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How to RAISE baby CHICKS?

by Poultry farmer – Miriam Rolling| Last Updated– 09 January 2021

rais chicks

In the first month, especially the first 10 days, chicks need special care. They need a warm, dry, clean room with good ventilation, but without draughts. At 1 m2 should be placed no more than 20 … 25 chicks. After 4 to…5 weeks they were segregated by 17 heads, from 10 to 20 weeks – by 10 heads per m2.

The first 3 … 5 days the chicks better to lay paper on the floor, and on it pour sifted chicken feed, fine corn grits. Chickens swarm in such bedding without any harm to themselves and remain clean.

Feeding chickens on a cold floor is not allowed, otherwise they will catch a cold. Chicks should never climb into feeders and drinkers with their feet: manure-contaminated feed and water cause intestinal diseases, and wet bedding is disastrous for immature chicks.

For the first 10 days, feed the chicks every 2 hours. During this period, the best food for them will be finely chopped hard-boiled eggs, crumbly cottage cheese mixed with semolina or corn grits. For 10 chickens give one egg or 50 g of cottage cheese mixed with 50 g of groats. Useful to give the chickens small cereals, lightly milled cereal flakes, chicken feed, adding powdered milk (1/4 of the volume of cereals or mixed cereals) and one tablet ground multivitamins (for 10 chickens). Such a dry mixture is convenient in that the breeder can go away for a long time, pouring the feed into the feeder, and the chicks themselves regulate the consumption of feed. After each feeding, check that all chicks have full gobblers.

From 3 … 5-day-old chicks are accustomed to eating finely chopped greens, at 5 … 7 days of age, it is good to give loose mixtures of yogurt, meat and fish broth, as well as meat and fish waste (5 … 7 g per head), with the 10 th day giving boiled potatoes, grated carrots, pumpkin, zucchini and other vegetables. Wet crumbly mash should be eaten within 30 … 40 minutes (give 30 … 40 g per head), the remainder must be removed (sour feed causes poisoning and death of chickens). For the intestines of chickens very useful fresh yogurt, kefir, whey, which give in the morning, and then fill the drinkers with fresh water. As a disinfectant 2 times a week give half an hour of weak solution of manganese, but it should not be given immediately unnecessarily in the first days of life of chickens.

From 10 days of age, chicks are given finely ground chalk, well-boiled ground eggshells, in separate feeders should always be fine gravel or coarse sand.

In the first month of chickens are very demanding to heat, they die even at room temperature. The first 5 days the temperature in the area accommodating the chicks should be 29 … 30 ° C, from the 6th day it drops to 26 … 28 ° C and every subsequent week – 3 ° C, by the end of the month bring it to 18 ° C. It is good to heat chicks with infrared lamps: they do not blind and can be left on overnight. With warm, sunny weather, chicks can be taken outdoors from as early as 3 days of age. They are accustomed to walks gradually.

In households, chickens are mainly kept on deep, unchanged bedding. Deep bedding contributes to the release of large amounts of heat, protects the feet of chickens from the effects of low temperatures, affects their general condition and health and, of course, refers to the essential environmental factors. As a result of enzymatic decomposition, which takes place in the bedding under the influence of bacteria, the birds get an additional source of biologically active substances, mainly B vitamins. With good care, the bedding does not stick to clumps which cling to the shoes, it springs when walking and crumbles when squeezed in the hand.

RAISE baby CHICKS

The best Bedding Materials for chicken coop

Peat, straw chippings, wood shavings, sawdust are good bedding materials. Mossy peat mixtures have proven to be the best. Moss peat absorbs about 3 times more moisture from air and litter than sawdust and wood shavings, and 2 times more than straw chippings. The moisture capacity of peat increases if it is stored in the attic in winter, where it freezes well.

The main advantage of peat as bedding is its ability to eliminate unpleasant odors. Manure, especially liquid manure, mixed with peat, becomes unnoticeable. Peat very quickly dries the feet of birds and thus prevents the occurrence of colds. Eggs laid by hens at night, when falling on a layer of peat do not break, and if they break, then their contents are mixed with peat, which prevents the development of hens such a defect as cracked eggs. Finally, peat together with manure is an excellent fertilizer.

