Brooding is the care and management of young chickens for four to six weeks immediately after hatching. Like incubation, brooding also has the natural and artificial methods.
Factors involved in brooding :
1. Temperature :- The hatched chicks are kept inside the incubator for about 36 hours and then transfered to artificial brooder. The optimum temperature is 330c during the first 3 days. During the subsequent weeks of brooding the temperature is reduced by 30c each week till it reaches 210c.
2. Ventilation :- Fresh air movement is important for good health and proper growth of the chicks. Poor ventilation results in the accumulation of carbon monoxide, ammonia and water vapour which may lead to microbial infection.
3. Floor space :- Adequate floor space is to be provided for the proper development of chicken. Minimum 500sq.cm of floor space per chickens is to be provided. Crowding of chickens leads to poor growth and induces cannibalistic tendencies amongst the birds.
Litter :- The floor of the brood house is layered by beds of hay, rice husk or saw dust and this is called litter. The litter bed should be 5 to 7.5cm thick and it must be kept dry.
Light :- To keep the brood house free from infectious germs, the brood house must be well ventilated. Evenly distributed sunlight promotes proper growth of the birds and formation of vitamin D.
4. Housing of poultry :- Open sided poultry is popular in our country. The primary objective of providing housing to poultry is to protect them from sun, rain and predators and to provide comfort. Poultry house should be well ventilated. It should be kept cool in summer and warm in winter. The floor of the poultry house should be moisture-proof, rat proof, free from cracks, easily cleanable and durable.
5. Poultry feeding :- Feeding of poultry bird is an important part of rearing. The diet of chickens must contain adequate amount of water, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. The food stuffs such as maize, barley, sorghums, wheat, oil cake, rice etc are to be given in standard requirements.
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