Title: Raising chicks, broilers and pullets
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026347/00001
 Material Information
Title: Raising chicks, broilers and pullets
Alternate Title: Bulletin 128 ; Florida Agricultural Extension Service
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Mehrhof, N. R.
Publisher: Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: January, 1946
Copyright Date: 1946
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026347
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aab7729 - LTQF
amt7530 - LTUF
44716649 - OCLC
002571215 - AlephBibNum


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The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida

Bulletin 128

January, 1946

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
A. P. SPENCER, Director




N. R. MEHRHOF, Poultry Husbandman
A. W. O'STEEN, Extension Poultryman

Single copies free to Florida residents upon request to



J. THOS. GURNEY, Chairman, Orlando M. L. MERSHON, Miami
J. HENSON MARKHAM, Jacksonville N. B. JORDAN, Quincy
THOs. W. BRYANT, Lakeland J. T. DIAMOND, Secretary, Tallahassee


JOHN J. TIGERT, M.A., LL.D., President of the University
H. HAROLD HUME, D.Sc., Provost for Agriculture
A. P. SPENCER, M.S., Director of Extension
MARSHALL O. WATKINS, B.S.A., Assistant to the Director

Agricultural Demonstration Work, Gainesville
CLYDE BEALE, A.B.J., Associate Editor'
JEFFERSON THOMAS, Assistant Editor'
RUBY NEWHALL, Administrative Manager'
W. T. NETTLES, B.S., District Agent
J. LEE SMITH, District Agent and Agronomist
E. F. DEBUSK, B.S., State Supervisor, Emergency Farm Labor
H. S. McLENDON, B. A., Asst. State Supervisor, Emergency Farm Labor
HANS O. ANDERSEN, B.S.A., Asst. State Supervisor, EFL
P. L. PEADEN, M.A., Asst. State Supervisor, EFL
H. G. CLAYTON, M.S.A., Director, P. & M. Admin.
R. S. DENNIS, B.S.A., Assistant Director, P. & M. Admin.
R. W. BLACKLOCK, A.B., Boys' Club Agent
W. W. BASSETT, JR., B.S.A., Assistant Boys' Club Agent
A. L. SHEALY, D.V.M., Animal Industrialist'
HAMLIN L. BROWN, B.S., Dairy Husbandman
N. R. MEHRHOF, M.AGR., Poultry Husbandman'
WALTER J. SHEELY. B.S., Animal Husbandman
A. W. O'STEEN, B.S.A., Supervisor, Egg-Laying Test
L. T. NIELAND, Farm Forester
C. V. NOBLE, PH.D., Agricultural Economist'
CHARLES M. HAMPSON, M.S., Agricultural Economist, Farm Management
D. E. TIMMONS, M.S.A., Economist in Marketing "
ZACH SAVAGE, M.S., Economist'
JOSEPH C. BEDSOLE, B.S.A., Assistant in Land-Use Planning'
K. S. MCMULLEN, B.S.A., Soil Conservationist
JOHN M. JOHNSON, B.S.A., Agricultural Engineer

Home Demonstration Work, Tallahassee
MARY E. KEOWN, M.S., State Agent
RUBY MCDAVID, District Agent
ETHYL HOLLOWAY, B.S., District Agent
MRS. EDITH Y. BARRUS, District Agent
ANNA MAE SIKES, M.S., Specialist in Nutrition
VIRGINIA P. MOORE, Home Improvement Agent
ISABELLE S. THURSBY, Specialist in Food Conservation
JOYCE BEVIS, M.A., Clothing Specialist

Negro Extension Work, Tallahassee
A. A. TURNER, Local District Agent
FLOY BRITT, B.S.H.E., Local District Agent

1 Part-time.
2 On leave.


BREEDS OF CHICKENS ......... ............- .........-.....


H watching Eggs ......................... ...-- ....... .....

Baby Chicks .................

"Started" Chicks ....... ..... .... ...... .....

10- to 12-W eeks-Old Pullets .......................

Ready-to-Lay Pullets .................- .....

Breeding Stock ................... ............ ...............


POULTRY CALCULATIONS .........................-...... ....

W HEN TO BUY ..............................

INCUBATION ........................................

BROODING PRINCIPLES ................... ....... .....

Brooder House Suggestions .......................

Brooding Equipment .............. ..- ..........

Brooding Practices .............--- ....... .................

Battery Brooders .......................... ... .......

Battery House ....... .................. ....


GROWING PULLETS ON RANGE ....................--........---

Summer Ranges and Shelters ................-..-...

-.------ ... ..-...-.-- ..-.- 5

................. ................... 7

-...................... ............... 7


....................................... 0

....................-..... ........... 10
.................................... .. 912
......-......- ...-..... ... .. .. 9

........................................ 14
----------.-..- --- 10

........-............ ..... ..-..- 17

...................................... 1

..........................-............. 22

................-..................... 251

............-......................... 26
---------- .-- -.- -- .... 14

... - 17

.25....-......... 25

...................................... 2
............... 29

..............-..................... 30

............... ................. 31

GROWTH STANDARDS AND FEED CONSUMPTION .............. ....................

HOUSING PULLETS IN LAYING HOUSES ..........................

BROILER PRODUCTION .....................................................

SANITATION AND DISEASE CONTROL PROGRAM ......................................

DISINFECTANTS AND ANTISEPTICS .......... .... ...................... .........

CHICKENPOX ................. ............. --.........................................

CANNIBALISM ........ .. ...... .........................................

COCCIDIOSIS ...... .. .. ............................................... ............


Six Important Steps:

1. Hatch early Before April 15th.

2. Start with clean eggs and chicks pullorum clean.

3. Keep brooder houses clean sweep, scrub and spray.

4. Use clean land 2- or 3-year rotation.

5. Feed a balanced ration containing all nutrients in proper
proportion for normal growth.

6. Separate pullets from cockerels as soon as sex can be

Adoption of these 6 steps results in healthier chicks, broilers
and pullets.

Keep chick mortality below 10 percent.

Failure to adopt 1 or more steps results in higher mortality,
higher costs and lower returns. See Tables 1 and 2.



The success of a poultrman is determined largely by the way
he is able to raise baby chicks each year. Baby chicks are a
vital part of every poultry farm, whether small or large.
Baby chicks are the foundation of each year's flock. Success
in brooding and rearing chickens for meat and egg production
is largely a matter of good stock plus good management.
Whether chickens are raised for meat production exclusively
or pullets are kept for egg production, at least a part of the
flock is renewed every year. Broiler producers renew their
flocks several times a year, while egg producers renew part or
all of their flocks at least once a year.

