Historic note
 Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Adopt these six factors
 Florida's grow healthy chick...
 Management of chicks and growing...
 Diseases of growing chicks

Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida. Agricultual Extension Division ; no. 79
Title: Growing healthy chicks and pullets
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF90000454/00001
 Material Information
Title: Growing healthy chicks and pullets
Series Title: Bulletin
Physical Description: 45 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Mehrhof, N. R ( Norman Ripley ), b. 1899
Emmel, M. W ( Mark Wirth ), b. 1895
Publisher: Cooperative extension work in agriculture and home economics
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: <1935>
Subject: Poultry -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Poultry -- Diseases and pests -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. 45).
Statement of Responsibility: by N.R. Mehrhof and M.W. Emmel
General Note: "April, 1935."
General Note: "Revision of Bulletin 66".
Funding: Bulletin (University of Florida. Agricultural Extension Division)
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF90000454
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002570741
oclc - 44792031
notis - AMT7054

Table of Contents
    Historic note
        Historic note
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
    Adopt these six factors
        Page 4
    Florida's grow healthy chick program
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Management of chicks and growing stock
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Diseases of growing chicks
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
Full Text


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

(Revision of Bulletin 66)R E C EAfYrl, 1935

(Acts of May 8 and June Mn


N. R. MEHRHOF, Extension Poultryman
Assistant Veterinarian, Florida Experiment Station

Fig. 1.-These pullets have plenty of good, clean range.
Bulletins will be sent free to Florida residents upon application to the

: !i'"


GEO. H. BALDWIN, Chairman, Jacksonville
A. H. WAGG, West Palm Beach
J. T. DIAMOND, Secretary, Tallahassee


JOHN J. TIGERT, M.A., LL.D., President of the University
WILMON NEWELL, D.Sc., Director
A. P. SPENCER, M.S., Vice-Director and County Agent Leader
JEFFERSON THOMAS, Assistant Editor
CLYDE BEALE, A.B.J., Assistant Editor
E. F. STANTON, Supervisor, Egg-Laying Contest
RUBY NEWHALL, Administrative Assistant

W. T. NETTLES, B.S., District Agent
H. G. CLAYTON, M.S.A., District Agent, Organization and Outlook Specialist
J. LEE SMITH, District Agent and Agronomist
R. W. BLACKLOCK, A.B., Boys' Club Agent
HAMLIN L. BROWN, B.S., Dairyman
E. F. DEBUSK, B.S., Citriculturist
N. R. MEHRHOF, M. AGR., Poultryman
WALTER J. SHEELY, B.S., Agent in Animal Husbandry'
C. V. NOBLE, PH.D., Agricultural Economist'
FRANK W. BRUMLEY, M.S.A., Agricultural Economist, Farm Management
R. H. HOWARD, M.S.A., Asst. Agr. Economist, Farm Management
D. E. TIMMONS, M.S.A., Agricultural Economist, Marketing
CARLYLE CARR, B.S., Specialist in Rodent Control'

LUCY BELLE SETTLE, B.S., District Agent
RUBY MCDAVID, District Agent
ANNA MAE SIKES, B.S., District Agent
VIRGINIA P. MOORE, Home Improvement Agent
ISABELLE S. THURSBY, Economist in Food Conservation
EVA R. CULLEY, B.S., Acting Nutritionist

A. A. TURNER, Local District Agent

'In cooperation with U. S. D. A

-I::i I: .

PART I. FLORIDA'S GROW HEALTHY CHICK PROGRAM.....-................---.--- 5
Hatch Early-.... ---------................... 5
Clean Eggs and Chicks---------... ~-..... ----------- 7
Clean Brooder Houses-...............-....-..------- 8
Clean Land-......................................---------------.. 8
Balanced Rations-........................----------...---..------ 9
Separation of Pullets from Cockerels.............................------------ 9
Summary of Healthy Chick Campaign-...................... 10
Number of Chicks Needed.................................................... 12
Equipm ent....................................... 12
Pullets Needed..................................12
Selecting Hatching Eggs.............................. ... 13
Ways to Get Chicks..------------ --............................. 14
Brooder House Suggestions......................----........ ..... 15
Brooding Devices-----........ ------.. ----------15
Colony Brooders ......................... .... 16
Hot Water Brooders------- --..------------- 16
Battery Brooders--... ......................... 16
Stoves .........------------- ------- .-..-.. 18
Wire Floors in Brooder Houses--....................--....... ..... 21
Sun Parlors----...........................-----.... .-----------.... 21
L itter..................................................- --............... ..................... 22
Disinfectants and Antiseptics..............---.. ----- 22
Disinfectant Pan or Box.... ................................... 23
Fire Gun................................------- ..------. ...... 23
Feeding..... ----........ ..... ....-.. .-........... -- -.... 23
Vitamins A and D..........----- ----------..... 24
Milk Products .........................-.---- ----. ........... 24
Cod-Liver Oil.......................................- ----..................... .. 24
Chick Feeding.... -------.~.....------- 24
Fattening Cockerels........................... ---------- 27
Summer Shelters and Ranges -----.. .---.... ----------- 29
Developing the Pullets for Winter Eggs--------- ..~....... 30
Housing the Pullets.-............................. 30
Egg Prices............................---------------------- 31
PART III. DISEASES OF GROWING CHICKS..............-------------... 32
Diarrhea--.... ............................ 32
Pullorum Disease-------..............................-------........ 32
Coccidiosis............----.....--....----------- ----------............. 33
Brooder Pneumonia .....---.... ---------... ..... 34
Infectious Laryngotracheitis.................... ....................... 35
Fowl Paralysis and Leukemia...................----- --............... 36
Worms----......------------------------- 37
Roundworms ....-. ............ ......... --...------- ---. ......... 37
Tapeworms-.........-----... .---------..-- 37
Worm Treatments ..--.............---....----------- 38
Leg Weakness---........... ----.-..----------- --39
Slipped Tendons..... ------ ----------- ....-. 39
Cannibalism- -- --... .... ...... -- ....... .... 40
Colds ........-----........ -- ..---------...................... .-- ... 40
Roup .......... -------..----..........-----.. 41
Chickenpox-- .. --........... ----------................ 42
Fleas------------ ------ ------ ---.... .43
M ites ............ ..........-............. ---- .......---.. --..---. 44
Lice -.......-......................... --- -......... 44


Florida's "Grow Healthy Chick" program includes six
factors, as follows:
1. Hatch early.
2. Clean eggs and chicks.
3. Clean brooder houses.
4. Clean land.
5. Balanced rations.
6. Separation of pullets from cockerels.
Poultrymen and women following this program have
found that the adoption of these six factors on their
farms is worth while. It results in healthier chicks, and
consequently healthier pullets, which will come into
laying earlier and will lay more eggs. As these factors
are neglected, results obtained are not so good.
It is suggested that all poultry raisers in Florida be
very careful to see that these six factors are adopted on
their farms.


Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets




The growing of strong, healthy chicks is dependent upon the
adoption and carrying to completion of a very definite sanitary
program. Success in the poultry business is dependent largely
on the production of clean, healthy chicks. The poultry raiser
can purchase hatching eggs, baby chicks, pullets, or breeding
stock, but such is not the case with sanitation. It must be
practiced at all times.
The Grow Healthy Chick Program was started in Florida in
1928. The main purpose was to reduce chick mortality, and so
produce better quality pullets. It must be remembered that the
quality of pullet that is put in the laying house will influence
any returns that may be expected in the form of egg production.
According to one poultry authority, "As the chick is started, so
the pullet is inclined." Thus it is paramount that poultry raisers
pay strict attention to the management of baby chicks.
The three months of February, March and April generally are
considered the most desirable months for hatching chicks to
produce pullets for winter egg production.
The poultry producer who is planning to raise chicks should
consider carefully these questions: How long will it take pullets
to mature and come into production? When should pullets start
laying? Are any of the pullets to be used as breeders next
spring? When is the peak of egg prices reached? How can
surplus cockerels be disposed of to best advantage?
The early hatched pullet gets a good start before hot weather
begins. She develops rapidly through the summer months and
comes into production in the early fall, thus being in full produc-
tion during the period of high priced eggs.
Average egg production in most poultry flocks during the
winter months is low, and prices for eggs during the same months
range higher. Wholesale quotations on the Jacksonville market
The authors are deeply indebted to Dr. E. F. Thomas, E. F. Stanton,
and E. G. Pattishall for their suggestions in the preparation of this bulletin.

Florida Cooperative Extension

from 1921 to 1934, as reported by the State Marketing Bureau,
show that highest prices for eggs are reached during the months
of October, November, December, and January. During eight
of the 14 years the peak price was in November, during three
it was in December, during two it was in October, and during one
it was in January. (See Fig. 2.)