Peat is poured in a layer of 8-15 cm. Such bedding can be used for up to 4-5 months. The top layer should be removed once a week together with the manure. Therefore, peat bedding is not only healthy and convenient for birds, but also saves time and labor of an amateur poultry farmer.

The moisture capacity of straw chaff bedding is much lower than that of peat, wood shavings and sawdust. Straw litter produces less B vitamins. Unshredded straw is not used as bedding since it quickly moistens and goes mouldy. In Ukraine, crushed corn cob cores are used as bedding, but only for adult birds. Because of its high toxicity, its use in rearing chickens is not recommended.

All bedding materials can be used for bedding mixtures. A mixture consisting of different parts of peat, wood shavings and straw chippings is particularly convenient. The high content of wood shavings in the bedding mixture slows down its decomposition and biological synthesis. The thickness of the layer depends on the material used and the density of the birds. With normal planting density, the layer thickness should be 20-25 cm. In this case the bedding will remain dry throughout the year.

To stimulate the biological activity of fresh bedding, leave some (5-10 cm) of the old bedding which acts as a “starter”. Over time, when loosening the old and fresh layers gradually mix. The frequency of loosening depends on the microclimate and the type of bedding material. In humid conditions (winter) it should be loosened daily to increase evaporation from the underlying layer.

To bind moisture it is recommended to add lime (0.5-1 kg per 1 m2), but the litter structure is not improved. Adding superphosphate (0.5 per 1 m2) improves litter structure. Loosen the bedding material to its full depth. Otherwise, anaerobic conditions are formed in the lower layer and useful aerobic microorganism populations die. Floors should be well insulated from soil moisture. Wooden floors do not need a protective covering because deep bedding does not destroy, but rather preserves the wood.

It is recommended to prepare the bedding in summer and store it indoors to prevent it from getting wet. The bedding is usually placed in the poultry house in autumn in dry weather. In order to prevent its moisture, under the drinkers install iron trays or make racks. Excessive dryness of bedding is undesirable. When humidity is below 20%, enzymatic processes are suspended. Dry bedding increases air dustiness. During the hot season it should be sprayed with water. This reduces dustiness, and moisture evaporation helps to lower the temperature in the poultry house.

Keeping poultry on damp moldy bedding can cause diseases such as aspergillosis, coccidiosis, and respiratory diseases. Helminth eggs and chicken mite larvae develop in excessively wet deep litter. Raw bedding becomes cold, which contributes to low temperature and high relative humidity, contaminates feeders and drinkers.

Feeding the chicks

chicks feader

The chicks have hatched under the hen. They have dried out and are beginning to peek out from under their wings. Watch them and you will see that the chicks are already pecking at something. They try to look for food soon after hatching.

In the past, many poultry farmers thought that chicks should not be fed until the second day of their lives. That was a mistake. Poultry scientists say differently: The earlier you start feeding the chicks, the faster the residual yolk resolves and they develop better.

Good fodder for chickens in the first days of their lives are finely shredded high-quality grain mixture, finely chopped hard-boiled eggs, well-pressed sour curd, porridge, steeply boiled, sour milk. From the first days of rearing the chickens should be given and finely chopped fresh herbs – alfalfa, clover, nettle. Gradually introduced into the diet flour mixtures of cereals, animal and mineral feed: first, dry mixtures, and then wet. To moisten the mixtures use whey with pressed yeast diluted in it.

Dry mixture to chicks up to one and a half to two months of age are given plenty: a feeder with dry mixture should always be near the chicks.

Up to ten days of age, the chicks are fed six times a day, from the tenth day until the age of a month and a half – five times, and then shift to four meals a day.
Earlier we said that wet mash feeders should be frequently washed and dried, and when feeding chickens, this is especially important: sour and contaminated feed causes disease.

The number of feeders and drinkers should be sufficient, otherwise the chicks will interfere with each other.

