Feeding on pre-starter
This is the phase of adaptation, during which the chick must discover everything: water, feed, light.
In the first week, chickens increase body weight and create a base for optimal vitality. Ensure the starter feed include proteins, fats, fibre, calcium and phosphorus.
All the complete feed should be a combination of whole maize, maize bran, mukene, soya beans, sunflower cake and a specialised concentrate.
The chick’s frame and the development of the carcass are important for the length of the laying period. This is also the period when the muscles start to develop.
Development and growth are the main focus in this phase.
Get a feed that enhances the pre-starter and also contains an anti-coccidiostat to prevent mortality due to coccidiosis.
Here, the aim is to increase the muscular volume. The optimal balance between energy sources and protein, particularly amino acids, guarantees optimal stimulation of growth and digestive tract development.
Growth must be controlled and feed intake stimulated in this phase. Maximise feed intake by checking the availability and nutrient value of feed.
After transferring the birds to the laying house at 16 weeks, the birds need time for adaptation.
They need to discover the nests, drinkers and feeders. It is important that most things stay the same.
- Transfer the birds in the early morning
- Provide the same feed in the same kind of feeder as in the rearing period
- Provide the water in the same kind of drinker system
- Maintain hygienic standards in the layer house
To prevent out of nest and floor eggs, broody chickens and dirty eggs, the nests are important
- Provide enough nests (maximum 8-10 hens per nest)
- Place the nests in a quiet area
- If the eggs stay in the nests too long, other hens may sit on them and moult. (A hen in moult stops production for at least six weeks)
- Broody hens will stay on the nests and reduce the nest’s capacity. Reduced capacity increases the risk of floor eggs.
- Taking out the eggs often prevents damaged eggs because of pecking or walking on them.
- The nests must be darker than the darkest spot in the hen house. Partially cover the front of the nests. This prevents cloacae pecking and floor eggs.
- Clean litter in the nests prevents dirty eggs. Clean the litter regularly!
- Provide easy access to the nests.
- Prevent usage of the nests in the afternoon!
- Design drawings of the ideal nests are available.
To increase production, the feed intake must be stimulated. In the rearing period, feeding in blocks may help increase intake capacity.
Points about feeders:
- Use enough feeders, otherwise chickens with a lower rank may not able to eat
- Ensure the chickens always have feed in their crop
- Chickens should have feed available directly after the light turns on
- Ensure the crop is filled before the light turns off
- Do not limit feed intake
- Use feeders with a curved upstanding border. Spilling of feed reduces profit and stimulates pests