(A Revision of Bulletin 128)
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN
AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
AND UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
H. G. CLAYTON, DIRECTOR
Brooding Chicks, Producing
Broilers, Raising Pullets
N. R. MEHRHOF, Poultry Husbandman
J. S. MOORE, Extension Poultryman
Single copies free to Florida residents upon request to
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE
BOARD OF CONTROL
Frank M. Harris, Chairman Eli H. Fink, Jacksonville
St. Petersburg W. Glenn Miller, Monticello
Hollis Rinehart, Miami Geo. W. English, Jr., Ft. Lauderdale
George J. White, Sr., Mt. Dora Mrs. Jessie B. duPont, Jacksonville
W. F. Powers, Secretary, Tallahassee
STAFF, AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE
J. Hillis Miller, Ph.D., President of the University
J. Wayne Reitz, Ph.D., Provost for Agriculture
H. G. Clayton, M.S.A., Director of Extension
Marshall 0. Watkins, M. Agr., Assistant Director
F. W. Parvin, B.S.A., Assistant to the Director 2
Rogers L. Bartley, B.S., Administrative Assistant1
Agricultural Demonstration Work, Gainesville
J. Francis Cooper, M.S.A., Editor'
Clyde Beale, A.B.J., Associate Editor
L. 0. Griffith, A.B.J., Assistant Editor
J. N. Joiner, B.S.A., Assistant Editor
J. Lee Smith, District Agent
K. S. McMullen, B.S.A., District Agent
F. S. Perry, B.S.A., District Agent
H. S. McLendon, B.A., Soil Conservationist
R. S. Dennis, B.S.A., Executive Officer, P. & M. Admin."
C. W. Reaves, B.S.A., Dairy Husbandman
N. R. Mehrhof, M. Agr., Poultry Husbandman
J. S. Moore, M.S.A., Poultryman
A. W. O'Steen, B.S.A., Supervisor, Egg-Laying Test, Chipley
T. J. Cunha, Ph.D., Animal Industrialist
O. F. Goen, D.V.M., Animal Husbandman
L. T. Nieland, Farm Forester
H. G. Hamilton, Ph.D., Agricultural Economist
Charles M. Hampson, M.S., Agricultural Economist, Farm Management
D. E. Timmons, M.S.A., Economist in Marketing 2
E. W. Cake, Ph.D., Marketing Economist
Clyde E. Murphree, M.S., Assistant Economist
Fred P. Lawrence, B.S.A., Citriculturist
W. W. Brown, B.S.A., Boys' 4-H Club Agent
John M. Johnson, B.S.A., Agricultural Engineer
A. M. Pettis, B.S.A., Farm Electrification Specialist
John D. Haynie, B.S.A., Apiculturist
V. L. Johnson, Rodent Control Specialist
J. Russell Henderson, M.S.A., Agronomist
F. S. Jamison, Ph.D., Vegetable Crops Specialist1 2
Stanley E. Rosenberger, M. Agr., Assistant Vegetable Crops Specialist
Forrest E. Myers, M. Agr., Assistant Vegetable Crops Specialist
Home Demonstration Work, Tallahassee
Anna Mae Sikes, M.S., State Agent
Ethyl Holloway, B.S., District Agent
Mrs. Edyth Y. Barrus, B.S.H.E., District Agent
Joyce Bevis, A.M., District Agent
Mrs. Bonnie J. Carter, B.S., Home Improvement Specialist
Mrs. Gladys Kendall, A.B., Home Industries and Marketing Specialist
Lorene Stevens, B.S., State Girls' 4-H Club Agent
Bronna Mae Elkins, B.S.H.E., Assistant Girls' 4-H Club Agent
Cleo M. Arnett, M.S., Extension Nutritionist
Helen D. Holstein, M.S., Food Conservation Specialist
Alice L. Cromartie, M.S., Assistant Economist in Food Conservation
Katherine Simpson, M.S., Extension Clothing Specialist
Alma Warren, M.S., Assistant Editor and Visual Aids Specialist
Frances C. Cannon, M.S'., Health Education Specialist
Negro Extension Work, Tallahassee
Floy Britt, B.S.H.E., Negro District Agent
J. A. Gresham, B.S.A., Negro District Agent
1Cooperative, other divisions, U. of F. 2 On leave. In cooperation with U. S.