-vJ A u. Sept. 192. N

Fig. 2.-Average wholesale prices of white eggs at Jacksonville, Florida,
1921-1934, as quoted by State Marketing Bureau. Quotations based on
jobbers' average selling prices, their buying prices being a margin lower.

It is desirable, therefore, to secure increased egg production
during the winter if possible. In a survey of a large number of
Florida poultry farms it was found that the average production
per bird for the three months November, December and January
on the 10 most profitable farms was 32 eggs, while on the 10
least profitable farms it was only 17 eggs.
That increased winter egg production can be secured is evident
from the records of flocks in the Home Egg-Laying Contest
covering a period of several years. A considerable variation in
the number of winter eggs per bird is found, indicating that it
is possible to obtain the higher production.
One way of increasing winter egg production is to cull the
older birds and let the flock consist of a high percentage of early-
hatched pullets. The late-hatched pullet will not be developed
sufficiently to produce many eggs during the months of high
prices, but will come into heavy production during the spring

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

Another reason for hatching early is that early-hatched cock-
erels can be sold for better prices. During the 14 years 1921-
1934, wholesale prices on the Jacksonville market for colored
fryers were highest during April, except during the years 1923
and 1924, when the peak was reached in May and in 1932 when
the peak was reached in March. The next best month was
March. (See Fig. 3.) To command these peak prices, the fryers
must be hatched early.

r 193 Pric e 21-125

Jan. Feb. M-rh. April Ma y M uY July G. S"Pt. Oct. No. Dec.
Fig. 3.-Average monthly wholesale prices of colored fryers at Jackson-
ville, Florida, 1921-1934, as quoted by the State Marketing Bureau. Quo-
tations are jobbers' average selling prices, their buying prices being a
margin lower.

Each poultryman should study his marketing conditions and
be guided by them in determining the most opportune time to
hatch. It should be remembered that early-hatched chicks grow
faster and mature more quickly, the broilers are ready to sell
when prices are up, and pullets come into production when egg
prices are high.
For success in the poultry business, it is important that the
start be made properly. Hatching eggs and baby chicks should
be obtained only from flocks that are free of disease and that
have breeding stock which are strong, healthy and vigorous,
as well as of standard breeding and having high egg producing
ability. In other words, the eggs or chicks should be of excellent
quality and free from diseases.
The initial cost is secondary in deciding where to buy eggs
or chicks, while quality is of primary importance. Oftentimes

Florida Cooperative Extension

cheap chicks are the most expensive in the long run. One should
look for quality, and should remember that it costs the breeder
or hatcheryman more to produce first-class chicks than to pro-
duce low quality chicks.
Weak chicks should not be put in the brooder house. It is
better to destroy them. Results of the first Grow Healthy Chick
Campaign illustrate this clearly. Producers who did not use
quality chicks had a mortality much higher than those who used
well-bred, healthy chicks.
Cleanliness in the brooder house is a most important part of
the Grow Healthy Chick Campaign. The interior of each house
should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before a new crop
of chicks is put in it, and before it is moved to new land. The
brooder house should receive a thorough cleaning once a week
during the entire brooding season.
To be sure that the brooder house is in sanitary condition for
the baby chicks-
1. Remove all the movable equipment and clean it outside of
the house.
2. Carefully brush the ceiling and walls, removing all dust and
3. Thoroughly scrub the lower part of the walls and floor with
a brush or broom and a pail of water, to which concentrated lye
has been added (one pound of lye in 40 gallons of water).
4. Spray the entire interior of the house with a good disin-
5. Clean and disinfect all equipment, such as water dishes,
milk dishes, mash boxes, brooder stoves, and hover. (See page
22 for list of disinfectants.)
6. Do all cleaning before houses are moved to clean ground.
The results in the first Grow Healthy Chick Campaign showed
the importance of clean brooder houses. Mortality was as high
as 41% when this factor was disregarded.
WVith the more intensive methods of poultry production that
have come into practice in the past few years, more care must
be employed in the rearing of young chicks. Soil contamination
has been responsible for a large percentage of chick mortality.
Land is generally considered "clean" for the purpose of raising
chicks when no chicks have been allowed to run on it and no

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

poultry manure has been spread upon it for a period of at least
one year. Land previously used should be cultivated, cropped
and reseeded. It is still more desirable and safer to practice a
three or four-year rotation.
Avoid land that is contaminated by drainage water from a
poultry range or land where poultry manure has been spread.
Houses containing adult birds, manure piles or any poultry
refuse near enough to the chick range to allow flies to travel back
and forth would be a dangerous source of possible infection.
Well-drained soil with some shade is best for a chick range.
The shade may be either temporary or permanent.
Newer methods of chick production have come into practice
to avoid soil contamination. Battery brooders and brooder
houses with wire floors and sun parlors are being used more
each year to avoid soil contamination. The chicks are allowed
to run on hardware cloth, and are kept confined from three to
10 weeks or longer. If one is having trouble with soil contami-
nation it would pay to investigate this method.
Records for two years illustrate the value of clean land. Five
producers reared chicks on contaminated land and the chick
mortality was as high as 37 percent, while 17 producers reared
the chicks on clean land and the mortality ranged from 1 to 10
For normal growth and development of baby chicks proper
feeding of a balanced ration is necessary. There are a number
of different methods of feeding baby chicks and most of them
have given the desired results. The important thing to remem-
ber in feeding baby chicks is to adopt a suitable feeding practice
and follow it in detail. Changing from one method to another
is not always conducive to normal chick development. A dis-
cussion of feeds will be found later in this bulletin.
The normal development of pullets is of paramount importance
and should receive careful consideration by all poultry producers.
If the chicks are crowded in the brooder it is best to separate
the pullets from the cockerels.
The cockerels are usually larger, eat more and grow faster. If
the cockerels are to be used for broilers, they should be kept in
limited quarters and fed a fattening ration until sold.
The growing pullets should be placed on clean range, and
supplied with green feed and some shade. Small colony houses

Florida Cooperative Extension

scattered about the range will help prevent the pullets from
becoming crowded. Summer shelters are also comfortable and
satisfactory, and should be provided for the growing pullets.

A summary of the results obtained in the first four years of
the Grow Healthy Chick Campaign is contained in Tables 1, 2,
3 and 4 and the following discussion.
1 1928 | 1929 I 1930 | 1931
Number of producers.................................... 35 38 28 21
Number of chicks......................................... 30,000 22,000 28,500 16,649
Av. No. chicks per farm.............................. 857 579 1,017 793
Av. percent mortality first 8 weeks.......... 24.26 13.87 14.25 12.76
No. of farms with mortality over 20%.... 15 8 8 4
Percent mortality on farms where all
6 factors were adopted .................... 7.29 5.03 9.49 8.33

Factors Adopted Number Chicks 1 Number Dying I Percent Mortality

6 47,577 3,217 6.76
5 35,686 7,873 22.06
4 11,240 3,318 29.51

In Table 1 the number of producers, the number of chicks
brooded, the average percent mortality at 8 weeks, the number
of farms with chick mortality of over 20 percent, and the chick
mortality for the producers who adopted the six factors are
shown. (See page 4 for the six factors.)
In Table 2 the percent chick mortality grouped according to
number of factors adopted is shown. As the producers did not
adopt the factors listed in the Grow Healthy Chick Campaign,
chick mortality increased. The 4-year average chick mortality
was 6.76% where all six factors were adopted.
The two most important factors were clean brooder houses and
clean land, an analysis of the records showed.
In case of high mortality no doubt a good percentage was due
to some phase of poultry management such as chilling, heating,
etc. Every effort should be exerted to keep total chick mortality
below 10 percent.

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

CAMPAIGN, 1928-1931.
eNo. No. Chicks Died Percent
Week Chick No. Chiks Died Weekly
Alive Each Week I Total i Mortality*

Start ............................ 85,709 .............
End of 1st week ....... 82,100 3,608 3,608 4.21
End of 2nd week........ 78,938 3,162 6,770 3.85
End of 3rd week....... 76,882 2,056 8,826 2.60
End of 4th week........ 75,517 1,365 10,191 1.77
End of 5th week........ 74,704 813 11,004 1.07
End of 6th week........ 74,127 577 11,581 .77
End of 7th week ........ 73,657 470 12,051 .63
End of 8th week........ 73,251 406 12,457 .55

*Figured on the basis of number of chicks at beginning of each week.

