Healthy, well-hatched, vigorous chicks come from good parent stock, free from disease and infection.
Improper environment and unsatisfactory brooding conditions not only affect the chick during the brooding period but the results of these unsatisfactory conditions are apparent throughout the entire life of the bird.
The greatest single cause of chicks losses during the brooder period comes from the birds being exposed to too high a temperature in the brooder room and then getting out away from that high temperature and being chilled. This situation is often brought about due to the fluctuation in the brooded temperature because of the change in the outside temperature.
It is good practice to have ½ sq. ft. per chick in brooder room; ¾ to 1 sq. ft. per turkey.
It is important that the litter be kept dry. This can be accomplished by providing good ventilation.
In order to keep the chicks from getting too far away from the brooder heat, it is necessary to put a circle of cardboard which will serve as a fence around the brooder about two feet away from the edge. This fence should be about 18 inches high.
Each day the circle may be enlarged by a foot or two in diameter on the fifth or sixth day it may be removed entirely so that the chicks can have the run of the room.
If chicks crowd together at the center of the brooder and
tend to pile, it is an indication of not enough heat. Increase the
temperature slightly until they spread out properly. Be sure to check
accuracy of the thermometer.
Baby chicks require lots of room for brooding, one half square foot of floor area per chick. They need lots of fresh air. It is advisable to ventilate the brooder room.
If windows are used for ventilation do not be afraid to have the windows open as long as they do not create a strong draft on the floor.
The best way to ventilate a brooder room with windows is to use the type, which hinge at the bottom and tilt into the room towards the ceiling.
To have windows on only one side of the room is not sufficient. There should be openings on both sides of the room so that you get a definite cross movement of air. All air coming into the room should be directed towards the ceiling.
If the room is closed up too tight so that the circulation of air through the room is nil then the moisture may make the litter soggy. The remedy - - remove the wet litter and put down fresh and provide better ventilation in the brooder house.
If it is not possible to obtain satisfactory ventilation through the openings provided in the room it may be necessary to install a forced ventilator system. This will provide a continuous and constant flow of air through the room and will not create a floor draft.
The floor under the brooder should be of sufficient thickness to conserve the heat given off by the brooder. Where the floor is up off the ground the space between the floor and the ground should be closed tight to prevent the wind and drafts from cooling the floor too much.
In brooder houses which have only one thickness of board flooring it is advisable to add insulation in order to maintain a proper brooding temperature on the floor.
It is important to have plenty of feed troughs, about one inch of trough length for each bird, and one water fount for about every 80 chicks, more for poults.