BREEDS OF CHICKENS ......................... .... ... --- ----------- 5
METHODS OF GETTING STARTED ..-..--..........---------------- ------------ 7
H watching E ggs ............................. ........ .......... 7
Baby Chicks ...................... . ............... --- ---.. ..... ...... 8
Started Chicks .............. ......------- .......-.....-......-...--.. ... 9
10- to 12-W eeks-Old Pullets -.............. ...... ........ ... ..- .. .... 9
Ready-to-Lay Pullets ................ ------------ ---- ----------------------- 9
Breeding Stock .-. ................-------.................... 9
THE NATIONAL POULTRY IMPROVEMENT PLAN ...........-.................----... 10
POULTRY CALCULATIONS ....-...-....- ----..--....- .....-...-.- ---. .... 10
W HEN TO BUY ................- ..-- ... -- ----------------------- 12
INCUBATION ............-- ..--- ..---- --.. ..- 12
BROODING PRINCIPLES -..........-...-----------------....------- . -- 14
Brooder House Suggestions ................. --------.. --- .. .. ...... .15
Brooding Equipment ................. ---- -----------.-------....----......- 16
Brooding Practices .................... .. -...---------- ......... 20
Battery Brooders .............. .........----- -- .----- --- ---......24
Battery H house ...............------------ -- ..----- ..... -------------- 25
Management of Battery Brooding .................-... ..-.. .... -- ------ 28
GROWING PULLETS ON RANGE .............-----...........-.....-- 29
Summer Ranges and Shelters .......-........-..------ -----. ..... 29
GROWTH STANDARDS AND FEED CONSUMPTION ...........---....------- ----------...- 31
HOUSING PULLETS IN LAYING HOUSES ...........-..-......... ----......-..-...- 32
BROILER PRODUCTION ............------------------... .......------.. 33
SANITATION AND DISEASE CONTROL PROGRAM .........-....-......- ..-...----------- 35
DISINFECTANTS AND ANTISEPTICS ................... ..----- ................--.. 36
CHICKENPOX ............-- .- .........-- ------ ... ...........-- ... -- 36
CANNIBALISM ....... ..... ...--............................. 37
COCCIDIOSIS ...............-- .... ..-- .. ... ..............------ -- --- 38
NEWCASTLE DISEASE ............... ..... ................... .. ............... 39
GROW HEALTHY CHICKS
Six Important Steps:
1. Hatch early Before April 15.
2. Start with clean eggs and chicks pullorum clean.
3. Keep brooder houses clean sweep, scrub and spray.
4. Use clean land two- or three-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 six steps results in healthier chicks, broilers
Keep chick mortality below 10 percent.
Failure to adopt one or more steps results in higher mortality,
higher costs and lower returns. See Tables 1 and 2.
Brooding Chicks, Producing Broilers,
By N. R. MEHRHOF and J. S. MOORE 1
The success of a poultryman 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.
BREEDS OF CHICKENS
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.
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,
Minorcas, Cross-breeds and Inbred Crosses. The dual- or general-
purpose breeds include the New Hampshires, Rhode Island Reds,
Plymouth Rocks and Wyandottes. The meat breeds are comr
posed of Jersey Black Giants, Cornish and Brahma.
TABLE 1.-FOUR-YEAR AVERAGE RESULTS, GROW HEALTHY CHICKS CAM-
PAIGN, SHOWING IMPORTANCE OF ADOPTING THE 6 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 two factors.
1 This is a revision of Bulletin 128, Raising Chicks, Broilers and Pullets
prepared by N. R. Mehrhof and A. W. O'Steen.
Florida Cooperative Extension
The first factor to consider is the type of poultry farming to
be done. Poultry raisers who are interested primarily in table
or market egg production should select one of the egg breeds or
one 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. Re-
cently, Cross-breeds and Inbred Crosses have been used to pro-
duce market eggs.