Table 3 shows the weekly chick mortality for the first eight
weeks, as obtained from figures submitted by a total of 114
farms over a period of four years, 1928-1931. The mortality was
greatest during the first week and gradually decreased through
the eighth week. Some farms did not report weekly but reported
total mortality. During the four years there were a total of 178
farms reporting total chick mortality for the first eight weeks,
and it averaged 16.28 percent.


Percent Mortality Eggs per Bird Value of Eggs
Chicks ] Layers 1929 Over Feed
1928 1929 1929

8 9 168 2.80
15 10 155 2.49
26 12 143 2.15
35 13 140 2.00
55 19 116 1.66

Av. 26 11 145 2.29

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

Florida Cooperative Extension



Each year the poultry raiser is confronted with the problem
of knowing just how many chicks to purchase or hatch.
Important factors to be considered are:
1. Amount of equipment, both brooder houses and laying
2. Number of pullets needed-including hen replacement and
proportion of pullets and hens.

Amount of Equipment:-The amount of floor space in brooder
equipment will determine to a great extent the number of chicks
that should be purchased. It is undesirable and unprofitable to
crowd chicks in brooder houses. The type of house, ventilation,
sunshine and age at which cockerels are removed affect the
amount of floor space needed per chick.
Table 5 furnishes some interesting data concerning floor space
and mortality of chicks.
Floor Space per Number of Number of Percent Mortality to
100 Chicks Chicks Deaths 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. Agricultural Extension Circular 28-Brooding and Pullet Manage-
ment-W. E. Newlon and M. W. Buster.

The number of pullets needed to fill the laying house and to
replace cull birds will determine the number of chicks to purchase
or hatch. The flock should be composed of 50 to 75 percent pul-
lets, the percentage of pullets being determined to a large extent
by the average egg yield per bird.
As a rule the percentage of pullets developed in any lot of baby
chicks will average about 50%, the other 50% being cockerels.
Figuring hatchability at 60%, chick mortality which may aver-

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

age about 20% (it should be below that figure) and about 5 to
10% for eliminating inferior pullets, it will take about 5 eggs
or 21/ to 3 chicks to get one good pullet. In other words, if 500
pullets are wanted, it would be necessary to purchase 2,500
hatching eggs or from 1,250 to 1,500 baby chicks.
Another factor to be considered is the replacement in the
laying flock of birds that have died and those that have been
sold as unprofitable. Mortality in the laying flock, according to
records in the Home Egg-Laying Contest and farm management
surveys in Florida, show that the hen mortality averages 10 to
12 percent.
Hatching eggs should be selected carefully, for the kind of eggs
incubated will determine to a great extent the quality of chicks
hatched. Select eggs that are uniform in shape, size and color,
from hens that are well bred for production and true to breed
Size of Egg:-It is not desirable to use eggs weighing less than
two ounces each for hatching purposes. According to a number

Fig. 4.-A cabinet type of incubator. (Courtesy Smith Incubator Co.)

Florida Cooperative Extension

of research workers there is a high correlation or relationship
between size of egg and size of chick hatched. With the con-
tinued use of small eggs for hatching purposes the constitu-
tional vigor of the laying and breeding flock will be depleted.
Also there will be a decrease in the size of eggs produced.
Shell Color:-With breeds of chickens producing white eggs,
do not use eggs for hatching purposes that have tints of color,
but select chalk-white eggs. It is necessary to select continu-
ously for this characteristic if tinted or off-colored eggs are to
be bred out of the flock.
Eggs that are soiled should not be washed. Washing tends
to open the pores and hasten evaporation.
Do not hold hatching eggs more than seven to 10 days. The
shorter the time the better. When eggs are being held for
hatching purposes, keep them in a cool place. If they are kept
too warm, incubation will commence.

In purchasing chicks, consider the quality first and the price
last. A few cents more spent in purchasing good chicks is a
good investment.
1. The producer can hatch or can have the chicks hatched
from his or her own breeding stock. In this manner the pro-
ducer is able to know the health of the breeding stock, egg

Fig. 5.-Brooder house, 10'x12', capacity 250 or 300 chicks.

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

production, size and color of egg, and many other important
2. The producer can purchase chicks from a successful breeder
or hatcheryman. Demand quality always.
Many producers are purchasing day-old chicks, while others
find it desirable to buy starter chicks, four to six weeks old
pullets or eight to 12 weeks old pullets.

Land for brooder houses and yards should be well drained and
have a southern slope. Proper air and water drainage are im-
portant. The brooder houses should be well constructed.
Brooder houses are generally of two types, stationary and port-
able. The average size is 10'x12' to 12'x14'. Portable houses
should be constructed on skids or runners. A wooden floor, made
of tongue and groove lumber, is desirable for a portable house,
while a concrete floor is desirable for a stationary house. The
walls should be tightly constructed of drop siding or tongue and
groove material. If rough lumber is used the cracks should be
ceiled. The lower walls may be ceiled to provide better insula-
tion. The corners should be rounded to keep chicks from crowd-
ing and piling.
The roof should be made waterproof, using either roofing
paper or shingles.
Ventilation in the brooder house can be secured by having an
opening and windows in the front. It is desirable to have in the
rear of the house near the plate a ventilator which can be opened
or closed, depending on weather conditions and age of chicks.
Have the brooder house and equipment in good working con-
dition two or three days before chicks arrive. The temperature
around the colony brooder stove should be between 90 and 100
degrees at the start. The comfort of the chicks is a better guide
than a thermometer. Watch the conditions of the chicks and
govern the temperature accordingly.
Teach chicks to roost early. Provide low perches made out of
1"x2" strips with wire on the underside when chicks are three
or four weeks old. Raise the perches as chicks get older. This
will prevent crowding and give a better circulation of air.
With the development of the poultry industry many changes
have taken place. From the mother hen with her chicks, ad-
vances have been made to the latest method known as battery

Florida Cooperative Extension

brooding. The fireless brooder is satisfactory for a small number
of chicks, and so is the broody hen. Only artificial methods of
brooding will be discussed here.
No matter what type of brooding equipment is used, it is im-
perative that it be in first-class condition before the chicks
arrive. Examine the equipment carefully, see that it is thor-
oughly repaired, cleaned and disinfected. In other words, be
ready for the chicks when they arrive.
Do not put chicks of different ages under the same brooder.
This method employs the use of movable brooder houses and
a suitable heating device for each house. These houses are
usually built on skids so that they can be moved to clean ground
each year.
With the more intensive poultry farms, where a great many
chicks are brooded, a long type brooder house may be used with
a hot water heating device. Such a system reduces the cost of
heat and labor in caring for chicks. (Fig. 6.)

Fig. 6.-Long brooder house with a two-story battery brooder room in
center. A hot water brooding system is used, and the house has a screened
Brooding chicks in batteries is the latest development in brood-
ing. It consists of having a battery of chick trays, one above
another. The chicks are on wire bottom trays and under each
tray is a metal pan which collects the droppings. The feed and
water vessels are on the outside of the tray and this makes it
impossible for the chicks to contaminate them with their drop-
pings. It is recommended that when chicks are started in battery
brooders, at least 10 square inches of floor space be allowed for
each chick. (Fig. 7.)

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

lliliiJU 11 WMIm

__ LI


jI iIMMa I!

:- ..... .. ,1,' __ ,, .-j'

Fig. 7.-Battery brooder, unheated type. (Courtesy Smith Incubator Co.)




Florida Cooperative Extension

There are many types of battery brooders on the market, the
principal ones being those with (1) heated compartments and
(2) unheated compartments. In the former type, each com-
partment is heated and the heat is regulated by a thermostat.
This type generally has two sections, one warm and one cool.
In the latter type the room is heated and a fan is stationed in
the room to circulate the air.
Battery brooding appears to be very successful for the first few
weeks. With advancements in types of brooders and methods
of management, perhaps they will be used for a longer period.
They are being used for the production of broilers and fryers.
The length of time that pullets can be kept in the batteries for
the best results is variable.
After the chicks are removed from the battery brooder they
can be put in either the colony or the long type brooders until
they are ready to go on range.

Fig. 8.-Interior of brooder house. Note rounded corners.
(Courtesy U. S. D. A.)
Brooder stoves are meant primarily to control the heat in the
brooder house. The common brooder stoves used in Florida are
oil burning. Other stoves are heated by electricity or coal. As
a rule the capacity of brooder stoves now on the market is over-

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

Recently in West Florida home-made brick brooders have come
into use, and seem to be giving satisfaction. They are easily
constructed. The following method has been suggested for their
erection and operation:

Fig. 9.-Home-made brick brooder stove, which is inexpensive, easily
constructed and satisfactory.