There are many breeds and varieties of chickens that do well
in Florida. The question of which breed to select is often asked,
and the answer depends on many factors.
Factors Number of Number Dying in
Adopted Chicks Percent
6 47,577 3,217 6.76
5 35,686 7,873 22.06
4 11,240 3,318 29.51

*Clean brooder houses and clean land were the most important 2 factors.
In general, chickens have been classified economically as egg,
dual- or general-purpose, and meat breeds. The egg breeds
would include the smaller birds such as Leghorns, Anconas and
Minorcas. The dual- or general-purpose breeds include the New
Hampshires, Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks and Wyan-
dottes. The meat breeds are composed of Jersey Black Giants,
Cornish and Brahma.
The first factor to consider is the type of poultry farming to
be done. Poultry raisers who are interested primarily in table

6 Florida Cooperative Extension

or market egg production should select 1 of the egg breeds or
1 of the dual-purpose breeds that has been bred for high egg
production. Over a period of years the Single Comb White
Leghorn has been kept on most commercial egg farms. Some
large flocks of New Hampshires have been started, and on these
farms hatching eggs are produced in addition to table eggs.


Percent Mortality

Chicks Layers

8 9
15 10
26 12
35 13
55 19

Av. 26 11

per Bird



Value of Eggs
Feed Costs



These data were obtained by F. W. Brumley, Extension Economist, from records kept
by Florida poultrymen.

For the general farm or backyard poultry producer, 1 of the
general-purpose breeds would be preferable.
The broiler producers in Florida are using 1 of the general-
purpose breeds. At this time the New Hampshire is the most

Fig. 1.-Ready-to-lay pullets on range, housed in summer shelter.


Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets

popular; however, Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks and
cross-breeds are also being used as broiler chicks.

There are several methods of starting into the poultry busi-
ness, such as by the purchase of
1. Hatching eggs
2. Baby chicks
a. Straight-run
b. Sexed chicks
3. Started chicks
4. 10- to 12-weeks-old pullets
5. Ready-to-lay pullets
6. Breeding stock.
Each method has been used, but the more common methods
are to start with baby chicks or started chicks.

Hatching eggs should be saved from eggs produced by well-
bred birds. These breeders should display high egg production,

Fig. 2.-Colony brooder house with feeders and waterers, which can be
moved each week, on the outside.

Florida Cooperative Extension

good egg size, fast rate of growth, livability and freedom from
disease, and be typical of the breed.
Hatching eggs should be uniform in shape, size and color.
Size of Egg.-It is not desirable to use eggs weighing less
than 2 ounces each for hatching purposes. According to a
number of research workers, there is a high correlation or
relationship between size of egg and size of chick hatched.
Shell Coleo.-With breeds of chickens producing white eggs,
do not use eggs for hatching purposes that have tints of color;
select chalk-white eggs. Brown eggs should be of a uniform
shade or tint.
Pointers in Saving Hatching Eggs.-Do not use dirty eggs
for hatching purposes.
Do not wash hatching eggs. Washing tends to open the pores
and hasten evaporation. Slightly soiled eggs may be cleaned
with steel wool or a damp cloth.
Do not hold hatching eggs more than 7 to 10 days; the
shorter the time the better. When eggs are held for hatching
purposes keep them in a cool place-50 550 F. If they are
kept too warm (680 F. or above) germ development will start.
Gather the eggs 3 or 4 times daily.
Handle hatching eggs carefully, since rough handling may
cause a loosening of the air cell and thus lower hatchability.
If the eggs are placed in an egg case for holding, pack them
large end up. It is not necessary to turn the eggs unless they
are held longer than 7 days.
Select eggs for incubating that are uniform in size and shape,
sound in shell and uniform in shell color. Reject all eggs having
ridges or rough surfaces.
Start with Quality.-In the poultry business it is most im-
portant to start with quality. Quality chicks mean chicks that
come from stock which is healthy, free of disease; stock which
has been bred for high egg production, livability, egg size, rapid
growth and fast feathering.
Consider quality first and price second (Table 3).
Use care in purchasing chicks-
1. Check on list of breeders and hatcheries.
2. Buy chicks of well-established and proven strains.
3. Try to find the chicks as near home as possible.

Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets 9

4. Obtain chicks from stock which has been tested
and found to be free of pullorum disease.
50% Pullets and 50% Cockerels.
and Cost of Day-old Chicks
in 10 12 14 16 18 20
Percent Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents Cents
0 20 24 28 32 36 40
5 21.0 25.2 29.5 33.7 37.9 42.1
10 22.2 26.6 31.1 35.6 40.0 44.4
20 25.0 30.0 35.0 40.0 45.0 50.0
30 28.6 34.3 40.0 45.7 51.4 57.1

Chicks that have been fed, watered and brooded by the hatch-
ery operator usually from 2 to 4 weeks before they are shipped
or delivered to the customer are known as "started" chicks.
Started chicks cost more than day-old chicks, the price de-
pending on the age at time of shipment. There is a demand
for these started chicks because some purchasers wish to avoid
the first few weeks' period of brooding.
Many hatchery operators keep their started chicks in battery
brooders. When a customer secures started chicks he should
make sure that the chickens become adapted to brooding on
the floor. Watch the chicks closely for the first few nights to
see that they are evenly distributed under the hover.

Some poultry raisers do not care to brood chicks and so wait
till the birds are partially grown and then purchase only the
desired number of pullets. This method is more expensive than
starting with chicks. The time of year is a factor as to whether
this method is best.

Some producers have found it desirable to start with ready-
to-lay pullets. The cost is higher than in any of the other
methods mentioned, but it has the advantage in that returns
in the form of eggs start at once.

Florida Cooperative Extension


One can make a start in the poultry business by purchasing
breeding stock. The person who is interested in high quality
stock and is planning to develop his farm into a poultry breed-
ing farm will find that this method is very satisfactory but


The national Poultry Improvement Plan was started July 1,
1935, with the purposes of improving the breeding and pro-
duction qualities of poultry and to reduce losses from pullorum
disease. In Florida, this plan is supervised by the State Live
Stock Sanitary Board, Tallahassee.
Following is a brief explanation of the disease classes and
breeding stages of the National Poultry Improvement Plan.
A. Disease Classes of the Plan
1. Pullorum-Tested Flocks.-These flocks shall meet the following re-
quirements: (a) All chickens to be used as breeders shall be tested
for pullorum disease when more than 5 months of age, and shall
contain fewer than 5 percent of reactors, the last test being made
within 12 months immediately preceding the date of sale of hatching
eggs or chicks from such flocks; (b) all indicated carriers of
pullorum disease shall be removed from the premises on completion
of the test.
2. Pullorum-Controlled Flocks.-These flocks shall meet the following
requirements: (a) All chickens to be used as breeders shall be
tested for pullorum disease when more than 5 months of age, and
shall contain fewer than 2 percent of reactors, the last test being
made within 12 months immediately preceding the date of sale of
hatching eggs or chicks from such flocks; (b) all indicated carriers
of pullorum disease shall be removed from the premises on com-
pletion of the test.
3. Pullorum-Passed Flocks.-These flocks shall meet the following re-
quirements: All chickens on the premises shall be tested for
pullorum disease when more than 5 months of age, and shall contain
no reactors, the last test being made within the testing year imme-
diately preceding the date of sale of hatching eggs or chicks from
such flocks.
4. Pullorum-Clean Flocks.-These flocks shall meet the following re-
quirements: (a) All chickens to be used as breeders shall be tested
for pullorum disease when more than 5 months of age, and shall
contain no reactors in 2 consecutive tests not less than 6 months
apart, the last test being made within the testing year immediately
preceding the date of sale of hatching eggs or chicks from such

Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets

B. Breeding Stages of the Plan
1. Approved Breeding Stage.-This breeding stage provides for U. S.
Approved flocks, U. S. Approved hatching eggs, U. S. Approved
chicks, and U. S. Approved hatcheries. Both males and females
are to be selected for constitutional vigor and for standard breed and
production qualities and banded by either State inspectors or flock-
selecting agents.
2. Certified Breeding Stage.-This breeding stage provides for U. S.
Certified flocks, U. S. Certified hatching eggs, U. S. Certified chicks,
and U. S. Certified hatcheries.
The males are to be from U. S. Record of Performance single
male matings.
The females may be selected by either State inspectors or flock-
selecting agents.
All flocks are to be inspected and certified at least once each year
by a State inspector.
Hatching eggs are to weigh at least 1 11/12 ounces each and
average at least 24 ounces a dozen.
Each hatchery is to be inspected by a State inspector at least
twice during the hatching season.
3. Record of Performance Breeding Stage.-This breeding stage pro-
vides for U.S.R.O.P. flocks, U.S.R.O.P. hatching eggs, U.S.R.O.P.
chicks, and U.S.R.O.P. breeding stock.
The females are to be trap-nested and, to qualify, must lay 200
or more eggs in 1 year. Detailed records are to be kept on all
The males are to come from hens which have laid 200 or more
eggs in 1 year.
Both males and females are to conform reasonably well with
standard requirements.
Eggs during the first year of laying are to weigh on an average
at least 24 ounces to the dozen and thereafter average at least 25
ounces to the dozen.
All flocks are to be inspected by an R.O.P. inspector at least
seven times during the year.
All chicks are to be individually pedigreed and wingbanded at
hatching time.
4. Register of Merit Breeding Stage.-In this most advanced breeding
stage recognition is given only to U.S.R.O.P. males and U.S.R.O.P.
females whose progeny excell in performance.
A U.S.R.O.P. male must have at least one-third of his daughters
that are entered and a minimum of 20 that qualify as U.S.R.O.P.
A U.S.R.O.P. female must have at least one-third of her daughters
that are entered and a minimum of 4 that qualify as U.S.R.O.P.

For a more detailed discussion of this plan write the State
Live Stock Sanitary Board, Tallahassee.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Number to Buy.-Buy according to the amount of equipment
available. Check on capacity of house, brooder stove and avail-
able feeding and watering equipment.
Overcrowding is one of the biggest problems in chick raising.
To produce 100 good pullets it is necessary to buy 250 to 300
quality straight-run chicks.
Sexed pullet chicks are bought at the rate of 11/ pullet chicks
for each mature laying pullet needed. Allowance must be made
for loss and for incorrect sexing, brooding and growing mor-
tality, and culling before production.
Number of Chicks Needed.-Each year poultry raisers are
confronted with the problem of knowing just how many chicks
to purchase or hatch.
These 2 items should be considered to determine the number:
1. Amount of equipment, both brooder houses and laying
2. Number of pullets needed to fill laying houses.
Mortality and culling the laying flock must be anticipated,
together with a decision as to percentage of pullets to be main-
tained in the flock.
Pullets Needed.-The number of pullets needed to fill the lay-
ing houses should be known so as to assist in determining the
number of hatching eggs or baby chicks to start with.
As a general practice about 2/3 of the laying flock is composed
of pullets. The percentage of pullets in the flock varies con-
siderably from farm to farm. There are some 100% pullet
flocks. Some of the factors which tend to influence this per-
centage are:
1. Egg production if egg production is relatively low a
higher percentage of the birds will be culled during the year.
2. Mortality during the year mortality reduces the size
of the flock. The higher the mortality the more pullets needed
for replacement.
3. Replacement costs- the cost of raising pullets and the
sale value of adult birds influence the number of pullets
started. If the cost of raising pullets is relatively high and
the price of poultry meat is low there would be a tendency to
hold over a higher percentage of the layers for another year.

Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets

However, if the reverse is true a larger number of birds will
be sold, resulting in more pullets to be raised.
How to Figure the Number of Hatching Eggs or Baby
Chicks.-The percentage of pullets in any lot of baby chicks
will be approximately 50 percent. Figuring hatchability at 60
percent, chick mortality about 20 percent (it should be below
that figure) and about 5 to 10 percent for eliminating inferior
pullets, it will take about 5 hatching eggs or 21/2 to 3 straight-
run chicks to produce 1 good pullet.
Many poultrymen figure 40 good quality pullets from 100
straight-run baby chicks.
On the average 2,500 hatching eggs or from 1,250 to 1,500
straight-run baby chicks are needed for each 500 good ready-
to-lay pullets.
Quick Method of Figuring.-Shrinkage (difference between
number of birds at beginning and end of year) multiplied by
21/ or 3 will give number of baby chicks needed to brood to
keep flock at same level.
SHRINKAGE X 21/ = Number of chicks to start.

For Pullet Production.-Chicks purchased for pullet produc-
tion are started in the brooder houses in the spring months -
February, March and April. These pullets will be ready for
fall egg production at 6 or 7 months of age, when the price of
eggs is high.
Leghorns start to lay in 5 or 6 months. The general-purpose
breeds New Hampshires, Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks
- start to lay in 6 or 7 months.
Some poultrymen hatch earlier in January to have late sum-
mer production. Others have found it desirable to start chicks
3 or 4 times a year to have a more uniform egg production.
Late hatched chicks (May or June) come into production late
in the season when egg prices are dropping or declining.
For Broiler Production.-Broiler production in Florida has
been a year-round business, with most of the chicks started
in the late fall, winter and early spring months.
The type of broiler business and market conditions will de-
termine to a large extent when chicks are purchased.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Hatcheries are an important part of the poultry industry of
Florida and the United States. About 84 percent of the chickens
raised on farms in 1943 were purchased from commercial hatch-
eries as baby chicks. Practically all of the broiler chicks are
produced by commercial hatcheries.
Ninety-six hatcheries in Florida with a capacity of 21/ million
hatching eggs produced slightly more than 11 million (11,025,-
000) chicks in 1943.
The 2 methods of incubation are natural and artificial.

It takes 21 days for chicken eggs to hatch.
The general-purpose breeds, such as the Rhode Island Reds,
New Hampshires, Plymouth Rocks and Wyandottes, make the
best hens to incubate chicken eggs. The lighter weight breeds,
such as the Leghorns, are unreliable sitters.
Preparing the Nest.-The nesting box should be about 16
inches square and 6 inches deep. Make the nest of soft hay,
straw or leaves. Place the nest in a cool, quiet place, where the
hen will not have to fly or jump into it and where it is protected
from rain.
Shape the nest so that the entire setting (about 15 eggs) is
in 1 layer with the center of the nest slightly lower than the
outside to prevent the eggs from rolling out of the nest.
Setting the Hen.-Before setting the hen dust her thoroughly
with sodium fluoride. It is usually best to place the eggs under
the hen at night. The sitting hen should be healthy and free
of external parasites.
Feeding and Care of the Sitting Hen.-Feed the hen on grains
such as corn, wheat and oats. Keep grit and clean fresh water
available at all times.
Examine the nests occasionally to see that no eggs are broken.
Check the hen for external parasites during the second week
of incubation. Delouse again if necessary. Lice powders should
not be applied just before hatching, as they might be harmful
to the baby chicks.

