Brooding Healthy Birds – A Pre-Placement Checklist

Chicks are dependent on their environment to survive the early days of life. Because they cannot regulate their own body temperature, they require a warm brood chamber and easy access to food and water.

The down feathers on chicks offer poor insulation and they will quickly lose heat through radiation (to the air), conduction (contact with the floor), and especially to convection(air movement). To keep warm, birds will huddle and eat more, which negatively impacts feed conversion and daily weight gain.

Carbon dioxide (from brooders or furnaces in proper working order), carbon monoxide (from brooders or furnaces NOT in proper working order), and ammonia (from damp, poorly maintained litter) can all cause severe health issues or death. These gases become a problem when the air exchange rate is too low. Minimum ventilation, if done right, provides good air quality at chick height without drafting the birds. Make sure the house is tight and that fans and inlets are in good working order to ensure good air quality for the chicks.

Water is the most necessary nutrient to new chicks. Water restriction in the first few days will negatively impact feed intake and conversion, resulting in low weights. Water lines should be full and available upon arrival to get chicks off to a good start.

Feeding preferences vary from grower to grower. Some prefer paper, others trays or started feeders. The most important thing, regardless of feeder type, is that there is always adequate feed. Couple this with sufficient lighting so they can learn where their food and drink are, and you’ll be off to a healthy, happy start.

Use the pre-placement checklist below to help you prepare.


Pre-placement Checklist: