Most farmers prefer to breed chicks on their own, as chickens can significantly increase the number of chickens without additional help. A person will be required to create the most attractive conditions for young animals, thus reducing mortality to the minimum acceptable threshold.
Providing chickens with a warm, well-lit space, balanced feed, essential vitamins and vaccinations will not only look healthy, but they will be.
Depending on the age of the livestock, the conditions of its maintenance and the diet will differ. It is very important to monitor the quality and balance of food at every stage, since this factor will greatly affect the rate of weight gain in chickens.
A hen or incubator can be used to breed new flocks. In the first case, the less human intervention, the better. When using an incubator, you need to have sufficient experience so that the embryos do not freeze at the stage of development, and healthy chickens and males emerge from them.
In the case when a laying hen sits on the eggs, after the appearance of the offspring, it is required to keep the chicken and chicks separately from the general population until the young are 6 weeks old. The room where the chickens are kept must be warm and dry, and the birds are provided with clean water around the clock.
How to display correctly?
Even if you plan to put a chicken on eggs, the farmer needs to collect them and select the best ones. It must be remembered that fertilized eggs will not turn into embryos if the necessary conditions are not created for them. The nest where they are placed must be clean, it is advisable to clean the eggs as well.
Hatching eggs is a process that requires careful preparation, only then healthy offspring hatch.
If you have to store them, then only with the sharp end down in a box. Those allowed to hatch are those that were demolished no later than 7 days before the laying hen sits on the nest. Eggs are stored at a temperature of 13 degrees in a place with high humidity. Before laying, you will need to rotate each of them to make sure that the inner membrane does not stick to the outer shell.
An incubator is used when a guaranteed result is required. When using a brood hen, the hatching rate is never 100%, but more often reaches 85%, while there is a possibility that the hen may refuse to hatch the offspring for one reason or another, in which case all embryos will die.
To keep the hen safe, some farmers prefer to separate it from the rest of the flock. A rabbit cage is ideal for this. There is enough space inside for a short walk, food and water do not interfere.
A large hen can hatch up to 12 eggs, but smaller hens can only handle 6. Make sure the feathery bird's body completely covers the nest so that even the side eggs will get the right temperature. On average, chicks begin to appear after 21 days. There is no need to help them in this, the chicken will cope on its own.
The hen must manage the process herself from start to finish. When she leaves the nest with her newly hatched chicks, any unhatched eggs will need to be removed.
When using an incubator, a certain temperature and humidity are set. They change a little in the process, but the most important thing is that there are no sharp fluctuations, otherwise the offspring will die. Eggs are discarded gradually. Over the entire period, they will need to be checked several times for the presence of an embryo.
The incubator does not need round-the-clock observation, but it is important to turn each egg in time so that the embryo does not stick to the shell inside. When the chicks begin to emerge, some of them can be helped to hatch, but opening the shell too early is not advised.
Food for chicks of different ages
Day-old chicks require the most attention. The older they get, the easier it is for the farmer, since it becomes possible to take them out to pasture, where they begin to consume natural feed. From the store, "Solnyshko" and "Purina" are popular, they allow you to raise healthy chickens, since they have a well-balanced composition.
Common mistakes novice poultry breeders make:
- providing chickens with vitamin supplements for more than 10 days;
- untimely addition of feed with corn, oats or other grains;
- regularly adding greens that do not contain the necessary calories;
- the introduction of inappropriate or unnecessary medications.
The daily feed intake for chicks depends on the composition. They usually self-regulate the amount of feed they consume to meet their energy needs.
Ambient temperature also plays an important role in determining how much feed the birds need. In hot weather, its amount decreases, in cold weather it increases.
Chicks that have just hatched from an egg must first dry completely before consuming food. Its correct adaptation to new conditions is very important. Additional lighting is installed in the box, providing the chicks with the necessary amount of light and heat. A drinking bowl with clean water is placed, sometimes a little tetracycline or manganese is added to it.
The newborn chick shows an interest in food on the second day after hatching. Boiled and finely chopped eggs are ideal for birds 1-2 days old. Sometimes they are replaced with a special boiled compound feed.
Then you can use fresh nettles and dandelion leaves, which also need to be finely chopped and rubbed with an egg. Cereals, including barley, semolina, corn, and even millet, are an excellent alternative.
Young animals eat often, so every two hours you need to replenish food supplies in the feeder. You cannot give a lot of food at once, it is better in small portions, but fresh food every time.
The diet of week-old chickens is much more varied, but their digestive system is still unable to digest coarse food. On an industrial scale, specialized "children's" varieties of compound feed are purchased. Farmers are also beginning to introduce cottage cheese and other dairy products into the diet of birds.