Bill of Material:-150 bricks, new or used, 25 pounds of lime,
1/2 sack cement, 1/3 yard sand, 5 heavy iron rods, 3 or 4 joints
of 6-inch stove pipe, 1 stove pipe damper, 1 piece of tin or other
metal 12"x16" for door, and 1 roof flange.
How to Build:-A mortar mixture of 1 part lime, 1 cement,
and 2 sand is used. Make mortar joints 1/-inch thick and break
joints with bricks. Lay bricks on flat side. After six rows of
brick are up, lay irons across top to support a seventh layer of
brick entirely across the top. The cap bricks should be placed
1-inch apart. A thin mortar should be run over entire top
about 3 inches thick.
Angle iron, heavy wagon tires, road scraper blades, and similar
materials make splendid cross bars to support the cover layer
of bricks and mortar. Arrange these bars so as to support the
ends of the cap bricks.
Enough lengths of stove pipe should be used to project the pipe
above the roof about two lengths, or sufficiently to secure proper
draft. The damper should be placed in the first length of pipe.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Secure a piece of sheet metal or an old stove door 12"x16"
in size, which will fit very closely against the face of bricks so
that operator can regulate draft. It is an added convenience
to attach a light chain or wire from the door through a pulley
or staple which may be placed in the roof. A weight attached
to the other end of this wire enables the operator to raise and
lower the door more readily when it is hot.
A properly placed roof flange should remove any danger of
fire starting around the roof. Cut the roof away three or four
inches from stove pipe and insulate with tin or asbestos as a
special precaution.
Operation:-Start a fire about two days before chicks are
ready to go into the house. This will enable the operator to
get experience in firing and controlling the draft. Usually it is
necessary to fire three times daily, morning, noon, and night,
or more often during unusually cold spells.

Fig. 10.-Wire floor in interior of a colony brooder house. Note the
small frames and the colony brooder stove. (Courtesy Larrowe Milling Co.)

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

Capacity:-A brood of 500 chicks may be successfully cared
for with a brick brooder six bricks long, seven bricks high, and
three bricks wide.
A ring 12" to 18" high (wire or roofing material) about 2 feet
from the edge of the hover will prevent the chicks from straying
too far from the heat during the first few days. The size of the
ring should be increased as chicks become older. If wire is used
clean burlap bags should cover the wire to prevent floor drafts.

In the interior of some brooder houses to keep the chicks away
from the droppings and to reduce the danger of coccidiosis, wire
floors are being used quite successfully. Small frames are made
and covered with 1/2-inch hardware cloth. These frames should
be made small to prevent sagging in the middle. These frames
may be made of 1"x4" or 2"x4" on edge, the top edge being
beveled to prevent accumulation of droppings.

After poultry have been raised several years on one location
the soil becomes contaminated, and it is desirable to keep young

Fig. 11.-Sun parlor in front of brooder house used in rearing chicks in
confinement. (Courtesy Larrowe Milling Co.)

Florida Cooperative Extension

chicks off the ground. Wire-floored platforms (about %" to 1"
wire) are built in front of the house to get the chicks out in
the direct rays of the sun and so that the droppings will pass
through. The sun parlor is enclosed by wire on all sides and
top. Some use a concrete platform that can be easily washed
with a hose to prevent contamination.
The sun parlor generally has a floor space equal to one-half or
more of the floor space inside the brooder house.

Most poultrymen are using litter of some type on the floor.
The litter must be CLEAN, free from mold and mustiness.
Brooder pneumonia is caused by a mold, and it is possible to
have the mold in the litter. From a sanitary viewpoint, it is
important to remove litter at least three times weekly.
Planer shavings, cut straw, cut alfalfa, peat moss, and some-
times sand are used. It is important to see that the chicks have
plenty to eat so that they will not consume any of the litter
Among the disinfectants recommended
for use around poultry farms are the
i 1. Creolin-2 percent solution (5Y/2
I tablespoonfuls to one gallon of water).

Fig. 12. Disinfect-
ing pan in front of
brooder house prevents
contamination from be-
ing carried in on the
feet of workmen.
(Courtesy Poultry

2. Compound solution of cresol.
3. Lysol.
4. Other coal-tar disinfectants with a
phenol coefficient above 5.
Antiseptics that may be used in drink-
ing water are:
1. Bichloride of mercury (6 to 7 grains
-1 tablet-in 1 gallon of water). Do not
use metal containers.
2. Potassium permanganate (1/3 tea-
spoonful of crystals to 1 gallon of water).
Do not use metal containers.
3. Hypochlorite solution, such as B.K.,
sterilac, chlorazene, etc. Use as directed
on containers.

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

Many poultry producers realize that "an ounce of prevention
is worth a pound of cure," and have placed disinfectant pans in
front of the doors of their brooder houses and occasionally also
their laying houses. Such a disinfecting device is made by using
a shallow pan or wooden box, placing a feed bag in the bottom
of it, and pouring a disinfectant solution into it. To enter the
brooder house, the poultryman walks through the pan of disin-
fectant. This serves as a further protection to the chicks.

Fig. 13.-Fire gun used in cleaning and disinfecting.

This implement (blow torch or fire gun) is one of the most
efficient means of disinfecting. It generates intense heat (ap-
proximately 2,0000 F.), which kills instantly all bacteria and
parasite eggs subjected to it. It is effective only on clean sur-
faces which are thoroughly dry. On wooden surfaces, one should
guard against setting the structure afire.
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, the feed should be balanced.
A balanced ration is "a combination of feeds furnishing the
several nutrients in such proportion, amount, and form as will,
without waste, properly nourish a given group of birds for a
specific time." A good ration contains protein, carbohydrates,
fats, minerals, and vitamins, all of which should be fed in the
correct proportion.
Poultry rations may be either all mash or mash and grain fed
separately. There are many feed formulas available and appar-

Florida Cooperative Extension

ently many satisfactory methods of feeding chicks. The main
consideration is the use of a balanced ration, and 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 feeds and green material.
There are a number of well-balanced commercial feeds obtain-
able and generally used by some 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.
Vitamin A, the growth-promoting vitamin, is found in such
materials as fresh greens, dried greens, yellow carrots, cod-liver
oil, milk, yellow corn. Vitamin D, the antirachitic vitamin, is
found in cod-liver oil, ultra-violet rays, and direct sunlight. These
are the most essential vitamins in poultry feeding.
In figuring quantities of different types of milk products to
use, the following will serve as a guide: 1 pound skimmilk pow-
der equals at least 3.3 pounds of semi-solid or condensed skim-
milk or 111 gallons of fresh skimmilk.
Apparently there is no difference between sweet and sour milk.
This material is rich in vitamins A and D and if chicks are
kept indoors and do not come in contact with the direct rays of
the sun, it should be added to the ration. Add 1 to 2 percent
tested cod-liver oil to the ration, mixing it with the mash (that
is about 1 to 2 pints to 100 pounds of feed). Vitamin D is neces-
sary for utilization of calcium and phosphorus in bone formation.
Chicks are ready for food and water just as soon as they are
put in the brooder. The previous practice has been to starve the
chick until it is from 48 to 72 hours old. Investigators have
found, however, that early feeding is not harmful. According
to investigations conducted at the Indiana Experiment Station
it appears that chicks may be fed as soon as they are fluffed out
without influencing either rate of growth or the mortality.

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

Small mash hoppers are desirable for early chick feeding, or
the chicks may be fed first on newspapers, boxlids, or pie plates.
Mash feed is recom-
mended for baby chicks ...
for at least the first two
or three weeks. Scratch
feed then may be added
and fed from hoppers.
Chicks need a high pro-
tein ration at the start
(mash feed) and as they
become older the propor-
tion of scratch to mash
may be increased.
All feed formulas giv-
en here are recommenda-
tions taken from Farm-

U. S. D. A.
A suggestedchick mash Fig. 14.-A desirable type of water or
Sss milk vessel for young chicks.
for first three weeks:
Mash Parts by
Yellow corn meal.................................................. 40
Bran ................................ ......................... 15
Middlings (or ground wheat)........................ ... 10
Meat or fish meal (53.9 percent protein).................... 10
Rolled oats (or oat groats)............................................... 10
Dried milk (34.6 percent protein).............................. 10
Alfalfa leaf meal.............................................................. 2
Ground limestone................................................ 2
S alt..................................... ......................... .................... 1
Total (protein 18.6 percent)..................... ...... 100

When chicks do not have much access to the 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 2 pints to 100 pounds of feed) to the mash. Mix only a
small quantity at a time.
When chicks are about three weeks old scratch feed can be
added to their ration. This may be composed of equal parts of
fine cracked corn and fine cracked wheat. Only a small percent-
age of scratch is used at first, this amount being slowly increased
until equal parts of mash and scratch are fed when the chicks
are 10 weeks of age. This method of feeding reduces the total

