If farming is your passion and you’re thinking about following your heart then poultry farming is a great place to start. Chickens are the least expensive, easy to care for and very rewarding. If you plan on buying baby chicks, the one question you should be asking yourself is whether you’re ready to be mother hen for a couple of weeks?
Today, I’m going to talk about layer poultry farming – particularly keeping chicks.
The first few days of a chicks life
Layer chickens need to be raised from when they are one day old. They start laying eggs from 18-19 weeks of age and continue to lay eggs until they are 71-77 weeks of age. They can produce 1 kg of eggs by eating 2.25 kg of food during their egg laying period.
During the first week or two the chicks need to be in a brooder that is 35 degrees. The heat can then be reduced by 5 degrees per week until the heat is no longer required, which is usually around 6 weeks of age or when they are feathered up. During the first 4 weeks of life chicks will require a heat source at all times, after 4 weeks the light can generally be off during the day and on at night.
Because many chicks don’t want to drink water during the first week after birth due to transporting them from one place to another, you have to make adequate water drinking systems and train them to drink water. It’s also important to mix 5% glucose with water, so that they can easily get energy. Also give them high quality multivitamin by mixing with water. This will help reduce tiredness.
You have to ensure that your chicks are vaccinated to keep them free from all types of diseases. This will reduce mortality rate, increase production and in the long run increase profits.
Below is a cycle of a chicken’s production
A few tips on feeding your chicks
Provide 2% of calcium for two weeks after their birth.
If you notice they are not gaining expected weight, then you have to serve starter feed for eight weeks.
Serve feed two or three times in a day till their 18 weeks of age.
Demand of feed increase very fast when the birds start laying.
Serve them layer poultry feed according to their age and weights.
Don’t decrease the amount of feed while laying (even if their weight increase).
Don’t forget to cut those lips
You have to cut your chick’s lip(beak) at their age of 8 to 10 days. This helps to reduce mutual fights and prevents food waste. It has to be observed by an experienced technician. This is done by cutting the lip of chicks 0.2 cm from their nose. Both upper and lower lips are cut one after another.
Remember not to cut their lips two days after or before vaccination, after or before using some medicines like sulfur. And to also serve the chicken water mixed with vitamin “K” three days before cutting lips.
It happens naturally right? The Rooster sees the hen and it just happens all the time? Well, Yes! But not all the time. Find out how to get your chickens to mate here.