Hatching chicks in incubators has several advantages over
hatching chicks under a broody hen.

Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets

1. The chicks can be hatched at any time of the year.
2. A larger number can be hatched at 1 time.
3. Less labor is necessary.
4. Incubation is absolutely necessary if breeder or flock owner
plans to sell chicks.

Fig. 3.-A cabinet type of incubator.
(Courtesy Smith Incubator Co.)

There are 4 factors involved in operating an incubator: Tem-
perature, ventilation, egg position and moisture.
Temperature.-The temperature must be controlled within
very narrow limits. The temperature to use will depend on the
type of machine used. In the section-type incubators the tem-
perature generally used is about 103 F., slightly lower than
this at the start. In the cabinet-type incubators with forced
draft the temperature is about 99.5 to 1000 F.
Ventilation.-Proper ventilation is essential for good incuba-
tion to provide an adequate amount of oxygen for the growing

Florida Cooperative Extension

embryo. The room in which the incubator is located should be
well ventilated. Follow manufacturers' directions for ventilating
Egg Position.-Egg trays are used in incubators. With the
small type or section-type incubator the eggs are placed on their
sides. In the cabinet-type machines the eggs are placed on end
with the small end down. Turn the eggs 4 to 6 times daily.
Discontinue turning the eggs after the 18th day. The cabinet-
type machines have mechanical devices to turn eggs, while in
the small section-type incubators the eggs are turned by hand.
Roll the eggs gently so that the chick embryo will not be injured.
Moisture.-Humidity is necessary in proper incubation. A
relative humidity of about 60 percent is required for good
hatchability. The wet bulb reading would be about 85 degrees.
The humidity during hatching time will be higher; about 88
to 90 degrees. It varies with temperature. If the humidity
(moisture in the air) is too low, evaporation within the egg is
too great and poor hatches result.

The requirements for successful brooding are: Temperature
control, constant supply of fresh air without draft, adequate
space, sanitation, dryness, protection against chick enemies,
safety from fire and proper feeding and management.
There are 2 methods of brooding chicks, natural and artificial.
Hen Brooding.-This method of brooding chicks is still prac-
ticed where only a few chicks are to be raised, either on the
general farm or in town in the backyard. In most cases this is
practiced if the hen is used to incubate the eggs.
A hen will brood from 12 to 15 chickens during the early
season and will take care of a few more later in the season
when it is warm.
A brood coop should be made so that the chicks may run in
and out but should be closed at night to keep out rats and other
animals. The coop should be constructed so as to provide plenty
of fresh air and so that it may be easily cleaned and disinfected.
Confine the hen in the coop until the chicks are weaned. Move
the coop to fresh ground about twice a week to prevent soil
contamination and to provide green feed.

Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets

Artificial Brooding.-Artificial methods of brooding have
made it possible to raise large numbers of chicks at 1 time.
Very few farmers use the natural method if 100 or more chicks
are raised. With artificial brooding chicks may be raised at
any season of the year.

Portable or permanent houses are used to brood baby chicks.
Portable brooder houses are the most popular in Florida at this
Land for brooder houses, including the yards and ranges,
should be well drained. Proper air and water drainage is im-
Brooder houses should be well constructed. The portable
brooder house is generally about 10' x 12', with either a shed,
A-shaped or even-span roof. This type house is built on skids
or runners so it nray be moved to clean land. (Write for Circu-
lar 50 and Bulletin 126 giving suggestions on construction of
brooder houses.)
A good brooder house provides comfort for the chicks. The
floor should be tight, the roof waterproof, the side walls free
from cracks. There should be ample ventilation without drafts.
Have the brooder house thoroughly cleaned before the chicks
arrive. To clean a brooder hbuse-sweep, scrub and spray.

Fig. 4.-Four different types of colony brooder houses.

18 Florida Cooperative Extension

The permanent brooder house may be a small unit, but gen-
erally it is a long house divided into small pens.

Brooder Stoves.-Many types of brooders are used to brood
chicks artificially. They vary according to size, design and type
of fuel used. The majority of the brooders are portable and are
equipped either with or without a canopy. The canopy tends
to concentrate the heat in a limited area near the source of
Brooders vary in size from one small enough to take care
of about 50 chicks to the continuous type brooder used to handle
thousands of chicks.
Fuel.-Oil, electricity, wood, coal and gas are used as fuel.
The first 3 are the more prevalent in this state.
Lamp Brooder.-This type is used extensively if a small num-
ber of chicks are to be brooded at one time. The heat is supplied
by a kerosene lamp (bracket or wall type), see Fig. 6. For
complete details write for Circular 70, "A Simple Farm Brooder
and Finisher."

Fig. 5.-Drum-type oil-burning brooder stove.

~~-' ,;.'

Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets

Fig. 6.-A complete farm brooder 3' x 10', including brooding and
sunporch units. Note lamp, feeder and waterers.
Homemade Brooder.-The home-made brick brooder is found
on many farms in Florida. Wood is used as fuel. For complete
information on constructing a home-made brick brooder stove
write for Bulletin 126, "Poultry Houses and Equipment." See
Fig. 7.

Fig. 7.-Home-made brick brooder stove, which is inexpensive, easily
constructed and satisfactory.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Wood-burning Brooder.-Brooders that burn hardwood give
satisfactory results. These brooders are thermostatically con-
trolled, and are economical to operate, especially if wood is
readily available on the farm. For best operation the chimney
should be installed according to the manufacturer's directions
and must be cleaned each week.
Oil-burning Brooder.-There are several types of oil-burning
brooders on the market. One type which burns kerosene only
in the wick is regulated by turning the wick up or down. An-
other type burner which uses kerosene or distillate has an
asbestos or metal ring which acts as a vaporizer. The tempera-
ture in this type is regulated by a thermostat, which controls
the flow of oil to the burner.
As a safety measure, use sand under the hover of oil brooders.
Study and follow directions of manufacturer.
Electric Brooders.-Recently electric brooders have become
available to brood baby chicks. The electric current must be
dependable. Ventilation under electric hovers is most important
to eliminate moisture as well as to provide fresh air for the
chicks. Some models are provided with an electric fan. The
brooders should be well ventilated and placed on a solid, tight
Feeders.-Provide plenty of feeding space so all chicks can
eat at one time. Runts, the result of improper rate of growth,
are often caused by an insufficient amount of feeding space.
At the start or when chicks are placed in the brooder house,
shallow pans, paper or cup flats used in packing eggs may be
used for feeders.

Fig. 8c.-A. good QN ~~e Of
csutdoov. h.-'pper frla tize on
the range.

Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets 21

Small metal or wooden feeders should be used after the chicks
are a few days old. These feeders should be non-wasting, easy
for the chicks to reach, and keep out the chicks. Allow about
1 inch feeding space per chick at the start. As the chicks be-
come older add more feeders, allowing about 2 to 3 inches per
chick. Arrange the feeders so that both sides of the feeders
are well lighted.
Waterers.-It is very important to have plenty of water foun-
tains for chicks of all ages. For baby chicks 1-quart or 1/-gallon
containers are satisfactory. As the chicks become older 1-, 3-, 5-,
or 8-gallon waterers are suitable. The 5- and 8-gallon waterers
are used on the range for growing pullets.
All water containers should be easily cleaned.
Wire frames are used for water stands, and a cover helps to
keep the water cool.

Fig. 9.-Two types of water vessels for growing birds.

Sun Porches.-Where available land for brooding chickens
is limited and soil has become contaminated with disease organ-
isms and the eggs of intestinal parasites, the use of wire-bot-
tomed sun porches is suggested. The sun porch is attached
to the brooder house. It is enclosed with wire, and is usually
about 1/2 the area of the brooder house floor.

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Framework for the bottom is made of 1" x 4" boards set edge-
wise and spaced about 2' apart. This is covered with wire
(3/%" to 1" hardware cloth). The floor of the sun porch is
placed 10" to 20" inches above the ground so droppings can be
removed by a scrape.
Wire Floor in the Brooder House.-Some brooder houses are
equipped with wire floors. Frames are made of 1" x 4" boards
placed on edge and are covered with 1/2" hardware cloth. The
top edge of the framework should be beveled to prevent accumu-
lation of droppings. The frames should be made small to facili-
tate handling.
Is Brooder House Ready for the Chicks.-The brooder house,
stove, feed and water containers should be thoroughly cleaned,
disinfected and made ready for chicks several days before they
arrive. The brooder stove should be started at least 48 hours
before chicks are placed under the hover.
Operating the Stove.-By operating the stove for 2 days be-
fore the chicks arrive the operator has an opportunity to make
the necessary adjustments without harming the chicks in any
way. It also allows the house to warm up and dry out.
The temperature around the brooder edge should be between
90 and 100 degrees for the first week and should be lowered
5 degrees each week until no heat is needed. It is impossible
to state definitely what ages the chicks must reach before the
heat can be safely discontinued, as weather conditions, the
development of the chick, and the time of year will influence the
length of the brooding period. Follow the instructions pre-
scribed by the manufacturer of your brooder.
The main thing about brooder house temperatures is to have
them such that the chicks are comfortable at all times. Excess
heat causes the chicks to pant or it may cause them to crowd
into the corners of the house in an attempt to get away from
the heat. If the temperature is too low the chicks huddle under
the brooder hover, or in the corners of the brooder house. When
chicks are comfortable at night they will spread out evenly
under an electric hover, or form a circle around the edge of the
hover of the oil- or wood-burning stove. Use a thermometer as
a guide, but the behavior of the chicks will determine whether
temperature conditions are right.
Litter.-The use of a highly absorbent litter on the brooder
house floor is desirable. The litter should be kept dry at all

Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets

times. Some poultrymen use a thin layer of litter and remove
it each week, while others use a deep, or built up, litter system
(i.e. new litter is added each week) for the entire brooding
Planer shavings, sawdust, fine cut straw, sugar cane pulp and
peat moss have been used successfully for litter in Florida. The
litter must be clean and free from mold and mustiness.
Ring Around Hover.-When chicks are first placed in the
brooder house they should be confined to a small area around
the brooder for the first 2 or 3 days until they learn that the
hover furnishes heat. A wire ring of poultry netting 12 to 18
inches high and about 11/2 to 2 feet from the edge of the hover
will prevent the chicks from wandering away from the heat.
Care must be taken to see that the hover area does not get too
hot while the chicks are confined in this manner. As chicks
become older the ring can be enlarged until it serves only to
round out the corners of the house.
As soon as the chicks learn to find the source of heat they
should be taught to find their way in and out of the house.
The earlier this is done the better, for delay simply increases
the difficulty of teaching them. If weather conditions permit,
Fig. 10.-A wire ring around the hover helps teach the chicks
the source of heat.

E'. ? %..


Florida Cooperative Extension

the chicks should start using small yards about the house by
the time they are 10 days old. They may be encouraged to go
into the yard by placing a feed and water container in the yard
near the door. When chicks first start using the yards it may
be necessary to drive them back into the house for the first
few days.
Feeding.-In the feeding of chicks it is very important to see
that they secure the right kind of feed and that it is fed properly.
To make a chick grow off well, a balanced ration should be
fed. A balanced ration contains protein, carbohydrates, fats,
minerals and vitamins, all of which are mixed in the correct
Poultry rations may be either all-mash or mash and grain fed
separately. There are many feed formulas available and appar-
ently many satisfactory methods of feeding chicks. The main
consideration is the use of a balanced ration in a satisfactory
feeding plan.
In chick rations the protein is generally obtained from milk
and meat scraps, used for growth and development; the minerals
are supplied by bone meal, calcium carbonate (lime), and salt
for bone development; and the carbohydrates and fat are sup-
plied by the cereals and their by-products. The vitamins are
supplied in these ingredients and greeh material.
There are a number of well balanced commercial feeds obtain-
able and generally used by poultrymen. Other poultrymen
prefer to mix their own feeds. When only a few chicks are
raised it is less trouble to use a commercial feed. (See Bulletin
118, Wartime Feeding of Chickens.)
Chicks are ready for feed and water just as soon as they are
put in the brooder. Chicks may be fed as soon as they are
fluffed out without influencing either rate of growth or mortality.
Small mash hoppers are desirable for early chick feeding,
or the chicks may be fed first on newspapers, boxlids or pie
Mash feed is recommended for baby chicks for at least the
first 2 or 3 weeks. Chicks need a high protein ration at the start
(mash feed) and as they become older the protein level should
be reduced. This is usually done by increasing the amount of
grain fed.
When chicks do not have access to direct rays of the sun or
cannot get sufficient green feed frequently they show early
signs of leg weakness. Add a tested brand of cod-liver oil (1 to.

Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets

2 pints to 100 pounds of feed, or the amount as recommended
on the container) to the mash or D-activated animal sterol.
(See Bulletin 118.) Mix only a small quantity at a time.
When chicks are about 3 weeks old scratch feed can be added
to their ration. This may be composed of equal parts of fine
cracked corn and wheat. Only a small percentage of scratch
is used at first, this amount being increased slowly until equal
parts of mash and scratch are fed when the chicks are 10
weeks of age.
Prevent Crowding.-Too many chicks in a house or yard is
not the only cause of overcrowding. Fright, chilling and over-
heating will cause chicks to become crowded, regardless of the
amount of floor space used. Unless adequate feed hopper space
is provided chicks will be crowded around the feeders and the
weak ones will be pushed away. Crowded conditions from any
cause usually result in a slower rate of growth and high mor-
tality (Table 4).
Floor Space for Number of Number of Mortality
100 Chicks Chicks Deaths to 3 Months
of Age
35 sq. feet or less ........ 73,077 19,257 26.3
35- 50 sq. feet ....... 25,371 4,122 16.2
50 sq. feet or more..... 25,044 3,484 13.9
Cal. Ar. Ext. Cir. 28, Brooding and Pullet Management, W. E. Newlon and M. W.