Florida Cooperative Extension

protein in the feed. If an all-mash ration is fed, use the above
mash until the chicks are five to six weeks old, then the following
all-mash ration may be used:

All-Mash Ration

Parts by
Ingredient weight
Yellow corn meal...................... 50
Middlings (or ground wheat) 18
Bran ............................................ 15
Meat or fish meal................... 8
Dried milk.................................. 3

Parts by
Ingredient weight
Ground limestone..................... 3
Alfalfa leaf meal.................... 2
Salt-- --.................... -----...... ............ 1
Total (protein 15.7 percent) 100

Chicks at about eight weeks of age will eat whole wheat and
cracked corn.
A sufficient amount of feeding space is very important. Have
enough room so at least one-half of the chicks can eat at one
time. This will bring about a more uniform growth and develop-
ment. It has been suggested that one square foot of mash

Fig. 15.-A good
outdoor hopper for
the range.

hopper space be allowed for 50 chicks for the first four weeks;
followed by one square foot of mash hopper space to each 25
chicks until the larger self-feeding hoppers can be used. A
feeder three feet long will take care of 100 chicks the first three
weeks very comfortably, but more space should be allowed after
that time. Adding feed to the hopper frequently and stirring
the mash two or three times a day will have a tendency to en-
courage consumption.
Water dishes should be placed on wire frames just as soon as
the chicks are old enough to make their way up on the frames.

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

This will help to keep the litter dry around the water fountain
and keep chicks from eating soiled litter. Use 1/2-gallon water
fountain for each 50 chicks.
Large hoppers should be used as the chicks become older.
Feed hoppers may be made as follows:

4" wide, 30" long, 1%" high.
A 1"xl" reel is made, using heavy wire on either end for support of reel.
Put small lath lip on inside to prevent waste.
6" wide x 4' long x 3Y%" high.
1Y4"xl" reel using heavy wire on either end for support of reel.
If this feeder is used inside there is no need for a cover, but if put on the
range it should be covered to protect the feed.

Fig. 16.-Home-made fattening crate for broilers and fryers.

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 range more fattening may be unnecessary. However,
if the birds are thin they should be placed in the fattening pen
and finished before being marketed.

Florida Cooperative Extension




White Leghorns
Feed per Weight per
Bird Lbs. Bird Lbs.

.09 .11
.28 .18
.57 .26
.94 .38
1.42 .50
1.96 .69
2.71 .90
3.51 1.09t
4.41 1.22
5.40 1.41
6.45 1.56
7.53 1.80
8.64 1.93
9.74 2.06
10.93 2.20
12.11 2.36
13.54 2.49
14.93 2.63
16.38 2.72
17.91 2.90
19.39 3.05
20.83 3.12
22.29 3.22
23.84 3.28

*The data were compiled from Connecticut Agricultural Experiment
Station Bulletin 96, being the averages of three experiments with a total
of 1,028 White Leghorns and 865 Rhode Island Red chicks. Birds had skim-
milk to drink and no water during the first 10 weeks, after which both milk
and water were supplied. An outdoor range was provided.
tLeghorn cockerels were removed at the end of the eighth week.
SRhode Island Red cockerels were removed at the end of the twelfth week.


No. 1
Corn meal.........................6 pounds
Rolled oats.....................3 pounds
Middlings ............................1 pound

No. 2
Corn meal-..............-.........6 pounds
Ground oats....................2 pounds
Middlings ..........................2 pounds

Either of the above rations should be fed with milk, using 2
pints (pounds) of milk to 1 pound of mash. If liquid milk is not
fed, add 1 pound of dried milk or 1/2 pound of meat scrap to 10
pounds of mash.
When the broilers are first put in the fattening crates great
care should be taken not to overfeed. They should have a keen
appetite and be given increasing amounts of feed as the broilers
fatten and grow.

Rhode Island Reds
Feed per Weight per
Bird Lbs. Bird Lbs.

.10 .11
.29 .16
.56 .26
.95 .36
1.48 .53
2.18 .73
2.96 .96
3.94 1.22
4.95 1.52
6.02 1.80
7.15 2.01
8.39 2.29$
9.62 2.39
10.83 2.56
12.14 2.76
13.58 2.90
15.17 3.13
16.82 3.26
18.38 3.43
20.12 3.68
21.89 3.85
23.68 4.03
25.41 4.16
27.24 4.29

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

Usually from seven to 16 days for fattening are required,
depending on the condition of the birds when they are placed
in the crates.
Broilers sometimes are fattened in battery brooders in which
the chicks are kept until marketed. All-mash rations are used
to which should be added from 1 to 2 percent cod-liver oil. The
mash is kept before the chicks all the time.
Wheat middlings may be substituted for the ground wheat,
oat meal for the corn gluten meal, and wheat bran for rice bran.

Yellow corn meal........................ 35
Ground wheat................................ 20
Corn gluten meal.-......................... 9
Dried buttermilk.......................... 9
Meat meal-...................................... 9
Rice bran........................................ 10

by weight)
Fine oyster shell........................ 3
Alfalfa leaf meal...................... 2.5
Y east............................................ 2
Salt .............................................. .5
Total (protein 19.6 percent) 100

Fig. 17.-Cool and comfortable pullet range. Note summer shelters,
shade, outside hoppers, covered water vessel, and method of conveying
water barrels to range.


When the cockerels are marketed, cull the slow, runty pullets
and all birds not likely to develop into profitable layers. Place
the remaining pullets on a range that is clean and with a mod-
erate amount of shade and a good supply of green feed.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Provide a suitable light movable summer shelter with a good
circulation of air. Do not crowd. (See Fig. 17.) These shelters
are about 8'x10' or 10'xl0' with wire on all four sides, perches
and a wire floor (1" mesh poultry netting). Sometimes a wood-
en floor with screening under the perches is used.
Keep young chicks and growing pullets away from old birds.

It is from the growing pullets that winter egg production is
expected. It is desirable to have the pullets in production when
eggs are high and it is necessary to develop these young birds
In feeding the growing pullets, grain generally is fed when
they are eight weeks of age. Placing the grain in hoppers is
more sanitary than scattering it out on the range. In addition,
pullets should receive about 6 pounds of succulent green feed
per 100 pullets daily.
The water vessels on range should be covered so as to keep
the chickens out and at the same time keep the water cooler.
The water vessels should be placed on wire frames made of
2"x4" lumber to prevent puddles and to keep birds out of filth
which collects near the fountain. A barrel with a drip system
attached will provide a good water supply.
Allow about 12' hopper space and 3' drinking space for each
100 birds.
The pullets should be in good flesh. They should have a suf-
ficient amount of fat on their bodies to enable them to withstand
the strain of egg production. As the pullets reach maturity (in-
dicated by comb development) they should be kept in good flesh.
It may be necessary to feed more scratch feed or a fattening
mash in addition to the regular feed if the pullets are developing
too rapidly.
Too much protein in the feed given pullets will bring them
into production too early.
Keep the birds free of external and internal parasites, colds,
and other ailments.

The pullets should be moved to their permanent laying houses
just as soon as they begin laying. Moving them after they are
in production may result in a setback, a false moult, and a
cessation of egg production.

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

The pullets should not be placed on the same range that was
occupied by the hens. A double yarding system is desirable.

Fig. 18.-Pullets reared under sanitary conditions are ready for high
winter egg production.

The laying houses for the pullets should be thoroughly cleaned
and disinfected (similar to method suggested in cleaning brooder
house for chicks).
Table 7 on quotations of white eggs will give an idea as to
when pullets should come into production.


