Broiler chickens are one of the most popular poultry breeds and they are uniquely bred for fast growth. They are really great at converting feed into muscle weight. Typically, their growth period is between 6 and 8 weeks of age and during this period, they are groomed to 6 pounds. Broiler chicks need to be fed the appropriate amount of feed per day and this complete broiler chicks feeding guide will help achieve optimal health and size resulting in quality yield for consumers.
Use The Right Type Of Poultry Feeder
Young chicks require a feeder that will help hold the food in place as the birds eat. When broiler chicks are less than one week old, you can help them learn to eat by putting their food in a shoebox or egg carton with a lid. After broiler chicks have gotten accustomed to eating, you can cut holes in the carton and place a lid on top, or buy a commercial feeder designed for chickens. Also, keep the chicks in a brooder until they fully feather out and acclimate to the temperatures, usually by three to five weeks old.
Provide Your Birds With Quality Feed
Broiler chicks require what is known as starter feed for the first four weeks of their life. The broiler starter feed should constitute considerable protein content between 20 and 23%. Most starter feeds contain medication to prevent coccidia infections, so before slaughtering the birds, you have to ensure there is no medication residue in the meat.
After four weeks, the protein content in the feed can drop to 19%. The type of feed administered at this stage is known as broiler developer.
The broiler feed should contain a proper calcium-to-phosphorus ratio of 2:1 to help keep birds healthy and mobile. The presence of antioxidants and probiotics in their feed is also important as it aids their digestive health. The feed should be easy to eat and digest. On an average scale, broiler birds consume around 10 pounds of feed during the first 6 weeks. They consume between 3 and 4 pounds of feed in the week after the first 6 weeks. Broilers are reputable for being voracious eaters.
Ensure Adequate Provision Of Fresh Water
When raising broilers, it is essential to ensure that the birds have a sufficient amount of clean, freshwater, as a broiler chicken will not be able to digest feed without adequate hydration.
Broiler chicks need free access to fresh water always while they are growing. To ensure that their water requirement is strictly adhered to, you can provide fresh water using a poultry waterer that has a reservoir for the water and a pan for the birds to drink out of. These waterers are gravity fed. As the chicks drink the water from the pan, the pan continually gets filled up with more water from the reservoir.
Other Important Management Practices To Follow
Meat birds should be raised separately from other backyard poultry to help reduce stress and the risk of disease transmission. In the course of the first three weeks of growth, provide 2 to 4 inches of feeder space and up to 2 square feet of floor space per chick.
The brooder and coop should also be cleaned daily, more often than you would with layer breeds. Meat breeds need more care than layer breeds. The brooder floor should be covered with 3-4 inches of litter for absorption, such as pine shavings. This would enable constant warmth for the birds and would also help them channel their energy into growing.
Consider lighting your coop to increase feed consumption. One forty watt bulb hung about 6 feet above the chicks is needed for every 200 square feet of the pen space. Broilers being chickens raised for meat are well-known for their high feed-conversion ratios and fast growth rates. Following these instructions carefully would aid in increasing the productivity and economic value of these chickens. Proper breeding of broilers reduces losses and this is very important for poultry rearers.
The right broiler chicks feeding guide as shared in this article will help you have a profitable production. What other feeding practices have worked for your broiler chicks? Share with us in the comment section.