Regular daily weighing of broiler chicks is an important procedure for controlling the weight gain of a bird and its health; by 3 months of age, it should gain marketable weight. We will tell you about the maximum and average growth rates in broilers, the reasons for the underweight and the rules for feeding in our article.
As you know, chickens are bred for two purposes - eggs or meat. From English "broil" means "fry", "fry", broilers are called not a breed, but young growth of certain highly productive types of chickens intended for meat. In a short period of growth, broiler chicks gain sufficient weight for slaughter, which is why they are appreciated. By the age of 8 weeks, chicks usually gain over 1.5 kg.
This growth rate should ensure adequate feed quality. It is necessary to feed chickens literally "for slaughter".
Hybrids of chicken breeds with increased egg production or rapid weight gain are called crosses (cross means "crossing"). Popular broiler crosses for meat production include the following species bred by breeders.
- Cobb-500 is a popular type of meat poultry with a pale yellowish color.
- The Cobb-700 is a highly productive hybrid offspring of New Hampshire, Plymouthrock, Rhode Island and others.
- Smena is a popular species obtained by mixing Broiler-6 with Gibro-6 breeds. The crosses Smena-7 and Smena-8 have already been brought out.
- Ross-308 is an early maturing meat hybrid with a whitish color.
- Ross-708 is a hybrid obtained by the linear method of crossing several highly productive breeds, including such breeds of meat direction as New Hampshire, Brahma, Fighting Cornish and others.
- Broiler Hubbard - cross has an egg and meat direction. Designed for domestic and industrial breeding, has a high survival rate.
All these and other hybrids, whose direction is predominantly meat, have a number of features.
- The difference between the meat breed and the usual one is noticeable from the very hatching. The broiler chicken has massive legs, the weight of a newborn chicken is 39-44 grams, sometimes up to 50 grams.
- High appetite. If a broiler is provided with quality food in the right amount, then by the age of three weeks its weight will increase 20 times. Scientists have calculated that 80% of the nutrition during the first month is spent on the growth of the chick, and the remaining 20% on general support and functioning of the body.
- Rapid muscle growth puts a strain on the poultry skeleton, therefore, the broiler housing should be equipped in such a way as to minimize bird walks, and the feeder was nearby.
- Broiler chickens are phlegmatic and inactive.
- Adults reach an average of 4.5 kg (females) and 5.5 kg (males).
Weight gain schedule
Frequent weighing and recording of the weight gain of broilers is an important component for their further successful growth. A difference of only 1-1.5 grams between newborn broiler chicks indicates which bird will grow larger. But it is important for the farmer to know not only the weight of the hatched chicks, but also to control their weight throughout the entire growing period. For such accounting, it is necessary to compare the actual weight of the bird with average data. Below is a graph of the weight gain of broilers of different ages in the tables.
Table # 1. Increase by days
Age, in days
Weight in grams
As can be seen from the table, starting from 12-13 days, the average increase in chicken weight per day is 55-60 grams. In the first 14 days of life, the chick gains 10 times its newborn weight. The maximum weight that a broiler can reach in 1 month is 1.5-1.7 kg. The minimum indicators for this age should not be less than 0.9 kg. When calculating the weight of broilers, it is important to take into account the sex difference between them. Females will always have a lower weight, they have more tender meat, which contains a larger layer of fat than the meat of cockerels.
Table 2. Growth of males and females by week
Age in weeks
Chickens, weight in grams
Cockerels, weight in grams
By the age of 2 months (8-9 weeks), the bird is gaining a good slaughter weight. It is approximately 2.5 kg. But the farmer can feed him further, and by 3 months the weight reaches a maximum - 4.5-5.5 kg. The feasibility of further fattening after this age decreases: the broiler practically does not grow, gaining only fat.
Sometimes a bird older than 3 months can lose weight if the weather conditions have changed to cold weather.
How to weigh?
At the age of 1 week (7-8 days) the broiler is recommended to be weighed periodically, recording the weight gain. To correctly measure chick weight, you must:
- carry out this procedure before feeding;
- carefully, without frightening the bird, take it and put it in a cardboard box (a bag or bag will not work for this), which must first be weighed empty and the scales must be tared, or then the weight of the box must be subtracted from the weight of the chicken;
- together with the box, put each broiler on the scales one at a time, while it is undesirable to change the scales and weighing method throughout the entire poultry growing.
Reasons for shortage
Weighing the chicks daily or weekly and noticing the lag behind the average daily norms, the poultry farmer should think about the correct diet and bird maintenance. The nuances in the conditions of detention are as follows.