For the general farm or backyard poultry producer, one of the
general-purpose breeds would be preferable.
TABLE 2.-RELATION OF CHICK MORTALITY ONE YEAR TO EGG PRODUCTION,
ADULT MORTALITY AND RETURNS THE FOLLOWING YEAR.*
Value of Eggs
Percent Mortality Eggs Over
Chicks Layers per Bird Feed Costs
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 the late F. W. Brumley, formerly Extension Economist,
from records kept by Florida poultrymen.
Fig. 1.-Ready-to-lay pullets on range, housed in summer shelter.
Brooding Chicks, Producing Broilers, Raising Pullets 7
The broiler producers in Florida are using one of the general-
purpose breeds. At this time the New Hampshire, bred for
broiler production, is the most popular in Florida. A few broiler
producers are using White Plymouth Rocks and Cross-breeds.
METHODS OF GETTING STARTED
There are several methods of starting into the poultry busi-
ness, such as by the purchase of
1. Hatching eggs
2. Baby chicks
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,
good egg size, fast rate of growth, livability and freedom from
disease, and be typical of the breed.
Fig. 2.-Permanent type broiler house under construction.
Florida Cooperative Extension
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 Color.-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 three or four 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 seven 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.
4. Obtain chicks from stock which has been tested
and found to be free of pullorum disease.
Brooding Chicks, Producing Broilers, Raising Pullets 9
TABLE 3.-CHICK COST PER PULLET WITH VARYING PERCENTAGES OF
MORTALITY AND CULLING AND DIFFERENT PRICES FOR BABY CHICKS.
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 two to four 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 some demand
for these started chicks because 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.
10- TO 12-WEEKS-OLD PULLETS
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.
One can make a start in the poultry business by purchasing
breeding stock. The person who is interested in high quality
Florida Cooperative Extension
stock and is planning to develop his farm into a poultry breed-
ing farm will find that this method is very satisfactory but
BUY QUALITY NO MATTER HOW YOU START.
THE NATIONAL POULTRY IMPROVEMENT PLAN
The following terms and definitions describe the various
breeding stages and pullorum control classes used in the N.P.I.P.
U. S. Fla. Approved.-Flocks meeting reasonable requirements for type,
color and egg production.
U. S. Fla. Certified.-Certified flocks are headed by R. O. P. males.
U. S. Fla. R. O. P. (Record of Performance).-These flocks are officially
trap nested and supervised under R. O. P. regulations.
U. S. Fla. R. O. M. (Register of Merit).-This is the highest breeding
stage of the Plan. It registers progeny tested R. O. P. males and
Pullorum Control Classes
U. S. Fla. Pullorum Passed.-Flocks may qualify for a pullorum passed
rating on one test without reactors.
U. S. Fla. Pullorum Clean.-To qualify flocks must pass two consecutive
annual tests for pullorum disease without reactors or three negative
tests made 30 days apart.
NOTE: Flocks developed from chicks from pullorum clean or pullorum
passed hatcheries can qualify as pullorum clean on one test with-
For more detailed discussion of this plan, write the State
Livestock Sanitary Board, Tallahassee.
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 (mortality and culling) and for incorrect sexing.
Number of Chicks Needed.-Each year poultry raisers are
confronted with the problem of knowing just how many chicks
to purchase or hatch.
Brooding Chicks, Producing Broilers, Raising Pullets 11
These two items should be considered to determine the num-
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 two-thirds of the laying flock is
composed of pullets. The percentage of pullets in the flock varies
considerably from farm to farm. There are some 100% pullet
flocks. Some of the factors which tend to influence this per-
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
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.
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 five hatching eggs or 21/2 to three
straight-run chicks to produce one 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, or 750 pullet chicks, are needed for each
500 good ready-to-lay pullets.
Florida Cooperative Extension
WHEN TO BUY
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 five to seven months of age, when the
price of eggs is high.
Leghorns start to lay in five or six months. The general-
purpose breeds New Hampshires, Rhode Island Reds, Ply-
mouth Rocks start to lay in six or seven months.
Some poultrymen hatch in January to have late summer pro-
duction. Others have found it desirable to start chicks three or
four 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.
