Basic Husbandry for Commercial Broilers


Factsheet - ISSN 1198-712X   -   Copyright Queen's Printer for Ontario
Agdex#: 452
Publication Date: October 2013
Order#: 13-069
Last Reviewed: October 2013
History: Replaces OMAF Factsheet Basic Husbandry for Broilers, Order No. 93-035
Written by: Al Dam - Poultry Specialist/OMAF and MRA Guelph;Kathleen Taylor - Poultry Research Technician/OMAF and MRA, Guelph

The tables in this Factsheet provide basic husbandry information for commercial broilers. Proper care and management of birds and their environment result in fewer mortalities and improved production. Additional information on poultry production can be found at ontario.ca/livestock.

Table 1. Fan Dimensions

Fan Diameter (in.) Range of Airflow (CFM) all airflows measured at 0.10 in.static pressure Average Airflow(CFM) all airflows measured at 0.10 in. static pressure
12
1,400 - 1,800
1,600
14
1,900 - 2,200
2,050
16
2,500 - 3,000
2,750
18
3,000 - 5,000
3,500
20-22
5,000 - 7,000
4,000
24-26
5,000 - 7,000
6,000
36
8,000 - 12,000
10,000
48
18,000 - 22,000
20,000
50
19,000 - 27,000
23,500

CFM = cubic feet per minute

Source: Agricultural fan performance test results from Bio-Environmental Structural Systems (BESS) labs at the University of Illinois.

Table 2. Minimum ventilation rates for broilers

Age (days) CFM/bird
1-7
0.094
8-14
0.25
15-21
0.35
22-28
0.49
29-35
0.55
36-42
0.69
43-49
0.79
50-56
0.89

CFM = cubic feet per minute

Adapted from Ross Broiler Manual, 2009.

Values in this Factsheet are in imperial measurements, reflecting common usage in the ventilation industry.

Table 3. Basic Husbandry Guidelines for Broiler Breeders

Criteria Brooding Grow out Troubleshooting Checklist
Air Temperature (at bird height)

Day-old: 30°C

Two days to 27 days old: Decrease by 1°C every 3 days until 20°C.

Balance relative humidity vs. dry bulb temperature when assessing air temperature.

 

20°C until slaughter.

Balance relative humidity vs. dry bulb temperature when assessing air temperature.

 

Too high: pasty cloacas, frequent wing spreading/flapping, panting, crowding away from heat source, listless, no peeping

Too low: feather ruffling, rigid posture, huddling and piling near heat source, trembling, vocal distress

Relative Humidity
60-70%

Too low: dehydrated, dusty

Too high: damp litter, high ammonia

Ventilation

See Table 1 and Table 2.

Approximately one air exchange per minute for maximum ventilation.

Maximum floor air speed when chicks are young: 0.15 m/sec.

Poor: high ammonia levels, areas caked in litter, uneven distribution of birds throughout pens
Ammonia

Maximum of 25 ppm (parts per million)

>10 ppm: damage to lung surface

>20 ppm: increased respiratory issues, human eyes affected

>50 ppm: reduced growth rate

Too high: higher incidence of breast blisters and respiratory problems, blindness, reduced growth rate

Lighting

 

Intensity

0-7 days: 30-40 lux (light period),

<0.4 lux (dark period)

>7 days: 5-10 lux (light period),

<0.4 lux (dark period)

Duration of darkness

0-7 days: 1 hr

>7 days: 4-6 hr

Light entering through inlets, fans and doors can disrupt dark period.

 

Intensity

5-10 lux (light period), <0.4 lux (dark period)

Duration of darkness

4-7 hr

Light entering through inlets, fans and doors can disrupt dark period.

Intensity too high: cannibalism, flighty, nervous behaviour

Intensity too low: poor growth, poor feed conversion

Duration of darkness too short: abnormal feeding/drinking behaviour

 

 

Water

Bell drinkers

6 drinkers/1,000 chicks minimum (40-cm diameter)

Nipple drinkers

12 birds/nipple

Adjust nipple height accordingly as birds age.

Provide additional drinkers when birds are under 4 days of age.

Bell drinkers

8 drinkers/1,000 birds (40-cm diameter)

Nipple drinkers

<3 kg: 12 birds/nipple

>3 kg: 9-10 birds/nipple

Disperse so that every bird should be within 2 m of water source.

 

Not enough drinkers: poor feed intake, poor growth, poor feed conversion

 

Feeders

Paper should cover 25% of brooding area to provide proper feeding area. Spread feed along chick paper to encourage chicks to feed.

1 feeder tray/100 chicks

Pan feeders

45-80 birds/pan

Flat chain/auger

2.5 cm/bird

(40 birds/m of track)

Tube feeders

38-cm diameter

(70 birds/tube)

Not enough feeders: poor feed intake, poor growth, poor feed conversion, more starve-outs, more damage from competition among birds

Density (floor space)

31 kg/m2 (2.88 kg/ft2 )

Lower stocking densities recommended during summer months - 38 kg/m2 for better welfare.

 

 

 

Too dense: feather picking, cannibalism, more injuries, more flip-overs, poor carcass quality, lower feed efficiency

Adapted from Ross Broiler Manual, 2009.

This Factsheet was written by Al Dam, Poultry Specialist, OMAF, Guelph, and Kathleen Taylor, Poultry Research Technician, OMAF, Guelph.


For more information:
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E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca