Brooding management in chicks

Dr. Ebibeni Ngullie, Dr. Mahak Singh and Dr. Limasela
ICAR Nagaland Centre


Management with due care of newly hatched chicks till 4-6 weeks of age is known as brooding. There are two types



Artificial brooding

• Artificial heating is very much essential to provide right temperature in the brooder house. Too high or too low a temperature slows down growth and causes mortality. During the first week the temperature should be 95oF (350C) which may reduce by 50F (150C) per week during each successive week till temperature reaches 70oF (210C) in 6 weeks.


• Electrical heater or kerosene lamp can be used for heating the brooder house. Bukharies with burning of woods charcoal or saw dust are useful in remote areas where availability of electricity, gas or kerosene is limited. Heat source of 2 watts/chick is adequate upto 6 weeks of age.

• The movement of chicks near the heat source can be restricted with the help of chick guard. Generally, cardboard or reusable metallic guards of 15-18 inches height placed in circular manner at a distance of 3 feet away from the edge of the hover.

• All removable equipments like feeders, waters and hovers should be removed from the house, cleaned and disinfected. All litters are to be scraped and removed. Overnight fumigation of house must be done 24 hours before housing chicks and should be ventilated at least for 3-4 hours to remove traces of poisonous gas.

• Place the chick guard of one feet height in a circular manner one foot away from the brooder. Suitable litter material like saw dust and paddy husk should be spread at a depth of 10-12 cm. For the first 7 to 10 days old newspapers is required to spread over the litter material in order to prevent the chicks to eat the litter material and starter feed mash or maize grit may be sprinkled over it. About 50-60 cm2 space/chick under brooder is recommended.


Thumb Rule: Always remove brooders when external temperature is equal to the brooder temperature
The correct temperature of brooder is known by the behavior of the chicks. When the chicks are comfortable, they will spread out evenly under the hover of the brooder (Fig. C). If the hover temperature is too low (fig. A) the chicks will huddle together under hover whereas when the brooder temperature is high (fig. B) they tend to move away from the hover. The brooder should be started 24 hrs before arrival of the chicks

Induct chicks: While placing chicks in the brooder, select only the healthy chicks. Count the number of chicks to be placed to ensure proper stocking density



Management of chicks in the Brooder:

1. Adjust temperature as per the requirement of the chicks
2. Keep the litter dry
3. Provide clean and fresh water
4. Provide balanced standard mash
5. Daily inspect the condition of the birds for any sort of abnormality
6. Remove dead chicks if any from the brooder room
7. Remove littered newspaper and alert chicks periodically
8. provide adequate light continuously during the first two days
9. Follow a regular vaccination programme


Feeder and waterer arrangement in floor brooding
Waters for day old chicks should be conveniently placed close to the hover and alternatively to feeders. 2 cm of water space per bird is recommended. Feeder space of 2.5 cm upto 2 weeks and 5.0 cm upto 6 weeks is recommended. Height of the drinker and feeder need to be adjusted according to the chick height.