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Management Of Small Flocks Of Chickens
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00001473/00001
 Material Information
Title: Management Of Small Flocks Of Chickens
Physical Description: Fact Sheet
Creator: Douglas, Carrol
Publisher: University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1992
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Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
Publication Status: Published
General Note: "published June 1992"
General Note: "PS-3"
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Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: IR00001473:00001

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ManagementofSmallFlocksofChickens1 TheInstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciencesisanEqualOpportunity/AffirmativeActionEmployerauthorizedtoprovideresearch,educational informationandotherservicesonlytoindividualsandinstitutionsthatfunctionwithoutregardtorace,color,sex,ornationalorigin. FloridaCooperativeExtensionService/InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences/UniversityofFlorida/JohnT.Woeste,DeanCarrolDouglasandM.D.Ouart2Thesecanbedividedintothefollowingtwo categories: Productionflocks: Smallflockskeptfor productionofmeatand/oreggs.Thesebirds shouldnotbetreatedaspets. Hobbyflocks: Purebredlargefowlorbantam forexhibitionorestheticvalue.Theseshould notbekeptprimarilyforproductionofmeat and/oreggs. Beforestartingahomeflockthefollowing questionsshouldbeanswered: -Dozoninglawspermitkeepingpoultry? -Isthereunusedlaborand,moreimportant,is someonewillingtocareforthebirdsdaily? -Issomeonewillingandabletoprocessthe birdsformeatorprocesstheeggs? -Istherenecessaryhousingandequipment,or willtherebeadditionalexpensesforthese? -Arefacilitiesorproposedfacilitiesdesigned andlocatedtopreventanuisance(noise,fly, odor)foryourfamilyorneighbors? -Doyouhaveafreezer,sothatyoucanmake bestuseofthemeatbirdsyougrow? -Doyouhaveneighborswhowouldliketobuy some"home-produced"eggsorpoultrywhen youhavemorethanyoucanuse?BREEDSOFCHICKENLightWeightEggType (1)WhiteLeghorn(whiteeggs) (2)Leghorn-typecrosses(whiteeggs) MediumWeightEggType (1)RhodeIslandReds(browneggs) (2)Sex-LinkCrosses(browneggs) (3)WhitePlymouthRock(browneggs) (4)BarredPlymouthRock(browneggs) MeatType (1)Broilercrosses Purebred Keptforhobbyandshow.See"American StandardofPerfection"fordescriptionofvarious breeds.SOURCEOFQUALITYCHICKENSBabyChicks (1)Floridahatcheries.Foralistofhatcheries, contactanextensionpoultryspecialist. (2)Areliablefeedstore. Ready-to-laypullets(18-20weeksofage) Itmaybedifficulttoobtainsmallnumbersof ready-to-laypullets.Thebestsourcesareyouthwith 1.ThisdocumentwaspublishedJune1992asFactSheetPS-3,FloridaCooperativeExtensionService.Formoreinformation,contactyourcounty CooperativeExtensionServiceoffice. 2.ExtensionPoultrySpecialist,CooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida,Gainesville.

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ManagementofSmallFlocksofChickens Page2 4-Hpoultryprojectswhooftenhavequalitypullets forsale.ContacttheCountyExtension4-HAgent forpossiblesources. AdultBirds Itisbesttokeeponlyoneagebirdatonetimeon yourproperty.Ifnotpossible,keepyoungandold birdsseparated.Ifadultbirdsareaddedtoyourflock, keepthemseparatedfor14daysbeforeputtingthem inyourflocktoinsurethattheyarediseasefree.INCUBATIONANDHATCHING PROCEDURESForthosedesiringtoproducetheirownhatching eggsandhatchtheirownchicksthefollowingpoints shouldbefollowed.HatchingEggProductionandCare(1)Keep1maleforeach10-12females. (2)Malesshouldbekeptwithfemalesatleast1week priortosavinghatchingeggstoinsurehighegg fertility. (3)Feedacompletediet. (4)Collecteggsatleast3timesperday. (5)Selecteggsforsize,shape,shellcolor,and