House preparation and arrival of chicks
Cleaning and disinfection procedure
- 1. Do not proceed to the next step until the previous step has been completed.
- 2. Clean the area outside the house, storage and service areas, water lines and ventilation system.
- 3. Provide staﬀ with adequate protection and clothing: masks, gloves, etc.
- 4. Maintain the cleaning equipment regularly.
- 5. Pests are under control and you have an active Pest Control Program ready before the chicks arrive.
- 6. Be sure that there is no disinfectant or insecticide residue left by the chick housing time.
Cage rearing preparation | Cage Rearing system | Checklist before chick arrive
- 1. Ensure a uniform temperature inside the house.
- 2. Check the time clock settings and light dimmer settings.
- 3. Check automatic water and feed systems for correct settings and uniform distribution.
- 4. Trigger nipples and cups to ensure they are working correctly and also to help stimulate the birds to drink.
- 5. Coordinate time of arrival with the hatchery and conﬁrm the number and condition of the delivered chicks.
- 6. Check light intensity with a luxometer.
- 7. Ensure adequate numbers of trained staﬀ will be on-site for the delivery and unloading.
Chick Housing Key Points
- Ensure a uniform temperature inside the house.
- Ensure the house has been cleaned and disinfected correctly before chicks arrive.
- Preheat the house to the correct temperature: Always test at chick level.
- Observe stocking density recommendations and adapt drinking and feeding systems to the brooding period.
- House the chicks quickly so they can access water and feed.
- Take the time to inspect the chicks for body temperature and quality.
Brooding (1-21 days)
Housing the birds
- Place the smallest chicks in the warmest areas or cages.
- Place the youngest chicks in the warmest areas or cages (if the flock is arriving over several days).
- Avoid placing chicks in very hot spots (near the heaters) or in very cold spots during the first 10 days.
Check list for bird evaluation
- Check their distribution
- Check their activity
- Check the water and feed intake
- Check the sound they are making
- Check if they look comfortable!
- Focus on water, feed, light intensity, air temperature and humidity during the first week.
- Check chick behaviour to enable better settings of the brooding conditions.
- Implement an intermittent light program if possible.
- Perform beak treatment properly and apply special management immediately after treatment.
Growing (3-9 weeks)
- Implement the lighting program according to your house conditions.
- Never allow day length to increase during the rearing period.
- Achieve the required body weight at weeks 5 and 6 of age.
- Provide enough feeder/drinker space as soon as possible.
- Follow the feathering and natural molting time-line to monitor physiological development.
- Provide some alfalfa/Lucerne in ﬂoor rearing during this period.
Rearing period (9-15 weeks)
- Ensure body weight gain and correct development by maintaining feed consumption.
- Train hens to develop a good feed intake capacity by working with diluted feed and adapted feeding times.
- Remove non-productive birds from the ﬂock.
Transfer (15 -18 Weeks)
Key Points before
- It is good management practice to visit the pullets several times during the rearing period.
- Complete the vaccination program before transfer.
- Where possible do not administer vaccine during the transport or in the catching process.
- Transfer the birds at least two weeks before the onset of lay.
- Only transfer ﬂocks that are healthy and in good condition.
- Plan transport in advance and organize it well to ensure optimal comfort for the birds.
Key Points during and after
- Avoid transferring ﬂocks during high temperatures. Transport by night if necessary.
- Monitor the body weight before and after transfer to guarantee that the ﬂock is
- Closely monitor water consumption during the week after arrival at the laying house.
Onset of production (18-25 weeks)
- Monitor how well the ﬂock has adapted to the laying house by measuring water and feed
consumption daily and body weight weekly.
- Control the onset of lay and egg weight by correctly applying light stimulation.
- Never decrease day length in the production period.
- Closely monitor the increase in egg production, egg weight, body weight, feed and water consumption during the weeks preceding the production peak. If the ﬂock is not performing correctly, take corrective measures as soon as possible.
Production period (25 – 100 Weeks)
- Ensure a gain in body weight and correct development to maintain egg production.
- Correct management of feed distribution and feeding times.
- Monitor body weight and feather covering.
- Monitor production outputs to enable corrective measures as soon as possible.
- Monitor feed and water int
Late production (Up to> 75 weeks)
- When keeping hens for a longer lay-cycle, be proactive at an early age.
- Poor eggshell quality is a major cause for lower saleable eggs output in the late production period. Take corrective measures in advance.
- Avoid immunosuppression by avoiding mycotoxins, stress or poor nutrition.
- A healthy liver oﬀers excellent egg production. Take care of it.
- Good gut health is needed to properly assimilate the nutrients, pay attention to it.
- Temperature has a critical impact and must be well managed to achieve good
- In warm weather, take corrective measures to reduce the impact of temperature.
- Water is a key nutrient. Ensure that a good quality water supply is accessible to the hens.
- Maintain good air quality and distribution through correct ventilation.
- Remember that light significantly impacts hen behaviour.
- Health is vital to achieve the bird’s full genetic potential. Act before diseases become a limiting factor for your birds performance!
- Implement a real biosecurity program, not a paper biosecurity program.
- Adapt the vaccine program to your epidemiological situation.
- Administer vaccines according to the manufacturers’ instructions. No vaccine program will work if vaccines are administered incorrectly.
- Monitor flock serology to verify the efiectiveness of your vaccination program.