Broiler production introduction

Broilers are chickens that are specifically bred and raised for their meat. The goal for any broiler farmer is to successfully raise a day old chick to a market-ready chicken in the shortest amount of time. Within this period the birds will likely meet many challenges that will inhibit their growth and affect their production. This is why broiler production systems require management to have high levels of responsiveness and availability of information. To be a successful broiler farmer at any level, one has to master the day-today management tasks of the broiler’s life. The most significant management task would be FEED. Feed makes up 65-70% of the total cost of production. Therefore, we cannot overemphasize the importance of good quality, well balanced formulated feed for the best possible production results. This is why we at Feedmaster only use quality raw materials, formulated by qualified nutritionists to supply the poultry farmer with a quality solution in the feed.


Typical broiler house
  • Poultry houses should be built with the shortest closed sides in an east to west direction.
  • The house should have side curtains opening from the top to the bottom. This improves ventilation and avoids direct airflow on hens.
  • Houses can be insulated, preventing big fluctuations in temperatures and conserve heat during the night and cool down during the day.
  • Roof overhang should be extended to avoid the hens from being exposed to rain. Gutters can also be used to divert and collect rainwater.
  • Concrete floors are ideal and most hygienic, however expensive. All floors need to be covered in bedding. Ground floors are the cheapest option, least hygienic and difficult to clean, is a bad moisture absorber can contain dangerous viruses and bacteria.
  • Make use of metal and plastic when building. These materials are easy to clean

Placement of chicks

  • Stocking density should be adapted with temperature changes. In the summer the stocking rate (10 birds per m²) would be lower than in the winter (12 birds per m²).
  • The chicken house must be cleaned and disinfected at least 10-12 days before the placement of the new chicks.
  • Pre-heat the floor 2 days before chick placement. (Floor temperature 32˚C)
  • Feed and water should also be placed the day before to ensure that it would be room temperature and available when the chicks are placed.
  • Use paper to cover 50% of the brooding area and place feed on the paper to stimulate intake in the first 24 hours.
  • Weigh some of the chicks to get a starting weight.


Post-placement chick checks

1. Chick-check 1 (4/6 hours after placement): Test the temperature of the feet of the chicks against your cheek. If cold, the pre-heating was not done correctly and the farmer should re-evaluate his pre-heating procedures. Results of cold floor temperature:
    • Poor early feed intake
    • Poor growth
    • Poor uniformity
2. Chick-check (2/24 hours post-placement): This check is called a crop check. The reason for this check is to confirm that the chicks found the placement of feed and water.
    • By this time, a minimum of 95% of the crops should feel soft and pliable,
    • indicating chicks have successfully located feed and water.
    • Hard crop – chicks have not found adequate water. Check the water supply immediately.
    • Swollen and distended crop – chicks have located water but insufficient feed. Check the feed supply immediately.
Daily checks should be made throughout the cycle:
    • Check if there are cold spots and draughts in the house.
    • Check if the ventilation is correct – no build-up of ammonia.
    • Check if the drinkers and feeders are at the correct height and if there are enough of them for the number of birds.
    • Check for wet bedding or too dry bedding.
    • Keep notes of all dead birds removed.


Why brooding?

During the first 14 days, a chick cannot properly control its body temperature. This is why it is so important to manage their environmental temperature. The following would be improved by good brooding practices. The development of the following would be improved by good brooding practices.
1. The skeletal structure.
2. The cardiovascular system.
3. Appetite and water consumption.
4. Health and the immune system.
5. Minimize stress.
All these improvements will help accelerate the rate of growth of the chicks.


Important functions of litter include the ability
    • To absorb moisture.
    • To dilute excreta, thus minimizing bird to manure contact.
    • To provide insulation from cold floor temperatures.

Lighting program and its advantages

    • A period of darkness is a natural requirement for all animals.
    • Better feed conversion because of energy conserved during resting.
    • Reduce mortality rate and skeletal defects.
    • Stimulates the production of melatonin. Melatonin is important in the development of the immune system.

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Temperature management is one of the most important tasks, especially during the brooding period. Because any stress chicks experience during this period, will affect the growth and development in other phases. The optimal temperatures are as follow:
    • Environmental (Air) temperature 32-33˚C
    • Floor temperature 32˚C
    • Directly underneath brooders 40.5˚C


The function of ventilation is not only to supply the chicks with an adequate supply of oxygen, but it also assists with the removal of waste products of growth and combustion from the environment such as:
      • Moisture removal.
      • The provision of oxygen to meet the bird’s metabolic demand.
      • The control of relative humidity.
      • The maintenance of good litter conditions.
Always ensure that there is a supply of fresh air at all times but be careful not to have a cold draft blowing into the house. This will reduce the temperature in the house. Good maintenance of house curtains is crucial, and curtains need to be opening from top to bottom to ensure no cold drafts are blowing over the chicks.