texture;23-28oz.perdozenarebestforhatching. (6)Storeeggsatatemperatureof55-65degreesF., relativehumidityof70-85%andsetwithin7-10 days.IncubationEssentials(1)Obtainingasmallincubator-Stillairincubator canbepurchasedorconstructed.Smallforced-air self-turningincubatorsarecommerciallyavailable. Fordetailsregardingincubators,incubatorparts and/orconstructionplans,contactanextension poultryspecialistorsee"Incubation,Embryo DevelopmentandDisplay,andBabyChickCare". (2)Properoperatingtemperature-Astillair incubatorrequiresanoperatingtemperatureof 102to103degreesFatapositionlevelwiththe topoftheeggs.Aforceddraft(whichcontainsa fanforcirculatingtheair)incubatorshouldbe operatedat99to100degreesF.Donotplace theincubatorindraftsordirectsunlightwhich maycauseextremefluctuationsintemperature. (3)Sufficienthumidity-Wetbulbreadingof86 degreesF.Forasmallincubator,moisturecanbe addedtotheairbyplacingasmallpanofwater undertheeggtray.Itmaybenecessaryto sprinkletheeggslightlywithwarmwateratthe timeofhatchingtopreventthechicksfrom stickingtotheshell. (4)Turningofeggs-Eggsshouldbeturnedanodd numberoftimesandaminimumofthreetimes eachday.Markeacheggasanaidin determiningthatalleggsareturnedfromone sidetotheotherateachturning.Forself-turning incubation,followmanufacturersinstructions.HOUSINGANDEQUIPMENTForthehomeflock,housesneednotandshould notbeelaborateandexpensive.InmostofFlorida, housingneedonlyconsistofanareacoveredbya roof,tokeepoutthehotsunandrain,andenclosed bywiretoconfinebirdsandexcludepredators. Sidingorplasticmaybeneededforprotectionagainst coldwindsandblowingrain.Dirtfloorsare preferredtoconcreteorwood. Brooderhousesneedtobecloseduptopreserve heatforthefirstfewweeks,however,evensmall chicksneedfreshair.UsesofHouses(1)Brooderhousesholdchicksforthefirstfew weeksorfortheentirelengthofthegrowing period. (2)Broilerorpullethousesarelargebrooderhouses. (3)Layinghouses(floororcage)holdthelayingand breedingflock.FloorSpace(1)Broilersorpullets-1squarefootperchick. (2)Floorlayers-3to4 squarefeetperbird. (3)Cagelayers-60to100squareinchesperbird.

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ManagementofSmallFlocksofChickens Page3Equipment Table1. IncubationPeriodsforDifferentBirds EGGS DAYS Chicken 21 Duck 28 MuscovyDuck 33-35 Turkey 28 Geese(small) 30 Geese(large) 33-34 Guinea 28 BobwhiteQuail 22-24 CoturnixQuail 16-18 Pheasant 21-24 Peafowl 28-30 Pigeon 17-19 Ostrich 40-42 Swans 42Brooders(a)Hover-type-Followmanufacturer'sdirection. Startingtemperatureattheedgeofthehover shouldbe95degreesF.forthefirstweekand reduced5degreesF.eachweek. (b)Heatlamp-Useeitherwhiteorinfra-redheat lamps. (c)Homemadebrooder-Aninexpensivemethodof supplyingheattoafewchicksistoplacea 100-wattlightbulbinsideagallontincanand placethecanonthefloorofthebrooderhouse.ChickguardIncoldweather,useasolidchickguard(18 incheshighmadeofcardboardorsheetmetal) aroundthehoverorheatsourcetokeepchicksfrom strayingandtopreventfloordrafts.Placetheguard twoorthreefeetfromtheedgeofthehover.Remove itattheendof7to10days.Feeders Table2. FeederRequirementsbyAge AGE SPACE* Dayold Feedonnewspaperplacedon litter 2days-2weeks 100linearinches/100chicks 3-6weeks 175linearinches/100chicks 7-12weeks 300linearinches/100chicks Layers 5linearinches/bird *afour-footfeederopentobirdsonbothsides provides96linearinchesWaterers Table3. WatererRequirementsbyAge AGE SPACE Dayold-2 weeks two1gallonfountainsor20 linearinches/100chicks 3-12weeks two3gallonsfountainsor40 linearinches/100chicks 12-20weeks 80linearinches/100chicks Layers 1linearinch/birdNests(a)Allowoneindividualnestforeachfourhens.The bottomofthenestshouldbe14inchessquare withthefrontsixincheshigh,back15inches high. (b)Communitynestsareconstructedtwofeetwide andanydesiredlength.Allowtwonests(each2 feetx6feet)foreach100hens.CagesNormallycagesare18inchesdeepand16inches highinthefollowingwidths: (a)8incheswide-onebirdpercage (b)10incheswide-canaccommodatetwolayersper cage. (c)12incheswide-canaccommodatetwoorthree layerspercage. (d)Althoughmorethanonebirdpercagecanbe housed,onebirdpercageisrecommendedfor