Teach Chicks to Roost Early.-Provide perches made of 1"
x 2" strips with wire on the under sides when chicks are 3 to 4
weeks old. Raise the perches as the chicks get older. This will
prevent crowding and give a better circulation of air. (See
Bulletin 126, Poultry Houses and Equipment.)
Milk Products.-In figuring quantities of different types of
milk products to use, the following will serve as a guide: 1
pound of skimmilk powder equals about 3.3 pounds of semi-
solid or condensed milk or 11/4 gallons of fresh skimmilk.

Battery brooders consist of brooding compartments one above
the other, either 3, 4 or 5 decks high, with wire floors and metal
pans for collecting the droppings. Each compartment is gen-
erally provided with a heating unit. Feed and water troughs
are arranged around the outside of each compartment.

Florida Cooperative Extension

There are 2 types of batteries used. The warm room brooder,
which is a battery without a heated compartment, 'and the bat-
tery equipped with a heating system for each compartment.
Batteries are generally heated with electricity, but gas, oil
and hot water are sometimes used. Some batteries have a
separate heating compartment at one end, while others have
a heating compartment in the center. Batteries with contact
heaters also are available.
Battery brooders are used by hatcheries to hold surplus chicks
until they can be sold, and by broiler producers to brood their
chicks. Batteries are very seldom used by commercial egg pro-
ducers for brooding and rearing pullets.
Broilers are being raised in batteries successfully, but in most
cases the broilers are marketed locally. Shipping battery-raised
broilers any great distance results in rather excessive shrinkage
in weight.
In commercial broiler plants where battery brooding is done
successfully it is necessary to have complete control over tem-
perature, ventilation and humidity. When large numbers of
chicks are housed in 1 room plenty of air is needed, and a fan-
controlled ventilation system is indispensable.
The battery house or room should be well constructed with
the walls and ceiling insulated and with a concrete floor which
slopes at least 1 inch in 10 feet to permit water to flow freely
into the drain. The ceiling should be at least 2 feet above the
top of the battery, preferably more. Fans to control ventilation
should be located in the ceiling or walls. The fans should not
blow air directly on the chicks. During hot weather it may
be necessary for the fan to pull air through a wet excelsior pad,
or to keep the floors damp to maintain a realtive humidity of
not less than 65% and to hold the battery room temperature
down to 800 F. or below. Outlets in the side wall or in the
floor should be so arranged as to aid the fan in keeping an ade-
quate distribution of air. Heaters are necessary in cool weather
to maintain a temperature between 60 and 80 F.
The size of the battery room will be determined by the number
of chicks to be brooded and the number and size of the batteries
to be used. It is advisable to select your batteries first and then
build a house to fit the batteries. Batteries should be so placed
as to allow plenty of room for the attendant to work between

Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets

Placing too many chicks in each battery unit is a common
mistake made by beginners in the battery brooding business.

/1 i

Fig. 11.-Battery brooder, unheated type.


Fig. 12.-Types of starter, grower and finishing batteries.

Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets

Crowded conditions in the battery tend to increase brooding
troubles and disease hazards and greatly retard growth.
The relative humidity of the battery room should be so regu-
lated as to be maintained at not less than 65 percent. Most
operators prefer a room temperature between 700 and 800 F.,
with the temperature in the heated compartment of the battery
about the same as under other type brooders (i.e. 950 F. for
the first week or 10 days, and reduced 50 each week until no
heat is needed).
The requirement for battery space and air supply is given
in Table 5.

Age of

IEstimated Number
Estimates Battery Floor of Cubic Feet of
Floor Space Chicks per 100 Air Required Each
per Square Feet Minute
100 Chicks 3 of Floor Space 3 by 100 Birds '

weeks sq. ft. number cu. ft.
1 ............. .. 6.25 1,600 1.6
2-3 ................ 12.50 800 2.0
4-5 ............. 17.36 576 2.5
6-7 ............... 25.00 400 3.0
8-9 .............. 31.25 320 3.5
10-11 ............ 41.67 240 4.0
12 ................. 52.08 192 .

1 Brooding and Rearing Chicks. Cal. Agr. Ext. Cir. 127, 1943. Newlon, W. E., and
D. S. Asmundson.
SThe battery room floor space required is approximately the same as the battery floor
space requirements given for installations of several batteries. The floor space required
will. of course, vary with the number of tiers in the battery.
3 Based on data given by: Lee, C. E. Profitable chick battery and laying cage manage-
ment. 4th ed. 82 p. The Beacon Milling Company, Inc., Cayuga, N. Y. 1939.
4 This is the minimum below which condensations of moisture would occur. The air
requirements given in this column were calculated by Professor R. L. Perry (University
of California, Division of Agricultural Engineering, Davis) and were based on air entering
with a 600 dew point absorbing 0.007 pound of vapor per pound of air.
5 Data not available.

Daily removal of droppings is recommended. Batteries should
be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after each brood. In case
of an outbreak of disease, depopulation, thorough cleaning and
disinfecting of batteries and room are recommended before start-
ing another brood.


Young cockerels that are to be sold for meat purposes should
be well fattened. If they are fat and well fleshed when taken
from the brooder or range houses additional fattening may be

Florida Cooperative Extension

unnecessary. However, if the birds are thin they should be
placed in the fattening pen and finished before they are mar-
When birds that are to be fattened are placed in the 'finishing
pens great care should be taken not to over feed. They should
have a keen appetite and be given increasing amounts of feed
as they grow and fatten.
Usually from 7 to 16 days are considered the length of the
fattening period. The condition of the birds when placed in
the pens will influence the length of time.
A mixture of 2 parts of corn meal, 1 part of rolled oats and
1 part of middlings, with sufficient skimmilk to make the mix-
ture pour freely, has been used with good results.
Other mixtures suggested are 6 parts of corn meal, 3 parts
rolled oats and 1 part of middlings, or 6 parts of corn meal,
2 parts of ground oats and 2 parts of middlings. Skimmilk is
added as suggested in the first ration.
Pullets which are to be reared as potential egg producers
should be moved to clean, well-sodded range. This moving is
generally done when the cockerels and pullets are separated.
Fig. 13.-Summer shelters or range houses on bermuda sod.

-.P .^$.\s- ^ -ji *ssisa M
36 t-0

Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets

These growing pullets will be housed in summer range shelters
(see Fig. 13 and Bulletin 126). Do not crowd.
When the cockerels are marketed, cull the slow, runty pullets
and all the birds that are not likely to develop into profitable
layers. Place the remaining pullets on a range that is clean
and with a moderate amount of shade and a good supply of
green feed.
Provide a suitable light movable summer shelter. These shel-
ters are 8' x 10', 10' x 10' or 10' x 12', with wire on all sides.
In most cases they have a wooden floor.
A roosting frame is provided for each house. There is wire
under the perches to keep the birds out of the droppings.
In feeding the growing pullets, grain is generally fed when
they are about 8 weeks of age. Feed grain in hoppers.
The water vessels on range should be covered so as to keep
the chickens out and at the same time keep the water cooler.
Allow about 12' of hopper space and 3' drinking space for
each 100 pullets (or use 1 5- or 8-gallon waterer for each range
The growing pullets should be in good flesh. As they mature
they should have a sufficient amount of fat on their bodies to
enable them to withstand the strain of egg production.

