What are growers?
Growers are birds or small chicks which have been artificially brooded using an artificial brooder.
Rearing of growers is the most difficult practice to the farmer since you will have the sleepless night to make sure the brooder broods 90% of the eggs. Slight mistakes may lead all the eggs not being hatched and that will be a waste of time and also waste of resources as money and electricity.
Before we look into the whole process about rearing of growers lets first look into how a farmer should take the process of brooding in the artificial brooder.
The farmer should make sure he cleans the eggs before placing them in the brooder. He should also make sure the eggs are placed at a slanting position and use a flash light to look for cracks in the eggs. Eggs with cracks should not be placed in the brooder.
The temperature in the brooder should also be maintained, the brooder should not be opened every time and the trays inside should be clean.
What are the requirements in an artificial brooder?
The floor of the brooder should always be kept clean and dry from moisture. This process can be achieved by spreading saw dust on the floor as it absorbs most of the moisture found in the brooder.
Feeding points (feeders) – the feeding points should be clean and a little raised where the chicks cannot easily step on the feeds and defecate.
Water points – these places should always be clean, you can use droppers where they will strain a little bit before drinking the water, and the drops should drop directly from the source down to the chicks. These chicks should not be able to perch on the drinking water.
- Heat source
The brooder should be kept warm to avoid the chicks from dying. A burning hot charcoal jiko should be placed in different places in the brooder. It should not be placed in one place since the chicks can over crowd in one place and kill each other.
- Fresh air
The brooder should be well ventilated to allow fresh air to enter in to the brooder. The windows should build with a wire mesh.
- Shape of the brooder
The shape of the brooder should be rounded and not a sharp corner. A rounded corner discourages overcrowding; when the chicks crowd in a corner they can mount on each other hence causing the death to the ones being mounted on.
There are improvised light bulbs built for this purpose since they are not so bright and they provide light to the brooder at the same time.
Brooder management practices
These are some of the practices a farmer should routinely do in the brooder for maximum growth of the chicks to maturity for maximum profits.
The growers should be fed on a balanced diet; 120 grams of chick mash that contains 15 to 19 percentage crude protein, vitamins and other vital traces of nutrients. The feeds should be added a bit of grains and greens that should help the chicks make lot exercise, the greens should be tied a little higher from the ground where the chicks could get to but make exercise while jumping to reach it.
At about 140 days introduce oyster shells to the chicks’ diet, the oyster shells provides enough calcium which is necessary for hard egg shell formation.
Clean water should be provided in the brooder since growers take a lot of water. Dirtied water should be replaced daily to avoid infections from contaminated. The chicks should not perch or step in the water. Vaccines can also be administered through these water points, this way simpler than vaccinating each head single handedly using a needle and a syringe.
- Disease and parasite control
The first point a farmer should be aware of is that chicks should always be vaccinated against diseases early in advance since some diseases when they strike there is no cure. But there is prevention.
At the age of 130 to 140th the farmer should be able to administer a booster vaccine to vaccinate against Newcastle and at the age of 126th vaccinate the chicks against fowl pox.
Always remember to drench the birds to remove internal worms for outside parasites dust the birds with an appropriate pesticides to control pests like lice and others.
The brooder should have strong walls to protect the birds from predators such mongoose.
Feeders and water drinking points should be cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis. At the entrance of the door to the brooder, the farmer should place water with chemicals so as when one wants to enter in to the brooder he should step on the water to avoid carrying diseases from the outside inside the brooder.
- Keep the litter dry by turning it regularly upside down. Also provide a spacious floor per bird.