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ManagementofSmallFlocksofChickens Page4 smallflocksforthefollowingreasons:cleaner eggs,fewercrackedeggs,usuallyhigher production,betterbirdplumageandless cannibalism.Manuremanagementismucheasier sincethemanureisnotsoconcentrated,thus aidingindryingandreducingodorsandfly problems.FEEDANDWATERAllfeedsarecomposedofimportantgroupsof ingredientswhicharecallednutrients.Theessential nutrientsare:water,minerals,proteins,carbohydrates, fatsandvitamins.Agoodpoultryfeedcontainsa properbalanceofnutrientswhichwillsatisfythe chicken'srequirementandmeettheneedforwhichit isfed(growth,meatoreggs). Feedagoodcommercialstarterfeedforthefirst 6weeks.From8to20weeksfeedagrowerfeed. Starterandgrowershouldcontainadrugfor preventionofcoccidiosis.At20weeksswitchtoa layerfeedandcontinuethroughoutthelayinglifeof thehen.Growerandlayerfeedscanbeinall-mash, crumbleorpelletform. Keepfeedbeforethechickensatalltime; however,avoidfeedwastage.Feedtroughscanbe fullduringthefirstdayortwoofthechick'slife. Fromthenon,feedersshouldbefilledfrom1/2to2/3 full.Occasionallyyoucanallowthebirdstoeatall thefeedfromthetroughstopreventaccumulationof dirty,dry,andstalefeed. Waterisoneofthemostimportantrequirements forpoultry.Besurethatchickenshaveasupplyof clean,cooldrinkingwateratalltimes.Cleanall waterersdaily.Keepthemintheshadeandavoid leaksandspills.Keeptheareaaroundthewatereras dryaspossible.FLOCKHEALTHANDDISEASEPREVENTIONThereareveryfewpracticingveterinariansinthe statewhowillacceptpoultrycases.TheFlorida DepartmentofAgricultureandConsumerServices operatesdiagnosticlabsthroughoutFlorida(see"A GuidetoCommercialPoultryProductioninFlorida") wherepoultrydiseasediagnosticservicescanbe obtainedforafee.However,mosthomeflockowners cannotjustifytheexpenseoftakingorsendingbirds tooneoftheselabsforthisservice.Therefore,flock ownerscanbestmaintainhealthyflocksby: (a)Startingwithhighquality,disease-freechicks orpullets. (b)Usingagoodbrooder. (c)Feedingagoodcommercialfeed. (d)Providingcool,cleandrinkingwater. (e)Followinggoodmanagementpractices. (f)Keepbirdsfreeofinternalandexternal parasites. Thehomeflockownercannotaffordnorisit necessarytofollowanelaboratevaccinationprogram asfollowedbythecommercialpoultryfarmer.The homeflockownershould,however,vaccinateforfowl poxwhenbirdsare6to8weeksofage.Followthe manufacturer'sdirections.Chicksshouldbeordered fromthehatcheryalreadyvaccinatedforMarek's Disease.Contacttheextensionavianveterinarianon specifichealthanddiseasequestions.BROODINGBeforechicksarrivethebrooderhousesshouldbe thoroughlycleanedanddisinfected.Agoodgeneral purposedisinfectantavailablefromfeedorfrom supplystoresshouldbeused.Aftercleaning,allowthe housetodrythoroughlybeforeputtinginlitter material. Woodshavings,sawdust,peanuthulls,sugarcane bagasse,orchoppedstrawcanbeusedforlitter material.Useonlydry,cleanlitterwhichisfreeof anymold.Coverthefloorwith4to6inchesoflitter. Makesurethebrooderisworkingproperlyand adjusted.Putdownfeedandwaterbeforechicks arrivesothatthewatercanadjusttoroom temperature. Watchthechickscloselythefirstdayandnightto seethattheyarecomfortable.Thenobservethemat leastfourtimeseachday-earlymorning,noon,late afternoonandatnightbeforebedtime.Chicksthat areevenlydistributedoverthefloorandarebusily eatinganddrinkingarecomfortable.Iftheydroop theirwingsandkeeptheirmouthsopen,thebrooder istoohot.Whenchickshuddletogether,pileupor emitaloudchirp,theyarechilledandmoreheatis needed.Overheatingandchillingcanresultinahigh mortalityrate.

