you keep track of every happening in your poultry. Don’t skip this process simply because you only have ten chicks. Record keeping is important whether you have only ten chicks or hundreds and thousands of them. We shall talk about record keeping and how to do that in the next post.
Water and Vitamins
When the chicks arrive, Day old or whatever age they got to you, start them off with vitamins and if possible glucose in their drinking water. This is so because broiler chicks (even full grown ones) are easily stressed especially when they are moved from one location to another. And mind you, the source of their drinking water must be clean and hygienic.
If they are Day-old chicks, then add to the glucose and vitamins (which could be vitalyte) antibiotics and anti-coccidiocis drugs. Except for the glucose (which should be a one-time administration only for the purpose of replacing lost energy) the others should be given to the chicks for one week.
The volume of water chicks drink depends on the weather: dry, humid or cold, and how thirsty they get. During the first week you don’t have to fill up their drinkers to to the brim because they may not finish the water and the drugs in it should not last beyond 24 hours whether or not the chicks finish the water. For instance, if the mixture was served them at 5 PM it means that by 5 PM the following day the drugs in the water would have expired and therefore should be changed. So, because they don’t drink much at the initial stage, simply serve in small quantities to avoid wastage of your poultry drugs. It is recommended that you serve one drinker (4litres) to 20/25 chicks.
Picking your feed
What feed have you chosen to give your chicks? You start them on Broiler starter. There are many brands of poultry feeds, look around for the ones that are available around where you live and ask question about their quality. Avoid going for feeds that you can not get easily.
Just as in the case of water, chicks do not eat much so avoid filling up their feeder with food otherwise when they have their fill they will play with the remaining and scatter it on the floor. That will cause wastage for you.
That’s it for today’s installment of Keeping a Home Poultry. To read previous posts, check here. We shall let you know what to do at Week 2 when the time comes. For the first week of your chicks just follow the steps above and watch them grow.