- Microclimate. From the first days of chicks' life, it is important to maintain an optimal and stable temperature, without night and day changes. From birth to 2 weeks of age, the temperature should not fall below 30 ° C, from the age of 2 weeks it can gradually drop to 25 ° C. At cool temperatures, the broiler spends calories from food on heating the body. Drafts are also strictly not allowed.
- Sufficient amount of clean drinking water. It is important to replenish the drinking water supply for broilers in a timely manner and change it if the water becomes contaminated. Drinking should be of high quality, at first the water for the chickens is boiled, potassium permanganate is added, it is also useful to make decoctions of chamomile and rose hips. Otherwise, there is a danger of infectious diseases in the livestock.
- Large territory. Walking around a large paddock can waste energy and slowly gain weight. This does not mean that the birds should be left completely without walking. Moderate walks in the open air and in the sun are beneficial for broilers and promote their health.
- Illumination. For chicks under 2 weeks of age, night illumination is a prerequisite for keeping.
- Damp floor and indoor humidity. Constant dampness under the feet of chickens promotes the multiplication of harmful bacteria, broilers can become infected with diseases that inhibit growth, and sometimes lead to disastrous consequences.
- Parasites and helminths. The presence of parasites can inhibit the development of broilers. Then you need to disinfect the premises and treat each bird separately.
But still, most often the reason for underweight lies in the shortcomings of the diet.
- Lack of protein in the total food content. A protein-deficient broiler is usually smaller and leaner. Although this may look like an ordinary laying hen. Protein and essential amino acids enter the body from legumes, meat or fish waste and broths, milk skim or yogurt. At first, the chickens must be fed with boiled eggs and low-fat cottage cheese.
- Individuals may gain weight poorly or not gain weight at all if the main stock does not give them access to feed. Then they can be landed and fed separately, or you can make sure that all chicks get food.
- Lack of minerals, vitamins. In addition to natural grain feed, it is important to include boiled vegetables, meal as well as vitamin premixes in the chicken diet. Fresh greens - nettle, clover, dandelion and other herbs well compensate for the lack of vitamins.
- Lack of diet. Providing food to broilers at different times each time will negatively affect their growth. Especially if you do long time intervals between meals.
Basic rules for feeding
Acceleration of the growth of broilers is conditioned by the normal conditions of their keeping, as well as a complete, balanced diet. Feeding is provided at first on an accelerated schedule, and then, as the chicks grow, the number of feeds decreases, so it is important to know the approximate age of the flock. The farmer does not always raise poultry from birth, but you can determine the age of broilers by external signs:
- one week - by this age, the chicken's wings grow to the tail, but they still remain covered with down;
- 12 days - the shoulders of the chickens are covered with feathers;
- by 19-21 days of life, the goiter, back and breast are covered with feathers. tail feathers begin to grow;
- at 4-5 weeks, the first molt occurs, after which flight feathers appear on the wings;
- within 6 weeks the head and lower body feathers;
- by 3 months, the broiler has full plumage, which is ready to drop in the fall.
Considering the age of the broilers, the following feeding schedule can be followed, while remembering to weigh the birds.
- The first 5 days after birth. This age requires maximum attention and care for weak chicks. These babies should be fed at least 8 times a day (including night) after an equal amount of time. Their diet should consist of 25% protein, which gives boiled yolk, cottage cheese and corn grits. Chop food well.
The stimulant of health and growth for chickens is the drug "Trivit", it is better to give it a course - 1 drop 4 times every 7 days. Weak chicks are temporarily kept separately from the rest of the livestock until they get stronger.
- 6-10 days. Gradually introduce roughage, cereals, greens. The frequency of meals is 7-8 times, including one night feeding. You can give grated fresh carrots, first no more than 5 grams per head, then increasing this amount to 20-25, if the chickens' reaction was normal.
- Closer to 10 days of age, it is useful to introduce lime, shell rock, small eggshells.
- 11-20 days. Meals are already reduced to 6 meals a day. It is good to mix bone meal into the diet, give boiled fish waste. Sour milk or reverse will improve the microflora of young animals.
- 21-30 days. The most important milestone when growing broilers, the weight of which must necessarily meet the standards. Cereals are mixed with boiled crushed potatoes, broilers are already pecking whole grain. Meals - 5-6 times a day.
- After 30 days, the bird can be completely transferred to the adult diet with 4 meals a day before slaughter. It is important to add vitamin premixes to food, taking into account the dosage, and closely monitor the health of the livestock.
Throughout the entire growing period, the weight gain must be controlled, if not by day, then at least by week. This procedure makes it clear whether the bird is sick, whether mistakes are made in the nutrition and maintenance of broilers.
You can learn how to raise broilers from the video.