June 28, 2017

What is Brooding

            Brooding is a period immediately after the hatch when special care and attention is given to chicks to support their health and survival. A recently hatched chick has not yet developed their own mechanism to regulate its own body temperature hence, it cannot maintain its body temperature properly for the first weeks and It is subject to chilling in the winter season when extra heat is not provided from externally; therefore the chicks will not take required feeds and water and this will  decrease the growth and improper development of internal organs, responsible for digestion, thus the chick will not be able to digest the yolk completely.


Brooding is classified into natural and artificial brooding. In today’s time, artificial brooding practices are the most prevalent which is only practiced by a farmer. Now a day for Broiler management during the first week of life the brooding operation is followed. Depending upon the season, brooding practices vary in tropical countries where large conventional open housing is normally practiced. Winter – Use 1/3 area of the house for brooding. Summer – Use 1/2 area of the house for brooding.


Various industrial events are now organised in Kenya which bring forward different management practices and technologies related to Brooding Management.

Characteristic of Brooder Guard

  • Make the guards from material, which can be properly sterilised or Plastic which is cheaper
  • Helps in preventing chilling and piling
  • Height of Guard should be approximately 16 inches to 18 inches
  • Guards will ensure chicks stay near the source of heat


Location & Direction of Brooder House:

The brooder house must be away from the all other poultry house. The minimum distance between brooder house and other poultry structure is minimum 100 meter, the construction of brooder house in such a direction that the fresh air should first enter in to the brooder house than it passes from other house. Farmer have to construct a poultry house in such a direction that sunlight directly not enter in to the poultry house so, house should be constructed in East to west direction so we may get the advantage of ventilation from north to south.


Preparation of Brooder House: Brooder house should be ready for the chicks before they are put in house. First the brooder house should be scrubbed and cleaned at least one week before the chicks arrive in brooder house. If old litter present in brooder house than first removed and clean all the required equipment with disinfected solution. When house and equipment are properly cleaned, the house should be allowed to dry out thoroughly. If house is air tight than better to fumigate brooder house and equipment using a three times higher concentration of formaldehyde gas. Normally for the fumigation take a two part of Formalin and one part of potassium permanganate. When two compound mixed together the fume will be generated and that fume will destroy the microbes present in brooder house e.g. 35 ml of formalin and 17.5 gm potassium permanganate is sufficient to disinfect 2.83m3 space which is known as 1X fumigation, but for fumigation we have to remember one thing in our mind that always add potassium permanganate in formalin.

If we are using deep litter system of rearing litter materials like paddy husk, wood savings, ground maize cob, chopped straw, saw dust, groundnut shell, dried crushed sugar can pulp etc. Mostly the litter materials are selected based on the locally availability and cost. Spread the litter materials to a depth of 6 – 9 cm in winter season and 3 – 4 cm in summer season for better insulation. For the first few day spread a simple paper or news paper on litter materials along with sprinkle feed or ground maize grit. This will help to avoid the chicks eating the litter materials. After 3 days removed the paper and evenly distribute feeder and waterers around the brooder. The brooder switched on at least 24 hours before the chicks arrive. If we are using the hanging feeder in the brooder houses than provide three hanging feeder of 36 cm diameter with 12 kg capacity are enough to rear 100 chicks in brooder house.


Brooder House Temperature:

Adjust the electric brooder for 24 hours before the arrival of chicks and adjust the temperature to 95°F (35°C) at the edge of the brooder 2 inches (5cm) above the litter during the first week. Lower the temperature by 5°F (2.8°C) each week until it reaches 70°F. A temperature of 21°C appears to be ideal during growing period. Too low or too high temperature will cause poor growth rate and ultimately poor performance of birds. The pattern of bedding down of chicks under electric hovers is shown in Fig. A (Ideal). At low temperature, chicks will try to huddle below the light source in Fig. B. At high temperature the chicks will try to huddle around the chick guard in Fig. C.

A. Right Temperature                       B.   Less Temperature                  C.  More Temperature


Ventilation: Fresh air is required for well being and good health of chicks. Poor ventilation results in accumulation of carbon monoxide, ammonia and wet litter condition in brooder house. If concentration of carbon monoxide higher than 0.01 percent it will poisonous to chicks. Ammonia irritates the eyes of chicks and retards growth. The level of ammonia should be less than 10 PPM. Coccidiosis is result from high amount of moisture in litter


Space: 4560 sq cm space is enough per chicks in electric brooder for first week than for broiler birds 1 sq foot space/bird is enough to rear but if space is not a problem than we may provide 1.5 sq foot space/bird is better to get more growth in broiler birds.


Lighting: Majority of Broiler farmer provide a 23 hour photoperiod and one hour darkness in young stock is advantageous over the continues lighting as the former allows maximum growth while giving the birds some experience of darkness so that they are less apt to panic during electricity failure. Light effect on growth rate is mainly due to the type of chick activity which has a bearing on their food intake induced by the period of lighting


Vaccination: Only three vaccines are required in for broiler rearing. Vaccination against Marek’s Disease, New Castle Disease (Ranikhet) and Gumboro Disease are done.


Debeaking: It is help in preventing pecking injuries and cannibalism among chicks. It is carried out during the one day and 6 weeks of age but mostly broiler farmer never cut the beak of birds. Whenever incidence of cannibalism is occur in flock than debeaking operation should carried out with electric debeaking equipment.


Problems occur during brooding operation:

  1. Coccidiosis control – It is the most common disease of poultry at young age. coccidiostats are added to feed in sufficient quantity to suppress the multiplication of oocytes
  2. Stress – Majority of stress is occur when birds are handling during the vaccination and due to that bird are huddle together. To overcome the problem we may increase the brooder temperature to fill birds comfortable or we may add anti stressor compound in water/feed to overcome stress
  3. Inclement Weather – Environmental heat mat create a severe stress although young chicks can tolerate higher temperatures than older birds. When the temperature is more the birds will eat less and drink more water. To overcome this problem increase the feed and water along with an increase in the floor space allowance.
  4. Unabsorbed yolk – High temperature of chicks during the first two days under the brooder also lowers the yolk absorption. Diseases that raise the body temperature prevent utilization of the yolk material in young chicks. Feeding chicks soon after hatching also causes a slower absorption of yolk materials in young chicks.
  5. Mortality Standards – Chick mortality during the first week in the brooder house is higher than any week. Losses during the second week should be slightly less.



In Kenya, there are now various platforms available to have an insight into the poultry and livestock industry. Such industrial events bring together various companies from the worldwide industry to showcase their technology and innovative techniques to develop the industry.


Article Author:

Dr. Yogesh D. Padheriya and Dr. Panna D. Rabari1

Instructional Livestock Farm Complex

College of Veterinary Science & A. H., Navsari Agricultural University, Navsari

Senior Research Fellow, Dept. of VPH, College of Veterinary Science, AAU, Anand

Posted in Poultry