Late preparation is the undoing of many poultry farmers. When you booked for day old chicks (DOC) without adequate preparations for housing, feeds, feeders, essential drugs.. you have started on a wrong note and it negative effects can be great. Let consider basic reasons and guides against late preparation in broiler production.

A farmer who picks his day old chicks on arrival day and rush to the market to get feed, branch at vet shop to get some essential drugs, stopped somewhere else to get litter materials has started on a wrong note, which will have negative impact on the chicks.

Late preparation is the foundation for failure in broilers production. The entire life cycle of broiler is so brief such that everything must be put in place to attain set target. Commercial broilers are raise to attain 2kg average weight within1-6 weeks, (42 days, 1008 hours). Therefore every hour count in the life of broilers in order to meet up the required/expected weight.

Don’t be taken unaware about the arrival date of your day old chicks. Keep communicating with your hatchery or marketing agent of your day old chicks. We have farmers who were not aware of the arrival date of their day old chicks, suddenly they receive call- come over to pick your chicks and they are confused because they don’t know where to start from – no preparation whatsoever. The effect of late preparation can mark the beginning of failure of a particular batch of birds.


The following are some of the major reasons for late preparation by many farmers:

Lack of foundational practical training

Make sure you go through basic necessary training prior to raising broilers. Get necessary information. You may visit a nearby farm for necessary knowledge and rudiment of broilers rearing.  You may desire to serve without payment. Proper training is your first aid tips in broiler production against possible failure. Go for practical training, not just theory or online training. Don’t order for day old chicks without basic training. It is very important.

Lack of mentorship

Deliberately make someone who has good experience your mentor. Let him know your intention of making him your mentor. He will be your guide. He will show you the essentials and non essentials. Most times newbie pay more attention to the non essentials.

Poor budgeting

A particular farmer called me seeking to sell off some of his two weeks old broilers because he can no longer cope with their feeding. You should find out what is the estimated bag of feeds and other essentials needed for certain number of birds.

1000 broilers will consume about 6 bags (25kg each) of broiler starter feed at week one (cumulative)

1000 broilers will consume about 22 bags (25kg each) of broiler starter feed at week two (cumulative)

1000 broilers will consume about 50 bags (25kg each) of broiler starter feed at week three (cumulative)

1000 broilers will consume about 80 bags (25kg each) of broiler starter feed at week four (cumulative)

Making booking a priority

Booking for day old chicks shouldn’t take a priority over critical factors of production like proper housing, balanced feeds, training, adequate temperature… put in place critical factors of production before booking for day old chicks. Ask you self each time you want to order for day old chicks: am I really ready?

Assumption and procrastination

Never assume a task has been done until you confirm it so. I assume my staff has order for the feed, I assume the pens have been repaired and disinfected… never operate on assumption in broiler rearing. Don’t book for day old chicks until everything is confirm to be ready.

Poor line of communication

Make sure your line of communication is clear and open with your day old chicks’ supplier and farm staff. Know the exact date of arrival of your day old chicks. Day old chicks should be collected in the morning hours. This will limit the stress on your birds.

Basic activities before the arrival of the day old chicks (doc)

These again mark the beginning of your success or failure in poultry enterprise. Ignoring any of this advice could cause great losses to your farm.

Fumigate the brooding house and it surrounding not earlier than 7 days to the arrivals of the chicks.

Fumigation can destroy mosquitoes’ colony thereby saving you the need for fowl pox vaccination in broiler production, most especially where broilers are kept beyond 6 weeks old.

Fumigants have great pungent odor that is highly offensive to all living things. It’s meant to ward off reptiles prior to the arrival of your day old chicks. It’s a necessary activity that should be timely carried out. Don’t carry out fumigation a day to the arrival of your chicks or while your chicks have arrived. If done earlier than 7 days, the remnant of the pungent offensive odor can cause unexplainable mortality among your chicks.

Disinfect the brooding house 3 days to the arrival of the chicks

Use effective but simple disinfectant like ditto or Izah

 Use Knapsack sprayer to spray the wall of the brooding house. You need to do this in order to kill the eggs of any causative agents of diseases in and around the farm. This will break the life cycle of any disease causative agents.

Disinfect all feeders and drinkers 2 days to the arrival of the chicks

 Thoroughly wash all feeders and drinkers, disinfect them and keep them dry and secured. Never rush to disinfect your feeders or drinkers while your chicks have arrived. It is very important that you sun-dry all disinfected drinkers and feeders.

Provide doormat with disinfectant at the entrance of the brooding house and lock it up.

This is very necessary to keep brooding house secured against pathogens. Special shoe should be used while entering the brooding house and keep off unwanted visitors.

 Keep off predators and rodents e.g. Snakes and rats

You may need to poison in and around your brooding house a week to the arrival of your chicks. Don’t carry out any poison after disinfections of pen. Never apply poison while your chicks have arrived because rodents can carry same poison to the feeders through body contact, thereby poison your chicks. This may results to high unexplainable mortality

Get ready your source of heat, water and feeds

Your choice of heat source for proper brooding should be ready. Chicks must meet brooding house with the required room temperature on arrival (37-39OC). Rushing to provide needed temperature while chicks have arrived is not the best practice. Provide clean natural water for your chicks, which should have been served before chicks are release to the brooding room. Avoid chlorine water. Use natural water free from all sorts of chemicals. Use water from well, rain, stream, bore hole… Balanced feeds should have been served in feeds tray before releasing the chicks.


To provide a good beginning for your chicks, you must make sure chicks meet a well lighted brooding pen. This is very necessary because bright lightening is a good stimulator for chicks.

All necessary drugs and multi-vitamins should be bought and kept secure

Don’t begin to rush to vet shop on the arrival date of your chicks, get necessary drugs ready. Use mild antibiotics like neurocyril. Avoid over dose of drugs especially anti biotic to prevent stunted growth of your chicks. You may need to buy sensitive digital scale to measure your drugs in grams.

