The World Poultry Foundation has developed this Brooding Manual to assist in the proper care and production of healthy dual-purpose chicks.
The first 10 days of a chick’s life are the most important as to organ development and in building a robust immune system. Newly hatched chicks are unable to regulate their body temperature for the first 3 days and must rely on a supplemental heating source to prevent chilling. Chilling of young birds can negatively affect gut development and also result in respiratory problems that can lead to stunting or even death. As the caretaker of the flock, you are assuming the role of the mother hen and the chicks will depend on your care to properly grow into healthy adults.
A brooder unit enterprise is not a hobby and requires a commitment to manage the birds correctly, and to establish and grow a network of small-scale producers to purchase your stock. Data from thousands of farmers has shown that the brooder unit operators who run the enterprise as a business, and are committed to its success, have the highest financial returns. The objective of this manual is to assist you in providing an environment where the chicks are maintained in a zone of comfort and given the attention needed to grow into a healthy and productive bird.
This training manual has been developed to guide and assist in the proper management and care for flock of day-old chicks. It has been formatted in Chapter form to make navigation of the manual user-friendly. Each chapter is designated for a specific management category, although there will be some overlap among the chapters.
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This Brooder Unit Manual could not have been constructed without the financial and moral support of the members of the World Poultry Foundation Board of Directors. WPF would especially like to thank Dr. Scott Gillingham of iChicken for his input and edits to the manuscript and the sharing of pictures for inclusion in this manual. WPF received significant support from Dr. Sainos Manzira of Merck Animal Health on the vaccine chapter and the brooding of chicks. Mr. Shashi Kapur, poultry and business consultant was invaluable in assuring the content of this manual will assist the brooder as well as the small-scale producer to raise the best and healthiest birds possible. WPF staff and grantees also provided helpful on-the-ground feedback and photos of those engaged in dual-purpose bird production. WPF would also like to thank the editor of the manual, Ms. Lisa Schoolcraft, sketch artist Katie Smith, and Strong Studio for their assistance in making this manual easier to read and understand.