How do I prepare a broiler chicken house before the chicks arrive? Ken
After constructing the chicken house and deciding on how many chicks you will stock, make sure that the standard spacing of 11-13 broilers per square metre is respected.
As broilers live close together, the floor should be covered with about six inches of litter (wood shavings) to absorb the droppings. The litter must be kept dry at all times. Remove the litter every month and replace it.
Also make sure that the house is well-ventilated because chicken need a lot of air for breathing.
To ensure good ventilation, construct a shelter whose walls are not more than four feet from the ground. The rest of the upper space should be covered using wire mesh.
You then have to disinfect the house seven to 14 days before the arrival of the chicks. Disinfecting means spraying the shelter with disinfectants such as household bleach.
You also have to clean and disinfect all the equipment — that includes feeders and drinkers.
You must also ensure that you have got enough charcoal to warm the stoves. You need to pick a section of the house and construct a brooder in which the chicks will first be kept.
You are advised to use hard wood or boards. It should be two feet high, the length and breadth depends on the number of chicks stock.
However, each brooder should not hold more than 300 chicks. Three and six hours before the arrival of the chicks, put on the heat to attain a temperature of around 30 degrees Celsius.
You can measure the temperature using a thermometer.
You also need to make a glucose solution in a ratio of 1kg of sugar to 10 litres of water. Glucose re-energises the chicks. Then place the drinkers and feeders around the heat source. On arrival, count the chicks, make sure that all of them have been vaccinated against Newcastle disease and Gumboro, then record the starting number and then put them around the heat source.
You then let them drink water for at least two hours before feeding them.
Give them broiler starter mash and maintain a steady temperature. Each chick consumes between 40 and 50g per day.
As the chicks grow, increase spacing. The brooder can be removed after three weeks and then revert the chicks to the normal heating, since they now have feathers.
Disinfect whoever is visiting the house and keep away all non-essential visitors. Simply put a disinfecting bowl, filled with bleach or any other disinfectant at the entrance.
If well-kept, the broilers should be ready for sale by the seventh to eighth week when they weigh 1.5 to 2.2kg.
Broilers prices range from sh8,000 to sh12,000 depending on the size.