1921 1922 1923 1924

74.3 48.0 49.6 47.4
48.6 40.7 36.0 44.6
36.0 26.5 30.0 26.6
31.3 29.4 29.5 25.8
30.5 28.3 29.0 28.5
31.9 34.7 33.8 32.5
42.7 37.5 39.5 39.0
47.9 37.5 42.6 43.6
50.0 52.8 49.8 52.1
59.4 55.0 56.3 62.0
64.8 62.8 59.3 66.2
60.0 53.9 58.0 64.9

48.1 40.6 42.8 44.4

1925 1926 1927

1929 1930



1931 1932

32.0 26.5
22.0 16.5
23.0 18.0
22.0 15.5
20.0 14.7
21.0 18.3
25.0 21.0
28.5 25.0
32.0 28.2
37.5 31.5
38.0 32.6
33.0 35.2

27.9 23.5

40.4 41.5


Florida Cooperative Extension



The mortality sustained in most flocks of growing chicks is
entirely too high. In the majority of instances such mortality
is due mainly to diseases and parasites. However, the quality
of the chick and the character of management must be given
Some chicks are weak when hatched, primarily due to poor
management and improper selection of the breeding stock. Only
strong, healthy birds should be placed in the breeding pens. Eggs
of normal shape and good size should be used for hatching
purposes. Hatching eggs should be used only from birds from
large families and inclined to long life.
Diarrhea is not a disease but a symptom of the derangement
of the digestive organs. It occurs rather frequently.
Diarrhea in chicks may be caused by such irregularities as
faulty feeding, crowding and exposure to extreme temperatures
such as overheating and chilling which produce a congestion in
the intestines and lungs. Eating sand and other indigestible
matter will induce cases of diarrhea in young chicks.
This form of diarrhea is sometimes called non-specific diarrhea
because it may be caused by any of a number of factors. The
presence of infectious and parasitic diseases should be investi-
gated. If the diarrhea is not due to these causes consideration
must be given the brooding and feeding practices.
(Bacillary White Diarrhea, B. W. D.)
Pullorum disease is caused by a specific bacterium, Salmonella
pullorum, which is found in the tissues of affected baby chicks.
The infection may also be found in chicks which do not succumb
to the disease, but which survive and grow to adult birds. The
infection becomes localized in the ovary. These hens lay many
infected eggs. The disease in baby chicks usually originates
from eggs laid by such infected hens. Incubators and brooders
may also be a source of infection. The infection may be readily
carried from infected day old chicks to healthy flocks of chicks.
The greatest losses from the disease are experienced during the
first three weeks of the life of the chicks. At this time the

Growing Healthy Chicks and Poultry

disease tends to become chronic and although some affected
chicks may die many develop to maturity.
The symptoms of pullorum disease are sleepiness, a tendency
to huddle together under the brooder, labored respiration, droop-
ing wings, diarrhea, and a general unthrifty appearance. Lesions
of the disease are gray areas in the lungs, gray nodules in the
heart muscle, congested intestines, unabsorbed egg yolk, and
small pin point red or brown spots on the surface of the liver.
No treatment has been found to be effective in handling the
disease. The control of an outbreak of pullorum disease depends
on rigid sanitary measures to curb the source of infection.
Secure chicks from eggs laid by hens that are free from the
disease. Pullorum disease can be detected in adult birds by
testing their blood. Keep the spread down in brooder houses
by cleaning all droppings daily, and by removing all sick and
dead chicks as soon as noticed.
After the age of two weeks, coccidiosis is the most fatal
disease of chicks. Coccidiosis is caused by a protozoan organism
of the genus Eimeria, which gains entrance into the chick's body
through the mouth with food and water. There are a number
of species of Eimeria, one species attacking the ceca (blind
pouches) while the remainder attack the first portion of the
intestine (duodenum). The most common source of infection
is the adult bird which becomes a "carrier" of the parasite.
Coccidiosis may be carried over from year to year in this man-
ner. Soil infected by a previous outbreak often serves as a
source of infection. It is also possible that the infection be
carried from one place to another by animals or individuals
coming in contact with contaminated areas.
In young birds the symptoms of coccidiosis are droopy wings
and ruffled feathers; the birds crowd together under the brooder
and usually have no appetite; a diarrhea often develops which
may or may not be tinged with blood; the bird presents a gen-
eral unthrifty appearance. In cecal coccidiosis the droppings
are always bloody. The disease progresses rapidly after the
onset and unless treatment is started immediately the mortality
may be severe.
Post-mortem findings, of chicks that die of coccidiosis, depend
upon the portion of the intestinal tract affected. If the duo-
denum is affected, this part of the intestine will be slightly thick-
ened with numerous hemorrhagic areas over the surface. If the

Florida Cooperative Extension

ceca are affected, similar conditions will be noted with blood
clots usually in the contents of this organ, causing the organ
to be enlarged and have a dark appearance. A microscopic ex-
amination of the contents or scrapings of the affected intestinal
wall will show the presence of coccidia. Such a microscopic
examination is necessary to make a positive diagnosis of coc-
To control and prevent the spread of a disease which is as
easily transmitted as coccidiosis it is necessary to use strict and
rigid sanitation. A smooth floor that can be thoroughly and
mechanically cleaned every other day or a hardware cloth floor
should be provided for the birds. Ordinary disinfectants in
strengths commonly in use should not be employed. Since in-
fection can be carried from infested premises to healthy flocks
on the shoes of people, it is important not to allow visitors in
houses and yards where chicks are kept.
In treating the disease, birds should be fed a ration consisting
of 40 percent dried milk added to the regular mash. If the birds
are laying, dried whey should be used so the protein balance of
the feed will not be materially disturbed. If dried whey is used
the percentage should be reduced to 25 percent, as it contains
a higher percent of lactose. In severe outbreaks of coccidiosis
it is often advisable to place the birds on a straight diet of dried
milk for a day or two, after which they are placed on the ration
described above. The birds should have access to plenty of clean
water. Scratch grain should not be fed. The milk treatment
should be continued for at least 10 days or longer if necessary.
Brooder pneumonia is a respiratory disease that is caused by
a mold which grows on moldy litter and trash. The mold spores
are inhaled in contaminated dust and locate in the lungs, air
passages and air sacs. The growth of this mold in the air
passages produces difficult breathing which has other symptoms
associated with it, such as diarrhea, droopy wings, weakness,
and "going light".
The post-mortem findings are greenish gray exudate in the
air passages and lungs.
There is no effective treatment for this disease. The brooder
house, litter and feed should be kept dry so that molds will not
find a favorable place to grow. This is an important factor in
the prevention of this disease.

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

Infectious laryngotracheitis is commonly called infectious
bronchitis. The chicken has been found to be more susceptible
to this disease than any of the other feathered animals, although
the disease is found to affect turkeys, ducks, pigeons, quail,
blackbirds, and sparrows. This disease will attack fowls of any
age. Younger birds seem to be affected more severely and con-
sequently the mortality is highest in such birds. The mortality
caused by the disease varies between wide limits. The disease
is usually more prevalent in the fall and winter months. Poor
physical condition due to parasitism or other diseases influences
the susceptibility of the individual bird. The disease occurs
frequently as a complicating factor in many outbreaks of roup
and fowl pox.
Infectious laryngotracheitis appears suddenly, spreads rapidly,
and after a duration of four to 12 days terminates as quickly
as it began. Affected birds may die in from one to three days.
The disease has been produced in young chicks by artificial means
in less than 36 hours, but the incubation period in natural out-
breaks is thought to be seven to 12 days. Chronic cases may
occur and are occasionally terminated by sudden death. Death
in such instances is due to cheesy masses in the trachea becom-
ing dislodged to obstruct the passage of air with the result that
suffocation occurs.
The symptoms of the disease are watery eyes, lack of appetite,
difficult breathing manifested by gasping with whistling sounds,
elevation of temperature and decreased egg production. The
symptoms are often more marked at night when birds are on
the roost.
Post-mortem lesions are usually confined to the trachea. The
trachea is found to have accumulations of mucus in its lumen.
Occasionally this mucus becomes hardened and cheesy in ap-
pearance. Frequently the eyes and bony cavities of the head
are involved.
Infectious laryngotracheitis is caused by a virus found in the
tracheal exudate. The disease is easily transmitted by instilling
some of the virus-containing exudate into the trachea of a
healthy bird.
Birds that recover from the infection are found to harbor the
contagion only for 12 to 15 days. A high degree of immunity
is developed in individuals that have had the disease.
Various commercial preparations are sold which may be
sprayed over the birds while on the roost. Many of these prepa-

Florida Cooperative Extension

rations give beneficial results. Individual bird treatment usually
gives excellent results. A mixture of equal parts of oil of euca-
lyptus and mineral oil is secured. Several drops are placed in
a medicine dropper, the nose of the dropper is inserted in the
V-shaped opening on the floor of the bird's mouth and the con-
tents are quickly expelled into the trachea. Affected birds should
be treated twice daily.
Prevention of this disease will necessitate strict sanitary con-
ditions. New birds have been found to be one of the main
sources of introduction of the disease. All new birds brought
on the premises should be held in quarantine for at least two
The Florida Agricultural Experiment Station has recently
announced that certain organisms of the paratyphoid and typhoid
groups of bacteria are the primary cause of these two diseases
and that a number of other conditions commonly associated with
outbreaks of fowl paralysis and leukemia are also caused by
these same organisms.
It has also been shown by repeated experiments that diseases
of this group, although caused by germs, occur most frequently
only in birds in which there is an inflammation of the intestinal
tract most commonly caused by roundworms, coccidia, tape-
worms, and capillaria. In other words, the presence of inflam-
mation of the intestinal tract opens an avenue of infection for
the causative organism which must gain access into the blood
stream in order to induce one of this group of diseases.
Blindness or "gray eyes", paralysis of one or both legs, lame-
ness, incoordinated gait, paralysis of a wing and twisting of the
neck are common symptoms of paralysis. Leukemic birds show
paleness of the comb and wattles and a general unthrifty ap-
pearance. A post-mortem examination of leukemic birds reveals
a "big liver" and occasionally an enlarged spleen. In most in-
stances other organs appear normal.
Birds should be immediately examined for parasites when the
first symptoms of paralysis or leukemia appear. It is also ad-
visable to place birds on a 15 percent dried whey ration for a
period of 10 days after they have been treated for the parasite
or parasites present. In cases in which the milk treatment is
given for coccidiosis this is not necessary. Rigid sanitation in-
cluding frequent disinfection of the houses and feeding equip-
ment should be practiced.