Broiler production in Florida is now a year-around business.
Chicks are started at all seasons of the year.
One man should handle at least 10,000 broilers at a time and
repeat this operation four times a year.
Hatcheries are an important part of the poultry industry of
Florida and the United States. Practically all of the chickens
raised on farms are purchased from hatcheries as baby chicks.
All of the broiler chicks are produced by commercial hatcheries.
One hundred and two hatcheries in Florida with a capacity of
41/2 million hatching eggs produced slightly more than 20 million
chicks in 1951.
HATCHING CHICKS UNDER HENS
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. Lighter weight breeds, such
as 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
Shape the nest so that the entire setting (about 15 eggs) is
in one layer with the center of the nest slightly lower than the
outside to prevent the eggs from rolling out of the nest.
Brooding Chicks, Producing Broilers, Raising Pullets 13
Setting the Hen.-Before setting the hen dust her thoroughly
with sodium fluoride to control lice. 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 IN INCUBATORS
Hatching chicks in incubators has several advantages over
hatching chicks under a broody hen.
1. The chicks can be hatched at any time of the year.
2. A larger number can be hatched at one time.
3. Less labor is necessary.
Fig. 3.-A cabinet type of incubator.
(Courtesy Smith Incubator Co.)
Florida Cooperative Extension
4. Incubation is absolutely necessary if breeder or flock owner
plans to sell chicks.
There are four factors involved in operating an incubator:
Temperature, 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 1030 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.
CHECK CAREFULLY WITH INSTRUCTIONS FURNISHED
Ventilation.-Proper ventilation is essential for good incuba-
tion to provide an adequate amount of oxygen for the growing
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 four to six 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.
STUDY INSTRUCTIONS OF MANUFACTURER OF INCU-
BATOR. FOLLOW DIRECTIONS.
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.
Brooding Chicks, Producing Broilers, Raising Pullets 15
There are two methods of brooding chicks, natural and arti-
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.
Artificial Brooding.-Artificial methods of brooding have
made it possible to raise large numbers of chicks at one 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.
BROODER HOUSE SUGGESTIONS
Portable and permanent houses are used to brood baby chicks.
Portable brooder houses are popular for brooding chicks for
layers, while permanent brooder houses are used for broiler
Fig. 4.-Four different types of colony brooder houses.
Florida Cooperative Extension
Land for brooder houses, including the yards and ranges,
should be well drained. Proper air and water drainage is im-
Portable brooder houses should be well constructed to facili-
tate moving. 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 may be moved to clean
land. Permanent brooder houses 24'-30' in width, with length
up to several hundred feet, are being used for raising broilers.
A good brooder house provides comfort for the chicks. The
floor should be kept dry and the roof waterproof. There should
be ample ventilation without drafts.
The floor in a portable brooder house is generally of solid wood
construction while the floor of a permanent broiler house gener-
ally is of dirt covered with "built-up" litter.
Have the brooder house in readiness before the chicks arrive.
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
Fig. 5.-Drum-type oil-burning stove.
Brooding Chicks, Producing Broilers, Raising Pullets 17
Fig. 6.-A complete farm brooder 3' x 10', including brooding and
sunporch units. Note lamp, feeder and waterers.
Fig. 7.-Gas brooder, showing hover, equipment, chicks and brooder ring.
Florida Cooperative Extension
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.-Gas, oil, electricity, wood or coal is used as fuel. The
first three 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 com-
plete details write for Circular 82, "A Simple Farm Brooder
Gas Brooder.-Gas brooders, though relatively new, are fast
gaining in popularity. These brooders are regulated by a
thermostat which controls the flow of gas to the burner and are
easy to operate.
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.
Small metal or wooden feeders should be used after the chicks
are a few days old. These feeders should be non-wasting, be easy
for the chicks to reach, and keep out the chicks. Allow about
Brooding Chicks, Producing Broilers, Raising Pullets 19
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.
Fig. 8.-A good type of
outdoor hopper for use on
Waterers.-It is very important to have plenty of water for
chicks of all ages. For baby chicks 1-quart to 1-gallon con-
tainers are satisfactory. As the chicks become older, 3-, 5- or
Fig. 9.-Two types of water vessels for growing birds.