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ManagementofSmallFlocksofChickens Page5BROILERMANAGEMENTFollowthesamebroodingrecommendationsas above.Sincebroilersarebeingrearedformeatitis importantthattheyalwayshaveanadequatesupply ofhighqualitybroilerfeed. Asthebirdsgetheavier,theywillneedmorefloor spaceandventilation.Itmaybewelltousenight lightsequivalentto15wattsper200squarefeet.This allowsbirdstoeatatnightandhelpspreventpile-ups. Keeplitterdrytohelppreventbreastblisters. Provideamplecool,cleanwater.PULLETMANAGEMENT(a)Followthesamebroodingrecommendationsas above. (b)Feedstarterandgrowerfeedsasoutlinedunder FeedandWatersection. (c)Keepyoungandoldbirdsseparated.Ifitis necessaryforonepersontocareforyoungand oldbirds,carefortheyoungbirdsfirsteachday. (d)Removeanyunthriftypullets. (e)Keepbirdsfreeofparasites. (f)Keepcompleteandaccuraterecords.LAYERMANAGEMENT(a)Cleananddisinfectlayinghousebeforeplacing pulletsinit. (b)Iffloormanagementisused,putin4to6inches ofcleanlitter. (c)Houseonlywelldeveloped,wellfleshedpullets. (d)Useartificiallighttoprovide14hoursoftotal lightperday-one40wattbulbper200square feet,hung8feetabovethefloor. (e)Useafeedingprogramasoutlinedabove. (f)Keepbirdsfreeofparasites. (g)Keepcompleteandaccuraterecords. (h)Removeobviousculls. Table4. GuidelinesforCullingChickens Characteristics Good Layer Cull Vitality Vigorous, active Weak,sluggish Comb/WattlesFull,red, glossy Shriveled,pale, dull,dry Eye Prominent, keen Listless, sunken Vent Large, moist Small,dry, puckered Pubicbones Thin,well spread Thick,close together Abdomen Soft, pliablethin skin Firm,thick coarseskinQUALITYMARKETEGGS ProductionandHandling(a)Keepbirdshealthy. (b)Provideenoughnestingspace. (c)Keepnestingmaterialcleananddryorcage bottomclean. (d)Collecteggs3or4timesdailytoreduce breakage. (e)Useclean,warm(110-120degreesF.)water withadetergentsanitizertocleandirtyeggs. (f)Holdeggsat50-60degreesF.witharelative humidityof70-80%. (g)Candletodetermineinteriorquality. (h)Examinetodetermineexteriorquality. (i)Determineindividualegggrade. (j)Weighforsizedetermination. (k)Packincleancartons. (l)Marketeggsatleasttwiceweekly.EggLaw--GradesandStandardSecureacopyofFloridaEggandPoultryLaw fromDepartmentofAgricultureandConsumer Services,MayoBuilding,Tallahassee.GOODRULESOFTHUMBFollowingaresomeusefulgeneralgoalsregarding feedconsumption,feedconversionandegg productionorbodyweightgainforsmallflocks.LayersAnegg-typehenwillconsumeabout85-95lbsof feed/bird/year(23-26lbsoffeedper100birdsper day).Eggproductioninasmallflockshouldbe about200-240eggs/hen/year(17-20dozen).Feed conversionwillrangefrom4.2to5.6lbsoffeedper dozeneggs.

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ManagementofSmallFlocksofChickens Page6BroilersTenbroilers(5malesand5females)willconsume 125lbsoffeedover7weeks(12.5lbsperbird). Broilerbodyweightswillaverage5lbsat7weeksof age.Feedconversionforbroilersshouldbe2.5lbsof feedperlbofbodyweightorbetter.Broilers(per bird)willconsumefeedovertheirgrowingperiodas follows:2.0lbsfeedforthefirst3weeks;4.0lbsfeed forthenext2weeks;6.0lbsfeedforthelast2weeks.Egg-typePulletsPulletsshouldconsume15-20lbsoffeed/birdin 20weeks.Theyconsumethisfeedovertimeas follows:(atfourweekintervals)1.0lb,3.0lbs,4.0 lbs,5.0lbs,and6.0lbsperbird.Bodyweightsof pilletsshouldincreaseovertimeasfollows: At4wks0.5-0.6lb At8wks1.3-1.4lb At12wks1.8-2.1lb At16wks2.3-2.8lb At20wks2.8-3.6lbPOULTRYREFERENCEBOOKSForthosewhowantadditionaldetailed informationonpoultryproduction,thefollowing booksarerecommended: CommrcialChickenProductionManual,3rdEd. byMackO.North(1984) TheAVIPublishingCompany,Inc. Westport,Connecticut PoultryScience,2ndEd. byM.E.Ensminger(1980) TheInterstatePrintersandPublishers,Inc. 19-27NorthJacksonStreet Danville,Illinois PoultryProduction ByL.E.CardandM.C.Nesheim(1972) LeaandFebinger Philadelphia,Pennsylvania TheAmericanStandardofPerfection TheAmericanPoultryAssociation,Inc.(1985) NonaShearer(Secretary-Treasurer) 26363S.TuckerRoad Estacada,OR97023