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

The common roundworm (Ascaridia lineata), the tapeworm,
the cecal worm and capillaria are the common worms infesting
the intestinal tract of chickens. The cecal worm is not of great
importance. Capillaria are assuming more importance and they
may be controlled by the same measures that control round-

In establishing control measures for parasites it is necessary
to know something of their life cycle. The female roundworm
in the intestinal tract of the bird lays eggs which are expelled
in the droppings. A few days after being voided with the drop-
pings a small coiled embryonic worm is formed within the shell
of the worm egg. If this embryonated egg is eaten by the chick,
it will develop into a mature worm in four to eight weeks.
An important factor
in the control of parasites
is to attempt to break
their life cycle. This may
be accomplished in the
case of roundworms by
allowing the chicks to
have access to yards rel-
atively free from round-
worm eggs. It is advis-
able to remove the drop-
pings at least every other
day to guard against
spreading an infestation be
of roundworms that may
have gained entrance in-
to the flock. As soon as
the chicks are put on the
roosts, the dropping
boards should be wired Fig. 19.--0n post-mortem examination,
with poultry netting so this bird was found to be infested with
roundworms and tapeworms.
they do not have access
to the droppings. Grain should be fed in troughs rather than on
the ground or in the litter.
All tapeworms attach themselves by hooks or suckers to the
intestinal wall and grow into lengths varying from 1/16 inch to

Florida Cooperative Extension

7 or 8 inches, depending upon the species. They are flat and
consist of a series of segments. When the segments have reached
maturity, they become detached and are expelled with the drop-
pings. Each segment of the tapeworm contains many eggs.
The membrane of the segment disintegrates, exposing the eggs.
Flies, earthworms, beetles, snails or slugs may eat the eggs. The
parasite then reaches what is called the "cyst" stage of develop-
ment in these hosts. This is the infective stage of the parasite
for the chicken. The tapeworm must complete its life cycle in
an intermediate host. The intermediate host is specific for each
tapeworm. Birds become infested with tapeworms only by eat-
ing the intermediate hosts.
A clean range and the daily removal of droppings is just as
essential in the control of tapeworms as in the control of round-
worms. It is also necessary that the houses and ranges be located
away from breeding places for flies. The cow stall and horse
stable, as well as other chicken pens where droppings are allowed
to accumulate, furnish breeding places for flies. All such ma-
nure should be removed often and scattered thinly over fields
or placed in fly-tight manure pits. The chicken droppings should
never be placed on land on which green feed for chicks is grown.
Snails, slugs and earthworms are usually more abundant in damp
or wet areas.
Treatment for worms in chickens has been much overdone.
The presence of worms in the intestinal tract creates catarrhal
inflammation by irritation of the mucous membrane lining the
intestinal tract. In many cases of worm infestation the parasite
becomes embedded in mucous which handicaps the action of
drugs. It is an impossible task to keep a laying hen absolutely
free of intestinal parasites. It is possible, however, by the judi-
cious use of reliable worm remedies, sanitation and rotation of
yards to keep the parasitic infestation so low that the flock will
not be handicapped. A four-yard rotation system for adult birds
is efficient in most instances. The birds should be moved from
one yard to the next every 30 days. The vacated yard should
be cleaned of rubbish and plowed and, if possible, planted to
green feed.
The treatment recommended by the U. S. Department of Ag-
riculture for roundworms is a 1 c.c. dose of tetrachlorethylene
for adult birds and a reduced dose for younger birds.
For mass treatment the California Agricultural Experiment
Station recommends adding to the mash 2 percent by weight of

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets 39

tobacco dust containing at least 1.5 percent nicotine. This mix-
ture is fed to the flock for a period of three weeks. The treat-
ment may be repeated at three-weeks' intervals as often as
The treatment recommended for tapeworms is kamala. The
average dose for adult birds is 1 gram, but this should be reduced
for younger fowls and weakened birds.
If both roundworms and tapeworms are present, give 1 c.c.
of tetrachlorethylene and follow in three days with a 1-gram
dose of kamala.
Dosing with tetrachlorethylene and kamala at different times
is more efficient than dosing with both drugs at the same time.
Iodine vermicide is also efficient in treating birds for round-
worms and tapeworms. The remedy is given with a catheter and
placed directly into the gizzard from which point it floods the
intestinal tract. The parasites with which the drug comes in
contact are killed. The administration is not difficult, but it does
require some care.
The thought must always be borne in mind that however effi-
cient a worm remedy may be the flock owner must exercise
precautions to keep the flock from becoming reinfested.
Rickets are caused by a lack of vitamin D in the ration. The
disease is characterized by leg weakness, enlarged joints, crooked
bones, and stunted growth. The disease is most common in
young chickens which are kept out of the sunshine and not fed
an adequate amount of green feed.
Treatment of rickets consists in furnishing sunshine, green
feed or cod-liver oil. However, it is much better to prevent
rickets by furnishing these required sources of vitamin D.
"Slipped tendons" occur frequently in battery-fed birds. One
or both legs may become deformed. The condition is due to an
improper balance in the calcium-phosphorus ratio. According
to the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station one and one-
half of calcium to one of phosphorus is most satisfactory for
chickens, while a ratio of two of calcium to one of phosphorus
is more satisfactory for turkeys. Rice bran, ground oats, and
soybean meal often help to prevent "slipped tendons". Crowd-
ing, chilling and overheating are also thought to influence the

Florida Cooperative Extension

Cannibalism among chicks is usually a vicious habit. Any
part of the body that is bare may be pecked by the cannibalistic
chick. Tail feathers are often pulled which results in bleeding;
offending birds peck the body which eventually results in the
death of the bird.
Faulty feeding may bring on such vicious habits, but ordinarily
chicks are fed well enough that cannibalism from this source
is rare. It is usually the overcrowded, closely confined, restless
chicks that form this habit. If chicks are left too long in a
well lighted room without food, they will begin to peck persist-
ently at anything that attracts their attention. Leaving dead
or weak chicks in the brooder house may cause them to acquire
the habit of pecking at each other. Injured chicks or chicks
with bloody droppings adhering to the vent often induce canni-
The prevention of cannibalism consists in correcting these
causes. Heads of cabbage, lettuce or other green feed suspended
in the brooder house so that they swing back and forth will keep
the chicks busy. Painting the windows a red color has been
recommended. The use of a ruby colored bulb in battery brooder
rooms has been found to prevent cannibalism. The placing of
red painted rocks in the battery brooder has been known to
reduce cannibalistic tendencies.

Simple catarrh, commonly called "colds", is a mild inflamma-
tion of the nasal passages, and is found to be common to all
kinds of domesticated birds.
There is no definite causative agent for colds. Weak, under-
nourished birds and those suffering from other diseases are more
likely to be attacked than strong, healthy individuals. Exposure
to drafts, rain, dampness, and other unfavorable conditions
seems to lower the resistance of the nasal mucous membranes
as well as produce a congestion of these membranes and allow
simple catarrh to develop. The disease is recognized by a watery
discharge from one or both nostrils. This watery discharge may
disappear in two or three days, or it may become thicker and
close the nostrils so that the birds breathe through the mouth.
Treatment for colds is usually not necessary for if the pre-
disposing causes are corrected recovery will take place without
any other assistance.