Chicks’ gobblers should be full after evening feedings. If chicks are found with an incomplete goiter, they should be moved to another room and fed separately.
Mineral feed should be kept in separate feeders.

Water should be changed several times a day.

Feeding chickens

Successful breeding of poultry largely depends on the feeding regime. In winter, adult birds should be fed twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. Soft and warm feed should be given in the morning and dry grain in the evening. This rule is very important because of the short days and long nights in winter. During the night sitting on the roosts, the bird, fed with solid grain, feels less of the effects of frost, as the digestive organs continue their activity. Between morning and evening feeding, pecking cabbage or greens can be given by hanging them on the walls or hanging them from the ceiling of the barn so that the bird can reach them. Greens do not promote obesity, and birds peck at them with great pleasure.

During the warm season, feeding can be done according to different regimes. Where birds use spacious, vegetation-covered walks, it is enough to feed them once a day – in the morning. During the short night, the bird will not go hungry. In autumn, when birds can feed on grains in stubble, there’s no need to feed them at all. Where there is no large outdoor area, you should feed the birds more often than in winter, which is 3 times a day.

Chicks should be fed as often as possible: in the first days of life 5-6 times a day. Then up to 3-4 weeks of age 3-4 times a day. As they grow, depending on whether the chicks are able to get their own portion of food, determined by the number of feedings.

You should give the birds as much food as they need to be healthy and productive. Lack of food weakens the body and reduces productivity, and excessive food leads to obesity and also reduces productivity. Determining the right portion of feed depends on the experience and observation of the owner. Experienced poultry keepers advise to give so much feed that the bird will not be full and will eagerly eat the next portion. If it accepts the feed sluggishly and in good health, the portion should be reduced.

Depending on the properties of the feed, more or less should be given. The bird eats less dry grain than soft feed, vegetables and herbs. Do not compare grain feed and, for example, bran mixed with water. The latter will require much more to deliver a small amount of nutrients to the bird. Variety of feed is also important. It is better to give as the main feed one or two kinds of grain, diversifying it with soft feed in another give, and additionally feed vegetables, herbs, meat.

Chickens require a much more varied feed. At the beginning of life, they should be fed animal and soft feed, giving, of course, and one or two kinds of grain. As they grow, portions of grain increase and animal feed decrease. Gradually, the number of feed components decreases, and the bird is satisfied with those few types of feed to which it has most recently become accustomed.

Types of feeds

There are two main types of feed: hard and soft. The first type mainly includes grains or grass seeds in their natural state, the soft type includes flour made from the same grains, as well as vegetables, various greens and animal feed. Grains and seeds soaked in water or scalded with boiling water should also be counted as soft feed. Soft feed is often made up of different kinds of flour and bran, with the addition of various cooked vegetables and herbs. Greens and vegetables are always given in chopped form, both boiled and raw. Flour is used to make mash on milk, whey, or just water.

Soft feed is more rapidly digested in the body of poultry, so it is mainly used in fattening and rearing chickens. It can be given to molting and convalescing birds, in those cases where increased and diversified nutrition is required. Soft feed is also fed in case of increased egg laying, but in moderation for fear of obesity. It is good to add ginger and mustard, but with great care. First give a small pinch, and then gradually increase the dose.

The soft feed is used both cold and warm. In the warm season it can be cold, and in the cold season – warm, so that there was no loss of heat in the body, the consumption of which at this time is stronger than usual. The temperature of the feed should not exceed 40 ° C. Soft feed is given in dishes suitable for pecking, while hard feed can be given by spreading it on the floor. This method of feeding is preferable because birds picking it up at the same time provides some exercise, which is very important in the winter time, especially for birds that do not have an outdoors. You should not throw feed on the snow or frozen ground or give it chilled in freezing temperatures. Following these rules prevents disease.

