Effective initial chick handling is proven to lead to efficient production results, with constant improvement in quality, such as healthy growth rate, meat yield, viability, and robustness. To discuss the matter, Aviagen Latin America promoted, in May, a meeting with its clients in the region, to address the critical management points that must be taken into consideration during the first 14 days of a bird’s life, to guarantee a good performance, health, and well-being. The online event featured a presentation by Santiago Lovera, Aviagen Technical Services Manager for South America, except Brazil (SAEB).
Aviagen specialist highlights how proper initial handling is essential to achieve a good result after 14 days
“If we have weight and growth as our objective, we must bear in mind that, to achieve these rates also in the initial development, it is necessary to control the consumption of food and water, which will be directly reflected in the final result. In addition to the food and water, it is necessary to pay attention to the temperature, so that the chick has thermal comfort, space in the housing – so that it does not need to make so much effort to access the food – and that it has high intensity of lighting, favoring the initial consumption, as well as having adequate human resources to handle the animals during the first weeks ”, explains Lovera.
Good initial handling and the final result
Correct initial handling is essential to achieve a good result after 14 days and at the end of production. The gains with an excellent result can be reflected, mainly, in the reduction of diseases and in the quality of the chicken meat produced.
“In addition, there is an economic benefit, when we have an adequate initial management, which results in birds with greater weight, fewer days of rearing, better feed conversion and better quality of meat”, highlights the manager.
Also, according to Lovera, one of the keys to achieving success is to have a good sanitary vacuum, that is, a correct rest time between batches, so that all the necessary tasks can be carried out so that the next chick housed is in an environment with the lowest bacterial load and as healthy as possible. A good initial quality of the baby, a period that corresponds from the breeder to the hatchery, with excellent initial management, will give the chick the possibility of achieving the best final results.
Regarding the sanitary vacuum time, it has been suggested that it be greater than 15 days and start with correct planning. As pest control, cleaning, composting the bed, cleaning nipples, tanks, and silos, as well as maintenance of the area and equipment. For the treatment of the litter it is recommended to do it for at least seven days so that a correct temperature is reached, sanitization and fermentation, thus it is possible to reduce the sanitary risks that can compromise the next batch.
Why is chicks’ quality so important?
It is necessary that the entire production process is started under ideal conditions, the life of a broiler chicken begins on the 1st day on the farm. “If we start with a chick of excellent quality, it will have advantages far superior to those that were subjected to low quality,” says the veterinarian.
Next, the specialist details some actions to have a quality chick:
In the hatchery:
- Average incubation time 508-510 hours;
- Adapt the temperature and humidity profiles;
- Egg moisture loss (10.5 – 12.5% in 18 days).
In the transport:
- Proper transportation (24-25 ° C 50-60 RH% – relative humidity);
- Temperature inside the box between 31 and 32 oC; for the baby between 39.5 and 40.5oC;
- Minimum ventilation of 0.71 m3 / 1000 babies;
- Long trips are a problem; It is necessary to avoid dehydration;
- Qualified drivers.
- A quality chick is a hydrated, attentive, active animal, with a healthy belly button, a temperature between 39 and 40.5oC, a yield between 67-68%, and a residual yolk of 10%. Regarding the water supply, the drink must be fresh and drinkable, have a pH between 5 and 7, and must be chlorinated between 3 and 5 ppm, and have an oxy-reduction potential (ORP – Oxidation Reduction Potential-) greater than 650 mV.
Attention in handling must be redoubled to guarantee a good availability of water for the chicks, controlling the pressure and height of the nipples by age. Avoid waste and unnecessary water spills, so that the humidity of the litter and ammonia is properly controlled.
Regarding food: the food must be made with quality raw materials, with good manufacturing practices, and follow the specifications and recommendations of Aviagen for each of its lines. The physical form of the food, according to each age, is very important so that it has a good acceptance by the chick, cover 80% of the floor with paper, keep the feeders filled with food that initially has a physical form of 1.5 to 2.5 mm.
In general, it is necessary to have quality babies so that all the chickens on the farm develop equally and have the same possibilities. Encouraging and controlling the initial consumption, both of water and food, is to guarantee that these animals have good intestinal health.
“In handling it is important to pay attention to phase transitions, avoid heat stress, control relative humidity with adequate minimum ventilation, always observe the behavior of the birds and constantly train the farm’s human resources”, ends the Aviagen manager.
Since 1923, Aviagen® has been the global poultry genetics company of choice with a mission to help its customers – the world’s chicken meat producers – supply sustainable, accessible, and nutritious protein for their growing communities. By putting into practice its corporate value of “Sustainable Breeding,” Aviagen implements efficiencies that make commercial chicken production environmentally and socially responsible and economically beneficial for producers, while at the same time promoting the performance, health, and welfare of the bird.
To meet various market requirements, Aviagen offers a complete portfolio of breeders, under the Arbor Acres®, Indian River®, and Ross® brands. The Rowan Range® and Specialty Males® brands target slow growth and other niche market needs. Aviagen is based in Huntsville, Alabama, United States, with operations throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, Turkey, Latin America, India, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and the United States, in addition to joint ventures in Asia. The company employs around 8,000 people and serves clients in 100 countries.
For more information, please visit Aviagen.com, or follow Aviagen on LinkedIn.
Aviagen and the Aviagen logo are trademarks of Aviagen in the US and other countries. All other trademarks have been registered by their respective owners.
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