Farm ChoiceTM Broiler Management Guide
Animal Feeds for your Lifestyle.
Net Weight: 20 kg Product #: 110414
Masterfeeds Farm Choice brand poultry feeds are balanced, quality products backed by results. We are proud feed suppliers of some of the most successful chicken, turkey and duck producers across Canada.
Masterfeeds poultry feeds promote optimal health at every stage and include wholesome grains and vegetable proteins balanced with minerals and vitamins, nutrient-dense, carefully-balanced diets, and formulations that increase growth and development.
The following information is designed to assist poultry producers to avoid management problems and prevent the potential for serious issues in the flock. A Masterfeeds Poultry Account Manager will help you maximize margins with a total barn approach. Factors such as temperature, intestinal health, lighting and stimulation, feeder space, water microbial and mineral content and floor space to name a few are imperative for ideal conditions for healthy and productive flocks.
Meat Production Breeds – The commercial broiler strains of Cornish and White Rock breeding are the most economical strains for meat production. They may be purchased as straight run or on a sexed basis. The males can be caponized (castrated) at three to five weeks of age to produce a more tasty variety of meat. The most economical time to slaughter is when the birds are at the fryer stage. The amount of feed consumed per pound of gain increases as the bird gets older.
|Type of Bird||Age (weeks)||Average Live Weight (lbs)||Average Dressed Weight (lbs)|
|Cornish Game Hen||5||2.5||1.5|
Preparing for Bird Arrival
- Remove all old litter.
- Clean and disinfect house and equipment using an approved disinfectant.
- Fumigate if possible.
- Let house lie empty and air out for two weeks.
- Provide one square foot of floor space per chick, one day old through the 12th week.
- Place about four inches of clean, dry litter such as pine shavings or sawdust.
- Use chick guards: 18 to 24 inch cardboard to keep chicks close to heat, feed and water for first 10 days.
- Chick feeders: minimum of one foot long per 15 chicks.
- Water Fountains: one gallon capacity per 25 chicks or ¼ inch trough space per chick.
- Bring house up to brooding temperature one day before delivery.
- Fill waterers four hours before arrival. Allow birds to drink for three to four hours before giving first feed. This will help prevent dehydration.
- Refer to feeding guide to determine amount of feed needed for each stage of growth.
Buy chicks from a reputable hatchery. The source of chicks is very important to assure disease-free stock. The hatchery should source birds from government approved breeding flocks to minimize disease.
Brooder stoves or heat lamps can be utilized. Place a maximum of 350 birds per stove or 75 birds per heat lamp. Use a minimum of two heat lamps in case one burns out. Adjust the temperature to 32° C at the chick level. Reduce temperature 5° per week to a minimum of 16° C. The best indication of a comfortable temperature is when the chicks are spread evenly within the chick guard. Remove wet areas around waterers and feeders daily to maintain good litter condition and to keep leg problems and disease conditions at a minimum. Brooder litter paper should be used when starting chicks. It makes it easier for the chicks to get around and reduces the chicks’ tendency to eat the litter, causing starve-outs. Keep litter clean and dry to promote a healthy environment for chicks.
The effect of light on growth and production is a very important factor. Chicks should be placed on 24 hours of light for the first week. Broilers and capons can then be allowed to follow the natural day length as long as there is at least 14 hours of light provided.
General guidelines for total hours of natural and artificial light could be as follows:
- First week after chicks are housed – 24 hours of light.
- Two to six weeks – 16 hours of light.
- Six to 12 weeks – 13 hours of light.
- 12 to 18 weeks – 10 hours of light.
- At 18 weeks, increase day length one half hour per week until 15 hours of day length is reached.
One 25-watt bulb (per 200 square feet of floor space) is adequate for growing pullets, broilers and capons.
Temperature & Ventilation
The optimum temperature range for birds over four weeks of age is 18° to 24° C. As temperature gets above or below this range, the production, growth rate or efficiency can suffer. To control temperature, ammonia, humidity, dust, disease and litter condition, fresh air movement is essential. Approximately five to 10 times as much ventilation is needed in warm temperature conditions as in cold conditions.
Water – The most important nutrient. Poultry should have free access to clean, fresh water at all times. During brooding, clean and disinfect water fountains daily. When starting day-old birds or after moving or transporting birds, give access to water before placing feed in the feeders. Water consumption will be three times as high when temperatures reach 38° C as compared to 10° C weather.
Grit – When birds have access to coarse litter or whole grains, an insoluble grit should be fed. Limit intake of grit to one pound per 100 pounds of feed or two pounds per 100 birds per week. Grit can be blended with their regular ration or offered free-choice in a separate feeder. But when offering a commercial prepared feed, grit is NOT needed (the feed is already ground).
Do not allow feeders to run empty or stale feed to accumulate. Never feed any feedstuffs that are mouldy, musty or suspect in any way.
Space & Equipment Requirements
Absolute minimums per bird.
|Type of Bird||Age (weeks)||Floor Space||Feeder Spaces (linear inches)||Water Spaces (linear inches)|
|Broilers||0 – 1||10.0 in2||1.0||0.25|
|1 – 6||1.0 ft2||2.5||0.5|
It is always a good idea to cull and destroy sick or lame birds. These birds are generally inefficient because they do not grow while continuing to eat feed.
Almost every flock of birds is going to be exposed to a disease stress at some time or other. Many diseases can be prevented by keeping visitors and pet traffic at a minimum and controlling exposure to rodents and wild birds. A disease will usually result in a decrease in feed consumption, after which mortality may suddenly increase. An accurate diagnosis of the disease is necessary before treatment can begin.
Some of the more common health problems are discussed in the next few paragraphs.
Bird Health Problems
Coccidiosis: This disease is caused by a parasite called coccidia. The disease is common in both chickens and turkeys, as well as other animals. Masterfeeds Farm Choice brand poultry feeds contain Alltech® technology to aid in the development of immunity to this disease. Birds with this disease appear listless, pale and chilled and may also show bloody droppings. The disease may be treated with Sulfaquinoxaline or Amprolium in the water.
Mareks Disease: This disease affects the nerves and visceral organs of the chicken, resulting in paralysis and tumors of the internal organs. There is no treatment, however, vaccination at the hatchery is highly recommended.
Leg Problems: Twisted joints, swelled or bowed legs and curled toes will occur to a certain extent in most flocks of broilers and turkeys. However, management, nutrition, litter and disease can contribute to a higher incidence. To minimize the problem, follow feeding, floor space and equipment recommendations. Also keep the litter in good condition by removing wet spots and maintaining proper ventilation.
Breast Blisters: This condition is caused by constant contact with litter or equipment. The condition or incidence increases with wet litter, overcrowding and leg problems. The condition is most common with heavy broiler chickens or turkeys.
Cannibalism: This is a habit that develops in the form of feather picking, “pickouts” of the vent or picking at other areas on the bird. This bad habit can start at any age if conditions are right. The most common causes of cannibalism are overcrowding, too high a temperature, poor ventilation and high light intensity. Remove any affected birds, maintain adequate feed intake and correct any of the above management problems. Beak trimming could be considered to help correct the problem.
Lice and Mites: These parasites can steal profits without being noticed. They can cause severe decreases in growth rate. Lice can easily be detected around the vent or base of the feathers. Mites will appear as a sprinkling of gray pepper in the vent area. Both lice and mites can be controlled by insecticides. Three or four treatments at 10 day intervals may be needed.
Internal Parasites: Worms commonly infest the intestinal tract of birds. The most common are the large round worms, caecal worms and tape worms. Good sanitation between flocks and control of wild birds and insects will help prevent infestation of worms.