Keeping Broilers: Your Day Old Chicks

Today we want to take some time to talk about keeping broilers. These are chickens which are kept for meat and are ready for consumption after eight weeks of hatching. A single broiler at week 10 can weigh as much as 2 kg. As you can see, that is a lot of meat for your table at home.
If you already have a small space where you want to raise your chickens, that’s great. But if you don’t then do not despair. You could always make a little cage using wood planks and roofing zinc. And then depending on how courageous you are, you can bring in your day old bird and brood yourself. If you are not feeling that courageous, you can always buy an already brooded bird at two weeks or three weeks of age.

Brooding Your Chicks

Brooding is the period during which you enclose, medicate and heat the room for the chicks. As already mentioned in the previous article, heating is very important because day old chicks come without feathers for warmth. If you live in an area where you have access to constant electricity, put a light bulb in the room for the chicks. Drop your cable down close to the floor, and use the 200 watts bulb so that the chicks get maximum warmth. On the alternative, you can use other means of heating the room, like the kerosene stove, the charcoal pan (ensure the coal turns completely red before putting it in the room).

The room needs to be covered with wood shavings – some people use rice offal instead. Whether you decide to make use of wood shavings or rice offal, spread it across the room you have chosen for your birds. Next, lay newspaper on it. We now have our room set to brood birds.

Although it is not an easy task, it is advised that you brood your birds yourself so you can know exactly what medication they got during the early stages. This makes it easier for you to manage your birds as they grow older. If you cannot brood them yourself, make sure you use a brooder that you trust and ask a lot of questions including the type of feed and medication that was used on the birds.

That’s it for now. Next week we will talk about how to manage your birds once you’ve brought them home. If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

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