It is advisable to give chickens at one week of age not "raw", but boiled water, the temperature of which should be 30 degrees. It is gradually reduced so that by 3 weeks it will be 18 degrees. The diet of chicks should contain not only proteins, fats and carbohydrates, but also vitamins and microelements. That is why food is combined.
Grains provide the most energy, but not all carbohydrates can be processed, some of them are converted into fat.
Protein contributes to proper growth, which is why weekly chickens are given cake and even meat products, but only those that have been heat treated.
Carrots, dill and parsley contain vitamin A. Vitamins of group B must be obtained from yeast, the sun provides them with the necessary amount of vitamin D.
Weekly individuals are fed at intervals of 4 hours, including at night. After that, the frequency will decrease. Gradually, along with egg yolk, corn grits or semolina are introduced into the diet, after 4 days you can already give potatoes and chopped carrots.
In water, manganese solution protects birds from bacterial contamination. Only one gram of powder is enough for a liter of water.
Food is added to the feeders at the same time. It is best to put food on paper, then put it away. Drinking bowls can already be changed from vacuum to flute. Access to clean water should be around the clock.
If the chickens are given a mash or fermented milk product, then the farmer needs to ensure that they do not sour and in no case become moldy. Chickens must completely gnaw such feed in half an hour, so it is given in a limited amount per head.
If two-week-old chicks are fed with compound feed, then early in the morning and in the evening it is best to give them chop and millet, feed them well with wet food during the day, but be sure to sprinkle it with semolina so that it does not block the nasal passage of the birds. It is already possible to put a separate container with sand or gravel in the pen.
For each chicken of this age, 1 gram of crushed grain, 0.6 gram of cake, which can be replaced with meal, 4 grams of boiled potatoes per day. Cottage cheese is given skim in the amount of 2 grams, whey or milk - 5 ml each. Also, the diet includes shell rock - 0.5 grams, you can give the same amount of chalk, bone meal. Fine salt is also useful for birds, but its daily volume should not exceed 0.8 grams per head. Most of all, it is allowed to give carrots and herbs - 7 grams.
The ration of monthly chickens is getting richer as they are already being released to graze outside. This is the time when the bird is transferred to the adult diet. There is no need to chop the greens into small pieces, you can just throw the grass in bunches.
Crushed wheat is included in the daily diet of an already grown chicken, it is given in an amount of 22 grams per individual. Also give crushed barley, the maximum portion of which is 30 grams. If chopped peas are introduced, then it should not be more than 12 grams per day.
You can give the chicken 8 grams of flaxseed oil, 5 grams of soybean meal and 6 grams of hydrolyzed yeast. Fish and meat and bone meal are also useful, but if the first one can be poured about 9 grams per head per day, then the second - no more than 3.
Cereals give less and less, they are replaced by mash. Whole grains are suitable for feeding only from 1.5 months of age. In order for the chickens to begin to quickly gain in height and weight, mineral and vitamin complexes are added to the feed, which include a shell and fish oil. Often in the first days of life, starting compound feed is used to feed the young, thanks to which the chickens quickly gain weight.
It is imperative to solder birds with a weak solution of manganese as a means of preventing certain diseases.
How to feed broilers?
Breeding broiler chickens is often associated with the desire to get poultry for meat. The diet of the chickens does not change from this, as, indeed, the diet, only the amount of some types of feed increases.
Broilers thrive and gain weight when their diet is dominated by ground barley, corn and wheat. They begin to be given at the age of 5 days, gradually increasing the dose. It is also worth including in the bird menu sunflower meal, grass and bone meal.
If fed properly, chickens will weigh enough after a short period of time. Broilers are unpretentious, including food. They do not need a lot of vitamins and microelements, since they do not carry much.
When fattening for meat, some farmers begin to give compound feed to chickens from the second day after hatching.
Premises for young animals
Young animals require a lot of attention, because their maintenance is fraught with some difficulties. First of all, you need to pay attention to the premises for such chickens.
If you plan to breed new offspring under the hen, then the chicken should be placed separately, since it should not be disturbed. The chicken coop must be not only warm, but also clean, which is important on days when chickens were born. It is advisable to disinfect it a few days before or before the laying hen sat on the eggs.
It must be understood that chickens can be kept both free-range and in nests within a small enclosure and even in cages. When free-roaming, the bird is not constantly in the chicken coop, but can go outside. This content is not recommended if broilers are grown for meat, since chicken spends a lot of energy on pasture and does not gain weight, but, on the contrary, loses it.
