As interesting and profiting it is to raise broilers, it could turn out to be a disaster and wasted investment if you do not take into consideration the things that can bring your business crashing down, leaving you to your loss.
You could lose all or most of your chicken if you do not have adequate knowledge and direction on how to raise healthy broilers.
In this article, I’ll educate you on seven factors you most certainly want to look out for in order to keep your chicken broiler business booming!
Factors Affecting Chicken Broilers Longevity
1. Poor Management
The center of any business failure is the inability of the businessman/woman to manage the business and handle pressing matters.
Venturing into a business you have little or no experience in and management skills are very likely to end in catastrophe. Poor management generally will affect the longevity of chicken Broilers. Be a good manager!
In our article on “10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Broilers”, I stated that broilers grow fast quickly when fed with a lot of feed. They could eat and eat and just eat as long as the feed is available and the lights are on. This ability to consume a lot of feed makes them grow big quickly till they get overweight. They put on a lot of chicken breasts and legs. They could develop heart issues or break their legs because of their weight. The organs of these heavy meats get congested making them more prone to diseases that can terminate them.
If you are intentionally boosting their growth, then they should be slaughtered as early as 7 or 8 weeks old. But if you intend to keep them longer, it’s clearly not achievable as they could breakdown or get diseased at any time. And you want to avoid that.
How to tackle poor feed management
Relieving enough, it is possible to keep the weight of these crazy fast-growing birds in check. Of you plan to keep your broilers for a longer period of time, probably for the purpose of laying eggs, then you must curb their feeding rate. You can do this by reckoning the amount of feed given to them. So instead of the usual growth-boosting amount of feed, measure the amount.
You can also practice ‘skip-a-day’ feeding. You can make them miss their meal for a day once every week. You could do this for 4 or 5 weeks, it will help a great deal in checking their weight.
Also, you can try practicing intermittent lighting in the chicken house. That is keeping the lights on for a few hours every day, which could be 6 hours. They can’t eat when the lights are off. This will help to prevent excess feeding.
N/B: It is important that you do not practice restricted feeding for too long.
Sometimes give them a break and let them regain their lost weight. This will prevent them from having a noticeable poor weight when they get older.
2. High stocking density:
Crowding your broilers in a brooder or cage will make them stressed. They won’t have free movement and won’t feed and drink comfortably. It is also a risk to the health of other chickens if any of them get sick. It could spread unto the others before you even notice.
Crowded housing condition will stress your chickens and affect their growth thereby shortening their lifespan.
How to avoid high stocking density
Your broilers should have enough space since that they do not pile up, suffocate or injured themselves, especially the young ones. Stocking a smaller number of broilers in the brooder will help to reduce challenges
In the brooder, a chick will need a space of about 6 square inches while larger broilers need space up to 70 to 75 square. So you do the calculation and give your broilers the ultimate comfort they deserve!
3. Poor litter management:
In the poultry house, your chicken’s bedding is the litter. If the condition of the litter is poor, it will affect the chicken’s intestinal health. Too dry and dusty litter is not good and wet litter will breed bacteria.
How to Keep Litter in Good Condition
The type of material used for the litter, it’s quality and water quality should be okay. Avoid wet litter, it is not hygienic and will serve as a breeder for pathogens like bacteria and viruses which will destroy their intestinal health. Manage litter moisture effectively.
Also, to prevent respiratory problems for your broilers, litter should not be too dry and dusty. Poor litter condition could lead to death.
4. Poor water management:
Water is essential for every living thing. Do not focus on giving your broilers just feed but ensure that their water intake is balanced. Broilers need enough water and when their water intake is not enhanced, it leaves them dehydrated and prone to flock health issues. It will also affect the intake of feed.
Also, consuming so much water will encourage frequent urination which will increment wet litter situation. It can also affect their gut by decreasing its effectiveness and making the chicken more susceptible to dysbacteriosis.
Another important thing is the sanity of the drinkers/regulators. Poor maintenance of drinking equipment will pose a threat to the chickens’ health. Also, poor water quality will make them open to viral and bacterial infections.
All these factors can affect the performance and longevity of your broilers.
What to do
Ensure the drinkers are clean and the drinking equipments are in good condition. And efficient drinker system should be used. Closed-nipple drinker system is better than the open one. It is said to be more hygienic because it is closed and the water will not be easily polluted.
Water quality and temperature should be managed. The water has to maintain a cool temperature. Choose the right cooking system dor your broilers.
Finally, ensure that there is sufficient supply of water for your broilers. Feeding them a wet mash is also a good way to keep them hydrated.
5. Poor environmental condition:
Broiler chicks do not have the capacity to properly respond to low temperature. This is because they are warm-blooded animals. The environmental temperature matters.
Within the first week of brooding, if the room temperature is below 25°C, the chicks will have produce energy to keep warm. This can lead to an increased blood pressure, demanding for oxygen. That, can cause sudden death of the chicks.
Other factors like relative humidity, lighting, and ventilation if not managed properly will affect the comfort and longevity of the broilers.
What to do
Ensuring general conducive environment for your broilers will enhance their performance. The temperature of broiler chicks should be between 40 and 42°C. Proper lighting and ventilation should be ensured as well.
6. High mortality rate:
A high mortality rate on broilers can lead to sudden death. The mortality rate is usually higher in chicks within the first two-three weeks of their life. This is because they are immature and open to disease. So you must ensure that your chicks are properly vaccinated to reduce the risk of diseases.
Cull diseased birds immediately by separating them from the rest of the flock. This will help to lower mortality in other chickens.