Broiler chicks are very frail, especial­ly during the first few weeks of their lives. It is therefore important to have sound management knowledge to keep them healthy.

Moreover, despite the quality of chicks supplied by the hatchery and the ef­ficiency of management, early chick mortalities cannot be avoided entirely on a poultry farm. However, any­thing higher than 5% should be taken seriously. A high mortality rate is an indication of something wrong with the birds, and it demands the poul­try farmer’s immediate intervention and appropriate action to stop further losses as failure to do so may lead to unnecessary losses.

The following are simple and common instructions that are often overlooked by broiler farmers:


Biosecurity refers to management pro­tocols to prevent the introduction and spread of disease/sickness onto a farm or flock. It is an integral management component of any poultry farm.

Strong biosecurity management includes:

  • Control entry of rodents, insects and wild animals.
  • Continuously cleaning and drying all equipment.
  • Ensuring at least 14 days down­time, full pen clean-outs and pen sanitisation between batches.
  • Minimising the number of people visiting the pen/farm.
  • Ensuring workers have clean uni­forms, wear appropriate footwear.
  • When entering chicken pen, work­ers/visitors should wash and sani­tise hands and boots.

Stocking density:

Stocking density affects the following:

  • Flock performance
  • FCR (feed conversional ratio)
  • Growth rate
  • Mortalities
  • Litter quality

Optimal stocking density results in:

Maximum economic returns, however, they depend on the environmental con­ditions, bird management and ventilation capability. Overstocking increases the environmental pressures on broilers and will reduce performance. In general, stocking density should be reduced in hot climates and increased in cold climates. Stocking density determines the final processing weight – poor uni­formity yields poor weight results.

Record keeping

Most farmers do not keep records and claim that they are not necessary. Re­cord keeping assists in determining the effects of changes in the following:

  • Nutrition
  • Management
  • Environment
  • Health status

Accurate production records are essential for effective broiler management

The records should list the following:

  • Daily feed intake
  • Daily water consumption
  • Weekly weight sampling
  • Mortalities
  • Medication usage
  • Temperature readings

A sudden change in feed or water intake can often indicate some form of stress factor, disease, or other management issues. Records should provide a history so that problems can be quickly and easily detected. The more accurate records the farmer keeps, the better he will be able to monitor the performance of each flock.

Six golden rules in broiler-keeping that should not be overlooked

  • Do not use substandard equipment like drinkers, feeders, et cetera, as they increase spillage that leads to huge losses.
  • Take time to observe birds’ behav­iour and movement activities in the pen. This will enable you to notice abnormal behaviour.
  • Use of charcoal during brooding in­creases carbon monoxide pollution in the pen, therefore it is impor­tant to improve the ventilation sys­tem to avoid metabolic disorders such as ascites and flip-overs.
  • Ignorance is no defence, lack of knowledge on how to use antibiot­ics is dangerous and costly. Do not use antibiotics without consulta­tion.
  • Use of cheap and unexperienced manpower is more costly than is thought.
  • Online supervision does not work in livestock farming. The decision-maker (farmer) should be at the production site at all costs.

Act to serve your business, listen to pro­fessional advice to live longer in business.

Contact Given at +260-97-540- 3834, +260-96-793-3658 or for more information.