But this method of keeping is ideal for laying hens, since they receive additional vitamins and minerals from the earth and grass, and can eat insects.
While the chickens are young, they are not able to maintain the temperature necessary for the body, so the farmer needs to properly prepare the room for their keeping. Even the presence of a laying hen does not guarantee that all the eggs have enough space underneath it to warm up. Lighting is selected in a special way, the flooring must be changed, since old young animals can pick up an infection.
It is important to pay attention to the dimensions of the chicken coop, since there should be enough space for all its inhabitants. It is advisable to round the corners, but if there is too much space inside, then you need to fence off a small area for a while and use only it.
Be sure to delimit the space. Inside, there should be enough space under the lamp for sleeping, drinkers and feeders must be placed separately. For the first time, you can build a small circle of cardboard, where newborns are seated, and from above, at a certain height, lighting is installed, which gives them the necessary amount of heat.
Light and temperature conditions
Daylight hours for birds are gradually reduced, but in the first days the lamp is not turned off at all. Just a couple of weeks after hatching, the day is reduced to 20 hours, then an hour a week. As a result, the daylight hours of the birds should be 10 hours.
In the early days, the indoor temperature should be at 32 degrees. Only when the chickens are 2 weeks old is it allowed to be reduced to 28 degrees, then gradually decrease by 3 degrees every week. If you move at such a pace, then by 1.5 months of age the chickens will feel comfortable at 18 degrees.
If a farmer has a large livestock, then an ordinary lamp is not always a good option for a chicken coop. In this case, use a gas or electric fireplace, sometimes an infrared heater. Power of 150 watts is enough for a livestock of 50 individuals.
Proper care of birds is not only good food, a good room, where it is warm and light, but also the prevention of their diseases. Taking care of chickens is required from the first days of their life. In the beginning, it all comes down to using a manganese solution as drinking water.
Disease prevention in chicks involves sanitary practices such as thorough cleaning of equipment and premises with disinfectants, and minimizing or eliminating the introduction of new birds into the premises. The main biosecurity measures are to limit contact with people and other birds.
Preventive disinfection of the chicken coop is one of the most effective prevention methods. The farmer is required to clean all available surfaces with a detergent first, as disinfectants work best on cleaned walls. But it's worth remembering that a clean surface doesn't mean disease-free.
Disinfectants are not effective immediately after use; they require at least 30 minutes to destroy pathogens. Warm disinfectant solutions break down sediment better than cold ones.
Do not forget to follow the manufacturer's recommendations for dilution and use of funds. The most commonly used treatments are hydrogen peroxide, iodine and chlorine.
If an unhealthy chicken is found, it should be immediately quarantined, where the disease must be diagnosed quickly. By speeding up the treatment of infected birds, the farmer prevents further spread of the infection.
Vaccination is rarely used by owners of small farms due to the high cost and limited availability of drugs , and sometimes the simple absence of disease in small chicken coops. Vaccination should be carried out if there have been problems with infection in the past, as well as if chickens are regularly transported from room to room or placed with adults.
The sick individual is less active, pulls in its neck and looks untidy. Among the most common infections that should be detected at an early stage are the following.
- Cannibalism. Early signs include leg wounds in chickens and baldness. It is important to pay close attention to the entire flock to determine the difference between an occasional brawl where one individual is hurt and problem behavior.
- Rickets. Chicks develop weak bones that cannot support their body weight. In severe cases, the chicks cannot walk and die of suffocation, as their skeleton cannot support the muscle movements necessary for breathing.
- Vitamin A deficiency. Chickens develop a crust in the nostrils and eyelids. In the initial stages, the illness is similar to a respiratory illness. This damage to the throat makes it difficult to swallow, chicks do not grow, are severely depressed and die from malnutrition.
- Lice infestation. Chicks are nervous, scratching and pecking themselves often. Feathers look dry and tousled. Weight loss occurs.
- Coccidiosis. Diarrhea, weight loss and pigmentation. In severe form, bloody diarrhea appears, which can be fatal without treatment.
- Ascariasis (round worm). Common signs in chickens are diarrhea and weight loss. With severe infestation, masses of adult worms can cause intestinal blockages, which will be fatal if left untreated.
- Capillariasis. The main signs of infection include pallor, diarrhea, and wasting.
- Mycoplasmosis. Watery eyes, dirty nostrils, coughing and sneezing are common in chickens. Over time, the infection can lead to a build-up of scales of material on the eyelids and sinuses, as well as noticeable swelling.
- Colibacillosis. Chicks appear lethargic, have ruffled feathers and shortness of breath, and often cough. Infected birds may experience diarrhea and edema.
See the next video for caring for chicks.