Bird health

Prevention is by far the most economical and best method of disease control. Prevention is best achieved by the implementation of an effective biosecurity program in conjunction with an appropriate vaccination program. Bio-security is a practice designed to prevent the spread of disease into your farm. It is accomplished by maintaining the facility in such a way that there is minimal traffic of biological organisms (viruses, bacteria, rodents, etc.) across its borders. It is the most effective and cheapest means of disease control on the farm. Below are a few key points to a successful bio-security program:
    • Farms should be fenced.
    • Limit non-essential visitors to the farm.
    • Farm supervisors should visit the youngest flocks at the beginning of the day and work by age to the oldest flock for the last visit on that day.
    • Provide wheel dips or wheel spraying facilities at the farm entrance and allow only necessary vehicles on site.
    • Absolutely no other poultry should be kept on the same farm as your broiler unit.
    • The area around the poultry house should be free from vegetation, debris, and unused equipment that could harbor rodents.
    • Adequate downtime between flock placements is essential (10 days).
    • Dispose of dead birds immediately.
    • Footbaths should be placed at every poultry house entrance.


Vaccination is the administration of antigenic material (a vaccine) to stimulate the bird’s immune system, to develop adaptive immunity to a pathogen. That means that it gives the bird’s defense mechanism a “memory” system against that disease. The most common vaccinations given to day-olds are against diseases such as:
    • New Castle disease
    • Infectious Bursal Disease (Gumboro Disease)
    • Infectious Bronchitis
    • ILT

It is very important to

CHECK WITH YOUR CHICK SUPPLIER WHAT VACCINATIONS YOU NEED TO DO! Some hatcheries do carry out vaccinations at the hatchery.


Broiler diets are formulated to provide the energy and nutrients essential for health and efficient broiler production. The basic nutritional components required by the birds are water, amino acids, energy, vitamins, and minerals. Feedmaster provides the following:
    • All our products are specifically formulated to achieve the desired product at a lower cost.
    • All our products are produced in an ISO 22000 accredited plant.
    • All our products are formulated with natural products such as maize and soya, sunflower oil cake, chop, and bran.
    • We don’t include any animal protein sources or animal-derived products into any of our product ranges.
    • We adhere to strict bio-security rules at all times to reduce possible contamination.
The produced feed is put through a rigorous quality control process to confirm the quality before being distributed.

Target weights

It is important to weigh the chicks as they grow. The table below shows the target weights of the Ross 308.

Feedmaster Classic Broiler Range

Ideal for the smaller producer who sells live broilers to the market. It is a cost-effective range with a moderate growth rate.
35 Day Model
42 Day Model
This calculation was based on Ross 308 breeding standards and Feedmaster information. The calculations were also made with a 2% mortality rate in the starter phase and a 5% mortality on 35 days and 7% mortality on 42 days respectively. Remember
    • The amount of feed per bird is an indication, stick to the recommended feeding days indicated on the feeding table.
    • For the first 10 days, feed should be on the pan feeders or paper.
    • From day 2, feed should also be in feeding troughs so that the chicks can learn to eat from it.
    • Do not place feed or water directly under the heat source as this may cause the chicks to eat or drink less than they should.

Water Management

    • To ensure optimum egg quality and overall health, the water supplied to the hens should be of a good standard.
    • Chicks which do not drink enough water will have an inadequate feed intake and bad growth. This effects future egg production ability.
    • Do regular checks to ensure that drinkers are working properly and/or are full.
    • Make sure drinkers are at crop level and the water pressure is correct.
    • When temperatures are high or if birds have health problems, they consume more water to regulate body temperature.
    • Add chlorine tablets to the water to sanitize water, but not during vaccination days
    • Under normal conditions, broilers drink between 250 ml -500 ml of water each day.
    • Do not feed water directly out of a borehole or big tank. Divert water to a smaller catchment tank to help with medicating and vaccination of hens.
    • A 100-liter tank is ideal for a 100 hen setup.

Where do I buy broiler chicks?

DAYOLD CHICKENS NAMIBIA is a distributor of broiler chicks throughout Namibia. Visit to register as a broiler farmer and order your chicks online. You can track your delivery online and confirm your delivery date as per your order. Delivery dates and distribution points would be communicated to the customers per email or by phone. Once you have received the chicks you must release them into the brooding house as soon as possible to minimize stress and prevent mortalities. Feedmaster is responsible for the feed your chicks need to grow, we do not sell the chicks. Contact DAYOLD CHICKENS NAMIBIA Tel. 0833318175 or visit their web site Follow them on Facebook: Dayold-Chickens-Namibia ( Download Guide here

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