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

Roup is the result of chronic colds. The mucous secretions
become cheesy in consistency and occlude the nasal passages.
The secretions have a characteristic offensive odor. The mucous
membranes of the nasal passages are inflamed and often com-
pletely obstructed by the thick discharge, compelling the bird
to breathe through the mouth. The membranes of the eyes are
congested and inflamed, the inflammation being accompanied by
a thick discharge of pus. The eyelids are extensively swollen,
and often closed. When the eyelids are closed, a cheesy exudate
develops under the lids and as a result of the infection, the eye-
ball itself may become diseased. When the eyeball is diseased,
it is opaque at first, followed by the formation of deep ulcers.
Finally the eyeball is completely destroyed. Swollen areas may
develop just below and in front of the eye on one or both sides
as a result of the infection gaining entrance into the lacrimal

Fig. 20.-The eye of a hen with an advanced case of roup. The eyelids
have cheesy accumulations underneath them.

All sick birds should be removed from the flock and put in a
dry, well-ventilated room free of drafts. The affected membranes
of the eyes, mouth, and nostrils should then be treated with
antiseptic solutions. The solution may be forced into these areas

Florida Cooperative Extension

with a syringe or a medicine dropper. Dipping the bird's head
into a basin of the solution is sometimes beneficial. Potassium
permanganate, one teaspoonful to a pint of water, is a suitable
antiseptic solution. In cases where the eyes are badly affected
a few drops of 15 percent argyrol solution introduced between
the eyelids twice daily is beneficial. All cheese-like accumula-
tions should be removed before treatment. In cases in which
the swellings are confined to the lacrimal duct the contents may
be pressed out through the eyes or mouth. When this cannot
be done a bold incision should be made into the swelling and the
contents removed, after which the wound should be swabbed
with tincture of iodine.
Chickenpox is an infectious disease of fowls which is charac-
terized by reddish gray nodules, ulcer-like sores and crust-like
scabs which occur usually on the unfeathered portions of the
head and may occur on other unfeathered portions of the body.
This disease has been called by many names; such as, sorehead,
contagious epithelioma, avian variola, and canker. The disease
is oftentimes complicated with cheese-like deposits in the mouth
and in the upper respiratory passages. Often roup and infec-
tious laryngotracheitis are associated with chickenpox. In this
climate the disease itself seldom induces the death of the bird
but the secondary complications bring about death in many birds.
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 at the age
of eight to 10 weeks or when the pullets are usually separated
from the cockerels. At least birds should be vaccinated before
reaching maturity.
The vaccine contains the live virus and requires considerable
care in handling as it is capable of spreading the disease. Only
birds that are well, strong and vigorous should be vaccinated.
Heavily parasitized birds should not be vaccinated. The weak-
lings should be culled from the flock and allowed to become
strong before being vaccinated. If any other diseases are pres-
ent in the flock, the birds should not be vaccinated. If such
birds are vaccinated bad results begin seven to 14 days after
vaccination. Deaths often occur.
The location to apply the vaccine by the follicle method is on
the leg about two inches above the hock joint. Pluck about four
to six feathers and apply the vaccine with a small camelhair

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

brush by dipping in the vaccine and rubbing it over the de-
feathered part. Always follow the directions given with the
In the stick method the vaccine may be applied to either the
web of the wing or the triangular unfeathered area 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 six to eight days the reaction of the vaccine appears in the
form of a scab at the point of vaccination.
The immunity has been found to last from six months up to
death of the bird. Birds should be examined 10 days after vac-
cination to note the number of "takes", which are determined
by the presence of a well-formed scab at the site of vaccination.
It is not advisable to treat only a part of a flock. All birds
should be vaccinated that have not had the disease or been
vaccinated before.
Vaccinated birds should not be moved to other flocks under
three weeks after vaccination.
Pigeonpox vaccine may be used on flocks in which the disease
is occurring. The use of pigeonpox 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.
To understand the results to be expected from any control
measure used against sticktight fleas it is necessary to know
something about their life cycle. The eggs are deposited by the
adult flea while it is attached to the host. They fall under roosts
in chicken houses or under sheds frequented by poultry, where
they continue to develop. When dogs and cats are infested the
immature stages develop largely in the material used by the
animals for bedding. Fleas require comparatively dry material
in which to develop, but a large amount of air moisture is favor-
able to them. Adults continue to emerge from infested trash
for four to five months after all hosts have been removed, which
explains the reason for houses being infested with sticktight
fleas after being unused for considerable periods.
The most successful method of killing sticktight fleas on
chickens and dogs is to apply grease to the patches of fleas.
Vaseline or lard answers the purpose.
Following the ridding of infested animals of adult fleas it is
important to destroy the immature fleas, which are constantly

Florida Cooperative Extension

becoming grown and reinfesting animals. The scattering of
salt about the chicken houses and then wetting has proven a very
satisfactory method of control. The chickens should not be per-
mitted to eat the salt. Others have found that by sprinkling
the breeding places with crude oil fleas can be controlled. Very
good results have been accomplished by spraying infested areas
with creosote oil. A light spraying seems to kill the adult fleas
almost instantly and apparently has some destructive effect on
the immature stages. Creosote oil should not be used on grass
and should not be allowed to strike the chicken or animal, as
it is rather caustic.
The common red or gray chicken mite is a blood sucking para-
site that feeds on the chickens at night and crawls away to hide
beneath the roost poles and in other cracks during the daytime.
Usually its presence is first noticed when some of the mites get
on the poultryman's hands. A careful examination will reveal
masses of the mites hiding in the cracks in the roost and other
parts of the poultry house. In heavily infested houses the chick-
ens may become droopy and weak from the harmful effects of
the mites. Sitting hens will desert their nests when the nests
become heavily infested.
The mites, although not hard to kill, are difficult to reach in
their hiding places. Therefore, the first step is to get rid of the
hiding places as far as possible. The nesting material should
be removed and burned, and all loose, unnecessary boards re-
moved. A spray of creosote oil should be used and forced into
the cracks. The products that are effective against mites are
creosote oil, carbolineum, crude petroleum, waste crank-case oil,
and kerosene. The roosts, floors and interior of the house should
be sprayed or painted.
The lice found on poultry have biting mouth parts and feed
on portions of feathers or on scabs from the skin. They are
unlike the mite in that they spend their lives on the chicken,
and will live for only a few hours off the body of the chicken.
Several drugs have been found that will destroy lice on chickens.
The two outstanding ones are sodium fluoride and a 40 percent
solution of nicotine sulfate.
Sodium fluoride may be secured in the powdered form. It
may be applied either in the powdered form by the pinch method
or by making a solution and dipping the chickens. In the pinch

Growing Healthy Chicks and Pullets

method the dust is applied by holding the chicken with one hand
and placing the sodium fluoride among the feathers with the
other hand as follows: one pinch on the head, one on the neck,
two on the back, one on the breast, one below the vent, one on
the tail, one on each thigh, and one scattered on the underside
of each wing when spread. Each pinch should be spread among
the feathers as the material is released. By holding the chicken
over a large pan some of the drug that would ordinarily be lost
is saved and can be used again.
The dipping method should be used only on warm days and
then should be used early in the day so that the chickens will
get dry before night. The dipping method properly used is more
effective than the pinch method. The solution for dipping is
made by dissolving 3/4 to 1 ounce of sodium fluoride in each
gallon of water. The water should be slightly warm. It is not
necessary to keep the chicken under the solution longer than
20 to 30 seconds and the head only an instant. The feathers
should be ruffled while the body is beneath the water so as to
allow the solution to penetrate to the skin.
The 40 percent nicotine solution is used by applying undiluted
to the roost poles 30 minutes before the chickens go to roost.
The directions for its use will be found on the container and
should be followed carefully.

Care and Management of Baby Chicks-New Jersey Experiment Station
Circular 169-W. C. Thompson and N. R. Mehrhof.
Brooding and Pullet Management-California Agri. Extension Circular 28
-W. E. Newlon and M. W. Buster.
How to Raise Chicks-Purdue Extension Bulletin 177-C. W. Carrick.
When Should Chicks Be Given First Feed-Poultry Science Vol. VII, No. 5
-R. E. Roberts.
The Influence of Starving and Feeding Mash and Scratch Grain, Respec-
tively, at Different Times on Yolk Absorption in Chicks-Poultry Sci-
ence Vol. IX, No. 5--B. W. Heywang and M. A. Jull.
Feeding Chickens-U. S. Department of Agriculture Farmers' Bulletin 1541
-M. A. Jull and A. R. Lee.
Raising Chicks-Ohio Agricultural Extension Bulletin 59-R. E. Craig and
C. M. Ferguson.
Poultry Husbandry-M. A. Jull-McGraw Hill Book Company.
Diseases and Parasites of Poultry-U. S. Depart. of Agriculture Farmers'
Bull. 1652-J. S. Buckley, H. Bunyea, E. Cram.
The Home Made Brick Brooder-Alabama Agricultural Extension Circular
111-G. A. Trollope and M. T. Gowder.

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