1 hour preparation to the arrival of the chicks

Spread a cover on the bare floor (litter materials)

 Old newspaper sheets can be of help. Never use sow-dust/wood dust or wood shaven at this age. Using wood shaven will affect free movement of chicks while sow/wood-dust will raise dust which can cause respiratory related diseases. Don’t allow chicks with bare feet on the floor. Litter material keeps them warm on the feet. This will guide against cold related diseases. Don’t use leather or nylon materials as these can cause suffocation of chicks and hinder water absorption and free movement of chicks.

Heat up the brooding room

Use available heat source centrally placed or hang at the centre of the brooding room. Brooding temperature ranges within 37-39 oc. on arrival day. You will need a thermometer to monitor the required heat. Good temperature encourages chicks to eat. Sources of heat include: coal pot, stove, gas, electric brooder. Such must not emit fume or smoke.

Provided necessary lightning

Light up the brooding house. Make sure your chicks meet the brooding house well lighted.

All feeders and drinkers should be set

All feeders and drinkers should be set. Feeders and drinkers should be uniformly distributed in the brooding pen. Quality feed and clean water should be provided before the arrival of chicks. Provide adequate number of feeders and drinkers:

25 day old chicks = 2 feeders, 1 drinker

50 day old chicks = 4 feeders, 2 drinkers

100 day old chicks = 6 feeders, 4 drinkers

Use the above as guide to calculate for higher number of feeders/drinkers during brooding days (1-14 days)

As the chicks arrived (before releasing them on the brooding floor)

Quickly check through the chicks’ box to remove death on arrival chicks. Take record of death on arrival chicks. This should be very low or none at all (this might depends on the number of birds stocked) high mortality (5%) on arrival day should be reported to the hatchery immediately.

For the few hours on the first day of arrival spread some of the feed on the litter directly. This is to allow weak chicks have access to the feed without the stress of climbing the feeders on arrival day.

Gently release chicks from the box and pick off dead on arrival ones. Watch them for about 30 minutes. They are expected to pick feeds immediately. The weak ones should be helped to reach feed and water points. The most challenging period in brooding is the first 14 days. Wood shaven should be used as from the seventh day.

Avoid using the feeding tray beyond 7 days. This will reduce the possibility of infection among chicks because they poop directly into the feeding tray. Therefore as from the seventh days old, change to the use of cyclone galvanized/plastic feeders to prevent infections among your chicks.

Essential drugs on arrival

The following drugs will be of help:

Glucose as anti-stress, antibiotics,(neoceryl) multivitamin. Serve antibiotics in mild form. High dose of antibiotic will cause stunted growth of your chicks.

Guides against late preparation

It’s very important you guide against late preparation in order to give your chicks a good foundation. The following tips will guide you against late preparation.

Establish good line of communication with your hatchery/marketers

Make sure you are informed of the exact date and time when your chicks will arrive. Be punctual at the collection center. Establish a good line of communication with your hatcheries on the expected day of arrival of your day old chicks will help you to make all necessary preparation for the arrival of the chicks.

Make your budget and set target weight

Make adequate plan prior the arrival of your chicks. You are expecting 100 day old chicks; do you have knowledge of the number of bags of feeds required, the number of feeders, drinkers…

Prior to the arrival of your day old chick’s make sure you have made adequate preparation for: Quality & adequate feed, good water, necessary drugs, adequate number of feeders/drinkers, conducive housing, needed implement like shovel and qualified human personnel, When your budget is well outlined, you will not be stressed and you are bound to escape all problems associated with late preparation. Your target weight at a particular week is your goal. For example when planning to achieve 2kg average weight, you will be looking at 5-6 weeks of rearing. To achieve 1kg average weight, you will need about 4 weeks of rearing. To attain 4-5kg average weight, you will be looking at 9-10 weeks of rearing. Setting target weight gives room for proper planning, against possible failure.

Practically get everything set before booking

Make this your principle that you must get everything set up before booking for day old chicks. Get feeds ready, number of drinkers/feeders, needed heat source, drugs, litters materials…

Practice division of labor in your farm and team work

Assign responsibility to individual staff on your farm and monitor it. A certain staff will get feed ready at certain date; another team will fumigate the brooding pen and disinfect feeders and drinkers on a specific date…

Set action plan with deadline/set alarm

Let each staff know his/her responsibility and the deadline of accomplishment. Deal with procrastination. You may need to set up electronic alarm as a reminder of important task.

Reward excellence

Reward staff that performs exceptionally. Reward faithfulness. Appreciate staff who met target goal.

Effects of late preparation

Early mortality

Late preparation could result in early mortality of your chicks. Your chicks will undergo stress if you did not get to the collection centre early. This will leads to dehydration and mortality of chicks. Deaths on arrival are common with late collection of chicks. Always pick your chicks early morning hours. Early mortality is a dangerous signal in broilers production.

Mixed breed

Late arrival to the collection center of day old chicks may make some dubious agent to mix up or exchange your chicks with other undesirable ones thereby you will end up with mixed breeds. You will find it difficult to manage such batch of broilers because there will disparity in growth, response to feeds, treatment… you may also loose extra chicks sent as bonus by your hatchery/marketer.

Poor starting point

Late preparation places your chicks on poor starting point. Every hour counts in the life span of broilers being a table meat.  When broiler chicks don’t meet feeds, water and good temperature on arrival, you have placed them on poor starting point of development.

Poor growth & development

The growth in term of weight gain will be adversely affected from the onset when there is late preparation in feeds/feeding…

2 thoughts on “COMMON ERRORS IN BROILERS REARING 2 – late preparations

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.