Only that chicken will grow into a good laying hen or a brave rooster, which stands firmly on its feet, keeps militantly, and is healthy from the first steps of its life. A kind of peppy chicken should already come out of the egg.
Go around the courtyard of hens. Many of you do not even notice them, they say, this is Mom’s care. And the thing is interesting for you. In it you can show creativity, ingenuity, knowledge.
As soon as it smells in the spring, begin to intensely feed the hens and the rooster. If there is whole grain in stock, it would be nice to sprout it - put it in a pan, tank, pour warm water and hold it for three days. The kernels should bend over. It’s with them that they feed the bird from which you are going to get eggs for hatchery. At this time, dried nettle, birch brooms, and linden, fresh from the summer, are also useful to her. Mineral top dressing is especially necessary for the egg shell to be stronger and thicker, since the embryo takes calcium salts from it to build its skeleton. Thus, chickens are fed at least a month before the selection of eggs for a brood hen or in an incubator.
If any of the laying hens in past years has shown itself on your bird
whose yard is especially a diligent mother hen and caring mother, her and choose again for this role. The more “experience” of the hen, the better she shows her skill. True, in this case it rushes worse. But this does not matter - other chickens fill this gap for her. However, if there is no klush at all, experienced poultry farmers also know the solution. They plant chickens in nests on some worthless three or four eggs and cover with a basket or box. In two days, sometimes more, some of the chickens begin to cluck. Then they lay 15-17 eggs under them, selected for hatching. They carry out an “operation” unnoticed by the newly-found mother hen, preferably in the evening, at dusk.
Some poultry farmers adapted small bentamoks for hatching chickens. They are great hunters to breed young animals. They are planted on eggs laid by ordinary hens (5-7 pieces for each).
A brood chicken is kept in a more or less warm room. She sits for a long time with almost no movement, and when she begins to freeze in a cold shed, she begins to move, warm up and trample the eggs. The best food for brood hens at this time is crushed grain with the addition of chopped greens — fresh or dried, food * waste. Nearby there should always be clean water.
A very important point in hatching is the selection of eggs for incubation. Choose them with an even shell, without cracks and sagging, of medium size. Too small and too large, overly spiky and similar to a ball are not suitable. An invigorating chick is most likely obtained from fresh eggs laid no more than 10 days ago. Before incubation, store them in a ventilated room in a horizontal position, preferably on a cardboard with cells, each day turning upside down with the other side, grabbing them with only two fingers.
On the 21st day - finally bite. A crack appears on the shell. But then the halves opened, and a small, sturdy chicken came out. If you didn’t show skills and care as a poultryman, would you not hold this glorious peppy one in the palm of your hand!
The early days of chickens: taking care of young animals
The development of bird offspring and its health are influenced by many indicators.
- Stand firm on your feet
- Have a tight tummy, a clean umbilical cord,
- Be neat, lively and agile
- Have soft plumage,
- Respond to external stimuli,
- Take food and water on your own,
- Its wings should fit snugly against the body.
Daily chicks are very vulnerable to diseases, and may feel discomfort from feeds that are not selected in the best way. Therefore, caring for them involves supporting and creating:
- Lighting mode
- Airing with no drafts,
- The required temperature indicators,
- A balanced diet and adherence to a feeding regimen,
- Optimal humidity in the house.
Before settling in the “babies” dwelling, it is necessary to clean it, disinfect it, cover the floor with dry loose bedding material. Also, breeding chickens involves checking the premises for protection against rats and mice, picking everything necessary to maintain the livelihoods of young animals. Such equipment consists not only of lamps and radiators, but also of safe drinking bowls and feeders. 12 pets are recommended for one meter of area.
Lighting and temperature for chickens
The first weeks of life, most chicks experience discomfort from hypothermia, or from high temperature indicators. Indeed, until the age of one month, the body of “babies” cannot effectively adapt to changes in the external environment as soon as possible. Therefore, the poultry breeder is required to control humidity and temperature. In a cool room, you need to put additional heating appliances, and hot - constantly ventilate. Therefore, the conditions for growing chickens must necessarily include careful control over the temperature regime in the chicken coop:
- The first 24 hours, the offspring of birds must exist in such conditions as they had in the incubator, at a temperature of 35 degrees (not lower),
- Then they systematically reduce this indicator to 30-32 degrees - in the first seven days after the birth of small pets,
- From the 2nd week, the temperature marks gradually continue to decrease, so that by the age of one month the bird can live quietly at a temperature of 21 degrees,
Important: youngsters need heating not only during the day, but also at night, as well as on cloudy days and in the cold seasons.
Provide round-the-clock coverage of the chicken coop (especially in winter) using artificial incandescent lamps.
- The first days of the lamp are constantly on and do not turn off. From this, the chicks move more actively, grow and eat.
- Then the lights are turned off for 15 minutes, then 30, accustoming the "birds" to the dark.
- When the youngsters turn 4 months old, the daylight hours are shortened to ten hours.
Light is made at a height of 45-50 cm, and the microclimate is controlled by installing a thermometer. If the residents of the house are crowded under a lamp or cling to each other - obviously, they are freezing. And from the heat, they can ruffle wings and feathers, move a little.