Fig. 14.-Portable brooder, rearing or laying houses on a well sodded range.

Florida Cooperative Extension

It may be necessary to increase the amount of grain or a
fattening mash may have to be fed in addition to the regular
feed if the pullets are developing too rapidly.

Fig. 15.-Cool and comfortable pullet range. Note summer shelters,
shade, outside hoppers, covered water vessel, and method of conveying
water barrels to range.-

Fig. 16.-Double wall fountain on wire platform with cover, used
on range for pullets.

Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets

Too much protein in the feed will have a tendency to bring
the pullets into production too early.


The rate of growth of chickens varies considerably. Feed,
management, environmental conditions and breeds are factors
that may influence weight changes in chickens.
The data given in Tables 6 and 7 may be used as a guide in
studying weight of birds at different ages and gain made at
bi-weekly intervals, together with bi-weekly feed and cumu-
lative feed consumption.


in S. C. White Leghorns
Weeks Cockerels Pullets
0 .09 .09
2 .22 .19
4 .48 .39
6 .84 .69
8 1.33 1.14
10 1.93 1.47
12 2.34 1.74
14 2.76 2.08
16 3.16 2.41
18 3.50 2.72
20 3.87 3.02
22 3.98 3.26
24 4.40 3.47
* Compiled from various sources.



Age S. C. White
in Cockerels ai

nd Pullets

Weeks Bi-Weekly I Cumulative




13-14 2.18
15-16 2.29
17-18 2.33
19-20 2.13
21-22 2.43
23-24 2.51
*Compiled from various sources.


Dual-Purpose Breeds
Cockerels and Pullets

Bi-Weekly I



2.67 12.00
2.67 14.67
2.81 17.48
2.60 20.08
2.88 22.96
3.02 25.98


Florida Cooperative Extension

Culling During Growing Period.-Cull for signs of weakness
or lack of vigor. If young chicks look dumpy and tend to huddle
in corners it is a sign that the chicks are chilled or sick. Droopy
feathers indicate disease. Cull chickens that are sick and those
lacking in vigor as soon as they are observed. Go over the flock
once a month to remove the unthrifty birds.
Poorly developed birds in flocks of growing chickens may
be due to low quality of breeding stock, faulty diets or improper
Culling during the growing period saves feed, tends to prevent
spread of disease and results in a more uniform flock.
Cull for poor feathering, especially in broilers.
Cull for poor body shape and fleshing. Good fleshing on breast
and thighs is particularly important from the standpoint of
efficiency of meat production.
The degree of fleshing is influenced by the stock, kind of diet,
amount of feed and methods of management. Overcrowding,
internal parasites and disease retard growth and prevent proper
Cull Pullets at Housing Time.-To produce well, pullets must
possess plenty of vigor. Bright prominent eyes, a short beak
on a broad head, bright yellow shanks, lustrous plumage and
good fleshing are points to consider in selecting pullets for the
laying house.
Fig. 17.-A suitable type laying house, with good grass range, for pullets.

Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets

The pullets on the range should be moved to their permanent
laying quarters about 2 or 3 weeks before they come into pro-
duction. Moving them after they are in production may result
in a setback, a partial molt and a cessation of egg production.
The laying houses should be thoroughly cleaned and disin-
fected before the new crop of pullets is placed in them.

The commercial raising of broilers has become an important
phase of the poultry business.
Commercial broilers may be raised in 3 different ways:
1. In batteries from start to finish.
2. In batteries at the start and finished on the floor.
3. On the floor throughout the entire period.

In general, broiler production has been developed into 2 general

1. A certain number each week.
2. A certain number of lots per year.

In the first case the broiler producer has chicks from day-old
to market age, while in the second case the chicks are all of
1 age. These broiler producers handle 2, 3 or 4 lots a year.
Breeds.-New Hampshires, Rocks and cross-breds (Red-Rock
or N. H.-Rock cross) are generally used. In Florida at present
the New Hampshire is the popular broiler chick.
The kind of chicks used for broiler production depends upon
the location of the area.
Feeding Broilers.-Broilers are generally started on all-mash
chick starter containing about 20% protein. Some use regular
broiler mash. Dry mash and water are kept before the birds
at all times. Some supplement dry mash with grain feeding.
Table 8 gives data on pounds of feed required per pound of live
Factors Influencing Profits.-According to data from Mary-
land, factors influencing profits are gross income and costs,
efficiency in use of feed, efficiency in use of labor, marketing
cost, efficiency in use of fuel, cost of baby chicks, capital invest-
ment, size of enterprise, number of lots per year, weight of

Florida Cooperative Extension

birds at time of sale, overcrowding, mortality, breeds, feeding
practices and marketing practices.


White Leghorns General-Purpose Breeds
Average Pounds of Average Pounds of
Weeks Average Feed Feed per Average Feed Feed per
Weight Consumed Pound of Weight Consumed Pound of
per Bird per Bird Weight per Bird per Bird Weight
pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds
4 0.44 1.25 2.84 0.53 1.26 2.38
8 1.20 3.80 3.17 1.67 4.79 2.87
12 2.03 7.56 3.73 2.64 8.79 3.33
16 2.78 12.37 4.45 3.62 13.62 3.76
20 3.50 17.82 5.09 4.66 20.36 4.37
24 4.12 23.56 5.72 5.57 28.48 5.11

This Table is based on Jull's Successful Poultry Management, McGraw-Hill.

Percentage Distribution of Costs.-The cost of producing broil-
ers varies from farm to farm during the same year and from
year to year. Also the percentage that each item is to the total
cost varies from farm to farm. Studies made in several broiler
producing areas show that feed represents about 50 to 60 per-
cent of the total cost, chicks 18 to 23 percent, and labor 7 to
12 percent. The remaining percentage would include fuel, use
of buildings, land, equipment, interest, taxes, etc.
Feed and chicks are the most important 2 items of expense
in producing broilers.


Prevent Losses.-Disease, of one kind or another, causes some
loss in almost every flock. Poultry raisers must do everything
possible to prevent the spread of disease.
Some of the ways by which parasites and diseases spread are
listed as follows:
1. Eggs of parasites and disease organisms are carried from
place to place on the shoes and clothing of the person attending
the flock and by visitors.

1Authors are indebted to Dr. M. W. Emmel, Veterinarian, Florida Agri-
cultural Experiment Station, for his suggestions and comments on the
section dealing with disease prevention and diseases.

Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets

2. Feed pails, sacks, catching coops and shipping crates are
often the means of spreading disease.
3. Rats, wild birds, insects and particularly flies and mos-
quitoes carry disease organisms from place to place.
4. Contaminated water and dirty feed troughs and hoppers
are often responsible for spreading disease.
5. Careless disposal of manure, litter and dead birds and
undue accumulations of manure in houses may be the cause of a
serious outbreak of disease.
6. Unbalanced diets may give rise to certain nutritional dis-
eases or may weaken the birds so that they are unable to resist
the attacks of organisms of other diseases.
7. Raising chickens on contaminated land.
8. Improperly cleaned and disinfected brooder houses.
9. Overcrowding, protection from sudden changes in temper-
ature, drafts and other unsatisfactory conditions may be con-
tributing factors.
10. Old birds and young birds allowed to run together.
The prevention of diseases and parasites is more effective
than trying to cure diseases after they develop and this is im-
portant from our economic standpoint.
WRITE VETERINARY DIVISION for information on dis-
eases and parasites.
Reduce Losses During Growing Period.-Two essentials in
chick raising are good stock and good management.
Good stock includes hatching eggs or chicks from well-bred
breeders free of pullorum disease. Good stock means fast
feathering, rapid growth, high egg production, good egg size,
and livability.
Good management includes proper care of the stock, main-
taining a reasonable degree of sanitation in the brooder houses,
range shelters and batteries, well-balanced feed properly fed
and regularity in all details. Be on the alert at all times.

A disinfectant is a substance which is capable of killing micro-
organisms. In disinfecting poultry houses, these points should
be kept in mind: (1) Use correct strength, (2) the places to
be disinfected should be clean, (3) preferably applied with a
spray pump, and (4) since most disinfectants are very irritat-
ing, the operator should protect the exposed parts of his body.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Disinfectants should be thoroughly applied to the interior of
the houses and worked into cracks and crevices. All equipment
as well should be cleaned and disinfected.
Some of the more common disinfectants suggested are:
1. Coal-tar disinfectants with a phenol coefficient 5 or above
which includes creolin, cresol, liquor cresolis compositus, and
others. A 2 percent solution is used for general purposes (51/2
tablespoonfuls in 1 gallon of clean water).
2. Lye. One can of household lye dissolved in 5 gallons of
hot water applied to the ceilings, walls and floors of the poultry
house destroys coccidia and other parasite eggs. An old broom
can be used to apply the lye solution; care should be taken to
prevent the fluid from coming in contact with the hands and
face. About 1 hour after the lye solution is applied the house
should be rinsed with hot water.
Antiseptics that may be used to help prevent the spread of in-
fection through the drinking water are:
1. Bichloride of mercury (6 to 7 grains-1 tablet in 1 gallon
of water). Do not use metal containers.
2. Hypochlorite solution and other chlorine compounds. Use
as directed on containers.

Chicken pox is an infectious disease of fowl which is char-
acterized by reddish-gray nodules covered with crust-like scabs
on the unfeathered portions of the body and sometimes by
cheesy-like deposits in the mouth and upper respiratory pass-
ages. In this climate the disease itself seldom causes death of
the bird but secondary complications bring about death in many
Vaccination as a preventive measure is quite successful. Two
methods, the stick or stab method and the follicle method, are
used. The most opportune time for vaccination is as soon after
6 weeks of age as possible, or when the pullets usually are sep-
arated from the cockerels.
The location to apply the vaccine by the follicle method is
on the leg about 2 inches above the hock joint. Pluck about
6 or 8 feathers and apply the vaccine with a small stiff brush
by dipping it in the vaccine and rubbing it over the defeathered
part. Always follow the directions given with the vaccine.
When the stick method is used the vaccine may be applied to
either the web of the wing or the triangular unfeathered area

Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets

high up on the leg where the feathers of the leg, breast and back
meet. A sharp instrument is dipped into the vaccine and the
area is stuck.
In 6 to 8 days the reaction of the vaccine appears in the form
of a scab at the point of vaccination. When properly performed,
the immunity established should last during the life of the bird.
Birds should be examined 10 days after vaccination to note the
number of "takes", which are determined by the presence of a
well-formed scab at the site of each vaccination.
Pigeon pox vaccine may be used on flocks in which the disease
is occurring. The use of pigeon pox vaccine on a laying flock
does not result in a severe reduction in egg production. Pigeon
pox vaccine, however, does not result in as lasting immunity
as in cases in which fowl pox vaccine is used.

Cannibalism is a vice frequently observed in poultry, wherein
birds are attacked by their pen mates, resulting in injury or
death. It may be manifested in various forms, including feather
pulling and toe picking, as well as head, wing, tail and vent pick-
ing. These various forms occur in all breeds of fowl, but the light
breeds of chickens are more susceptible to these vices than the
heavier breeds. Chickens of all ages are subject to these vices.
These vices are usually started in flocks that are overcrowded
or when birds are confined in restricted areas with insufficient
exercise. Nutritional deficiencies and heavy infestations of
worms may be responsible.
The various forms of cannibalism may be prevented in most
instances by proper feed and management. Painting the win-
dows red, using red curtains, using a ruby colored light bulb have
successfully prevented cannibalism.
Another effective method of stopping feather picking and
cannibalism is to increase the salt content of the diet for 2 or 3
days. When an all-mash ration is being used, add 2 percent salt
to the mash, but if equal parts of mash and grain are being fed
4 percent salt should be added to the mash. The salt treatment
usually stops cannibalism within a few hours, but in some cases
2 or 3 days are required.
If the salt treatment fails to stop cannibalism within 3 days
it may be necessary to trim back to the quick the upper mandible
of the beak of each chicken.

Florida Cooperative Extension


Coccidiosis is one of the most important diseases of young,
growing chickens. This disease occurs most frequently in chick-
ens from 4 to 12 weeks of age; however, younger or older birds
sometimes become infected. Extensive losses may occur from
such outbreaks.
Chickens affected with coccidiosis become weak and droopy.
Their feathers become ruffled and they present a "peaked" ap-
pearance. The wings often slightly drop to the side. Poor
feathering or other nutritional deficiencies may at times be an
indication of coccidiosis. The birds may appear sleepy. Diarrhea
may be present. Bloody droppings are an indication of the cecal
(blind pouch) type of coccidiosis. Other types of coccidiosis
rarely produce bloody droppings but quite often the droppings
are streaked with blood. Lameness is often associated with
Whenever an outbreak of coccidiosis occurs in young birds
it increases in severity daily and even though but few birds are
lost in the early stages the death rate will rapidly become very
high unless treatment is administered immediately.
To control coccidiosis all birds should receive a ration consist-
ing of 40 percent dried skimmilk or buttermilk-40 pounds of
dried milk added to 60 pounds of the regular mash. Dried whey
may be used but should make up only 25 percent of the ration,
as it contains a higher percent of milk sugar. Dried whey is
particularly recommended for the treatment of laying birds.
In severe outbreaks recovery is hastened by feeding the dried
milk flushing mash for 2 or 3 days, after a short period of
starvation. The grain ration should be discontinued for the
time being so as to force the birds to eat as much of the milk
mixture as possible. This treatment is sometimes called "flush-
ing," as a water diarrhea usually results. The treatment can
be repeated after an interval of 4 to 6 days if necessary.
Rigid sanitation should be practiced. Most common disinfect-
ants will not kill the coccidia in dilutions practical to use for dis-
infection. The houses should be thoroughly cleaned mechanically
and the droppings removed at least every third day. The ground
should be cleaned of all trash and refuse that may have collected.
Care should be taken that the soil around drinking vessels and
in low areas does not become damp, as such soil furnishes an
excellent place for the sporulation of coccidia.

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