Feeding regimen

Successful breeding of poultry largely depends on the feeding regime. In winter, adult birds should be fed twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. Soft and warm feed should be given in the morning and dry grain in the evening. This rule is very important because of the short days and long nights in winter. During the night sitting on the roosts, the bird, fed with solid grain, feels less of the effects of frost, as the digestive organs continue their activity. Between morning and evening feeding, pecking cabbage or greens can be given by hanging them on the walls or hanging them from the ceiling of the barn so that the bird can reach them. Greens do not promote obesity, and birds peck at them with great pleasure.

During the warm season, feeding can be done according to different regimes. Where birds use spacious, vegetation-covered walks, it is enough to feed them once a day – in the morning. During the short night, the bird will not go hungry. In autumn, when birds can feed on grains in stubble, there’s no need to feed them at all. Where there is no large outdoor area, you should feed the birds more often than in winter, which is 3 times a day.

Chicks should be fed as often as possible: in the first days of life 5-6 times a day. Then up to 3-4 weeks of age 3-4 times a day. As they grow, depending on whether the chicks are able to get their own portion of food, determined by the number of feedings.

You should give the birds as much food as they need to be healthy and productive. Lack of food weakens the body and reduces productivity, and excessive food leads to obesity and also reduces productivity. Determining the right portion of feed depends on the experience and observation of the owner. Experienced poultry keepers advise to give so much feed that the bird will not be full and will eagerly eat the next portion. If it accepts the feed sluggishly and in good health, the portion should be reduced.

Depending on the properties of the feed, more or less should be given. The bird eats less dry grain than soft feed, vegetables and herbs. Do not compare grain feed and, for example, bran mixed with water. The latter will require much more to deliver a small amount of nutrients to the bird. Variety of feed is also important. It is better to give as the main feed one or two kinds of grain, diversifying it with soft feed in another give, and additionally feed vegetables, herbs, meat.

Chickens require a much more varied feed. At the beginning of life, they should be fed animal and soft feed, giving, of course, and one or two kinds of grain. As they grow, portions of grain increase and animal feed decrease. Gradually, the number of feed components decreases, and the bird is satisfied with those few types of feed to which it has most recently become accustomed.

Plant food

Plant feeds include grain feed, industrial processing waste (milling, butter, sugar beet), green and succulent feeds, and hay.

Grain feeds form the basis of the bird’s diet. Of grain feed, birds are fed: oats, barley, corn, rye, millet, buckwheat, peas, vetch, sunflower seeds, linseed and, in addition, waste products from grain processing (bran, chaff, seedcake, flour dust) and the oil industry (cake, oilcake).

Oats are the main grain fodder in some areas. It is fed both to adult breeding birds, especially during the egg-laying period, and to young birds. The disadvantage of this feed is the large amount of film, up to 30-40% of the weight of the whole grain. Chickens should be given oats in ground and sifted form. It stimulates feather growth. Good oats should be large, white or light yellow, dry and no more than 30% moisture. Oats should also be fed germinated.

Barley can be included in the diet along with other cereal feeds. Poultry eat it less readily than corn or wheat. It is best introduced at a young age. In areas where barley is a common crop, it can serve as the main part of the grain ration. Good barley should be full-grain and thin-skinned, light yellowish-white in color, with some luster, fresh straw odor, without mustiness. It is fed as part of a flour mixture and as a whole.

Corn is a valuable grain feed most readily eaten by poultry, especially chickens. Because of its high carbohydrate and fat content, it is considered a good fattening feed; it is easily digested. In areas where corn is mainly grown, it is part of almost every ration and is fed either whole or coarsely crushed or ground.

However, the protein in corn is considered deficient in certain amino acids. It is also poor in minerals, especially calcium, so it is better to feed a mixture of grain feeds. When feeding corn to adult birds during the egg-laying period in the warm season it should not be introduced into the diet in large quantities, as it contributes to obesity, in the cold season the danger of obesity decreases.

Rye is similar in composition to wheat, but is relatively poorly eaten by poultry, especially in whole form. When feeding poultry wet mash, rye is added in ground or steamed form. Rye meal is also added to fattening rations during the first fattening period.

Millet is similar in composition to oats. It is fed whole and ground, as well as stumped (millet). Chickens are given millet in the form of steeply boiled crumbly porridge. Ground millet may be part of grain mixtures.