In the early days of life, chickens live in warm and dry boxes made of wood or cardboard, which are sure to disinfect and lay non-slip material on their bottom. Humidity is maintained in the range of 60-70%.
On the bedding
The maintenance of future chickens is seriously affected by a non-replaceable deep litter that emits a lot of thermal energy. Such a warm material protects the paws of young animals from cold temperatures, having a positive effect on the health of pets. With constant decomposition occurring in the material through the action of bacteria, young chickens have biologically active substances as an auxiliary source. For bedding it is better to use:
- Chopped straw
- Wood shavings.
- They should be clean and dry.
- Proper ventilation and lighting
- Necessary humidity and temperature conditions.
Features of feeding chickens
The key to the subsequent development and good growth of future chickens is a balanced and nutritious diet, which should be selected according to the needs and age of the "kids". After birth, young animals are fed as quickly as possible. The sooner they offer food to chickens, the sooner they will go through acclimatization, get used to new conditions. This will take about a day, during which the pets must have water. Daily chicks for three to four days in a row give a chicken egg. It should be hard boiled and finely crushed. Next, another healthy food is smoothly introduced into the diet.
- The first additive is boiled millet, which is first mixed with the testicle. Then they feed the chickens with one millet,
- Then, crushed corn and crushed wheat are added to the porridge-type compound feeds. They are perfectly digested unlike barley and oats. Their seeds have a rough shell and can provoke gastrointestinal irritation (diarrhea in "babies"). These cereals can be used as food for birds only when they reach one month or later,
- Greens need to fill the feeders in the early days. This includes finely chopped and scalded nettles, alfalfa, clover, green onions, finely chopped carrots,
- Sour-milk products - buttermilk, low-fat cottage cheese, milk powder, whey, yogurt. They are mixed in grain mixtures, wet feed,
- For 4-5 days, dishes are placed in the house with shells, fine gravel, pebbles, crushed chalk,
- Fish or meat and bone meal is mixed into the feed (earthworms or meat, finely chopped waste can serve as a substitute). The protein present in the feed is very important for birds,
- Add wood ash,
- From the tenth day, you can introduce zucchini, boiled potatoes, pumpkin.
The first ten days young animals are fed with an interval of two hours, then at 4 hours, and then the interval between meals is reduced to six hours. The grown chickens eat only in the morning and in the evening. Clean and fresh water at room temperature should be put into the house every day, changed twice a day.
It is necessary to regularly wash the chicken coop, disinfect it, remove the old litter.
Growing pets under a brood
A proven and ancient technique is to breed chickens under a brood hen. An experienced chicken with a well-developed maternal instinct is chosen for this role.
Test with a simple method. When the klusha sits in the nest closer to the night, put two chicks in it. If the outcome is good (if the chicken accepts the pets), bring the rest the next day. In the spring 13-14 chickens will be enough, in the summer period they plant up to 20 pieces.
If you want to try to place one or two testicles from the incubator, this must be done in the dark period, when the mother-chicken hatches her eggs. If the bird does not “reject” them and will sit on them, you can immediately put the rest on the next day. In the spring season, the brood hen can “warm” 15 eggs, and in the summer in the heat of 20.
Breeding chickens in an incubator for a beginner poultry breeder
For beginners, it is important to properly ensure the process of breeding chicks in the incubator. Before you lay eggs in it no older than three days, adjust the desired temperature.
- The first week of incubation requires 38.5-39 degrees. After laying the eggs, they should warm up for a day, then they need to be turned over. You need to regularly change the location of the egg - from the edges to the middle.
- Biting will occur on approximately the 19th day of incubation, so the testes no longer need to be turned over. Ensure that the temperature is 37 degrees.
- A mass hatch of chickens can be expected on the twentieth day, and on day 22 the full cycle should end. Incubating the testes is no longer worth it.
We have a more detailed article on how to raise chickens in an incubator.
Growing broiler chickens
For broilers, a slightly different care is carried out, aimed at frequent fattening without walking. From birth, they contain 15 chicks per square meter. meter. After 60 days, hens can gain up to 2 kg of net weight. Broiler chickens are very fond of heat, so temperature indicators do not change all the time they are raised.
A very important process is the regulation of lighting:
- For five days, the lamps are left on for 24 hours.
- Further daylight hours are reduced to 18 hours.
The bird must always be fed balanced feeds containing a sufficient amount of minerals and vitamins. Therefore, feeders should always be filled with food.
The leading position among the best broiler breeds is Cobb 500.
An important advantage of Cobb 500 broilers is quality and tender meat, which is excellent for dietary nutrition and the rapid growth of young muscle mass. At low feed costs, the bird is remarkably gaining weight and after 34-38 days it can be sent for slaughter. Chicks have excellent survival and good immunity.
But there are some minor flaws - you can’t breed chickens in the usual way. Daily chicks or incubated testicles are purchased only from breeders. Kloshi also have a weak instinct for incubation. Another significant minus is that the breed is very thermophilic, and large resources must be spent on maintaining the desired temperature in the chicken coop. The first 2 weeks, lighting and heat (28-33С) - around the clock, after that 18 hours - daylight hours with a temperature of 26-30 degrees. But, no matter what - growing this breed is almost a win-win option.
If you provide your chicken stock with a rich diet and quality care, in a few months you will be able to have not only egg products, but also popular meat products.