Bran is a waste of the flour industry. Most often used wheat bran. They contain a lot of phosphorus, but compared with grain feeds have little calcium. Bran can be given chickens 30, ducks – up to 60, geese – up to 80 g per day.

Grain slices (cereal waste) in terms of quality are very diverse. The less impurities in them (straw particles, chaff, earth, dust), the more nutritious they are. The composition of wheat and rye sections used for poultry feed varies in the following ranges:

broken and coarse grain – 20-44%
seeds of weeds – 19-68%
5-45% various impurities
Flour dust is a mixture of flour and bran with a mixture of earth, dust, etc. The most nutritious white dust, less nutritious gray dust and the least nutritious dust with a large admixture of soil particles. Flour dust, preferably white dust, can replace some of the grain in the ration, especially when the birds have already finished laying.

Malt sprouts are obtained by germinating barley. They are added to the grain diet. Sprouts contain a special substance called lecithin, which is rich in phosphorus. They should be given to laying hens and males to produce breeding eggs of high fertility and with subsequent embryo viability.

Yeast as a small addition to the diet serves as the main source of vitamin B1 for poultry. Composition of dry yeast:

protein – 48,1%
carbohydrates – 29,3%
water – 10,8%
fiber – 2,6%
minerals – 2,6%
fats – 1%
Yeast is introduced into the diet mainly for chickens grown without walks, in an amount of 1-5%.

Tips

How do you catch a bird?

Catch the bird in a darkened room and use a blue light bulb. The best time for catching is when the bird has sat down on the roosts. It is convenient to use an angle made of a bar and metal netting. With this device, the bird should be pressed against the wall and caught by the wings. If you want to catch a single bird, it is better to use a hook made of wire with a diameter of 5-6 mm and a length of 1 to 1.5 m. Waterfowl are caught by the neck, the rest – by the leg.

What are the requirements for drinking water?

Contaminated water is a source of infection. No wild birds should have access to the water. Drinkers should be designed to prevent water contamination by the birds themselves. The frequency of water changes depends on weather conditions and bird species. During the warm season, water should be changed at least 3 times a day; drinkers should be disinfected 3-4 times a month.

How do you yeast flour mixes?

Fermentation of flour mixtures is carried out to increase the nutritional value of feed and to enrich it with vitamins. For this purpose, darkened rooms are used, the temperature is maintained at 18-20 °C. At a rate of 10-20 grams of baker’s yeast per 1 kg of flour mixture is diluted in warm (30 °C) water. The feed is poured as a layer up to 30 cm. For 1 kg of flour mixture will need 1.5 liters of water. After thorough mixing leave the feed for 6 hours, stirring again every 2 hours. The temperature of the yeast mass should be 20-27 ° C.

How to germinate grain?

The grain is poured in water for 1-2 days, and then it is spread out in a layer of 5-8 cm until sprouts appear. Sprouted grain is given to hens in an amount of 30-40% of the daily portion of the grain portion of the diet.

How do you grind grain?

As a result of grinding, the particle size should be between 1 and 2 mm. The degree of grinding depends on the species and age of the birds. The quality of the chopped feed will be higher if there is less dusty fraction.

What are the rates of feed consumption?

Geese and ducks use silage better than chickens and turkeys due to their biological characteristics. In case of low productivity or during the non-productive period the amount of silage to be fed is increased. Young geese can be fed combined silage from the age of three weeks.

Combined silages are prepared from clover, alfalfa, fodder cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and sugar beets. The humidity of the silage should not exceed 70%. Before feeding, 5 g of chalk is added per 100 g of silage.

How do I feed it?

To reduce feed wastage, use feed appropriate to the bird’s species and age, and convenient feeders. Do not make drastic changes in the composition of the diet. The height of the feeder rim should not be lower than the bird’s back. Fill feeders one third full with loose feed and one half full with whole grains. Wet mixtures should be given more often. The length of the feeders should allow the whole bird to approach at the same time.

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