Florida Cooperative Extension
8-gallon waterers are suitable. The 5- and 8-gallon waterers
are used on the range for growing pullets.
Automatic waterers of several types are being used with satis-
faction on broiler farms and in large permanent brooding and
rearing houses and in some cases on 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 if waterers are on range.
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-
bottomed 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.
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" above the ground so droppings can be re-
moved 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-
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 two 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
Brooding Chicks, Producing Broilers, Raising Pullets 21
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 gas, 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
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 successively 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 two or three 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.
Also a ring of aluminum or tin sheeting or rubber roofing the
same size as the poultry netting may be used. 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.
For chicks going on the range, it is most important that they
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, 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.
Florida Cooperative Extension
When chicks first start using the yards it may be necessary to
drive them back into the house for the first few days. Chicks
grown for broilers are generally kept in the houses until mar-
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
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.
Chicks are ready for feed and water just as soon as they are
Fig. 10.-A wire ring around the hover helps teach the chicks
the source of heat.
Brooding Chicks, Producing Broilers, Raising Pullets 23
put in the brooder house. 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 two or three 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
2 pints to 100 pounds of feed, or the amount as recommended
on the container) or D-activated animal sterol 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 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.
Chicks for broiler production are generally fed a feed especi-
ally designed for rapid growth. The common procedure is to
feed an all-mash ration throughout the period, supplemented in
some cases with pellets or grain.
Prevent Crowding.-Too many chicks in a house or yard are
not the only causes 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).
Teach Chicks to Roost Early.-Provide perches made of 1"
x 2" strips with wire on the under sides when chicks are three
to four weeks old. Raise the perches as the chicks get older.
This will prevent crowding and give a better circulation of air.
Broiler chicks will not require roosts.
Milk Products.-In figuring quantities of different types of
milk products to use, the following will serve as a guide: 1
Florida Cooperative Extension
pound of skimmilk powder equals about 3.3 pounds of semi-solid
or condensed milk or 11/4, gallons of fresh skimmilk.
TABLE 4.-RELATION BETWEEN FLOOR SPACE AND MORTALITY OF CHICKS.*
Floor Space for Number of Number of Mortality
100 Chicks Chicks I Deaths to 3 Months
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. Agr. Ext. Cir. 28, Brooding and Pullet Management, W. E. Newlon and M. W.
Battery brooders consist of brooding compartments one above
the other, either three, four or five decks high, with wire floors
and metal pans for collecting the droppings. Each compart-
ment is generally provided with a heating unit. Feed and water
troughs are arranged around the outside of each compartment.
There are two types of batteries used. The warm room
brooder, which is a battery without a heated compartment, and
the battery equipped with a heating system for each compart-
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 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 one room plenty of air is needed, and a fan-
controlled ventilation system is indispensable.
Brooding Chicks, Producing Broilers, Raising Pullets 25
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 relative 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 600 and 800 F.
TABLE 5.-SPACE AND AIR REQUIREMENTS OF CHICKS IN BATTERY ROOMS
i Estimated Number
Estimates Battery Floor of Cubic Feet of
Age of Floor Space Chicks per 100 Air Required Each
Chicks per Square Feet Minute
100 Chicks 3 of Floor Space 3 by 100 Birds
weeks sq. ft. number I 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.
2 The 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.
SThis 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.
6 Data not available.
Size of the battery room will be determined by number of
chicks to be brooded and number and size of batteries to be used.
It is advisable to select your batteries first and then build a house
to fit the batteries. Batteries should be placed so as to allow
plenty of room for the attendant to work between them.
Florida Cooperative Extension
Fig. 11.-Battery brooder, unheated type.
Fig. 12.-Types of starter, grower and finishing batteries.
Florida Cooperative Extension
MANAGEMENT OF BATTERY BROODING
Placing too many chicks in each battery unit is a common
mistake made by beginners in the battery brooding business.
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.
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.
Fig. 13.-Summer shelters or range houses on bermuda sod.
Brooding Chicks, Producing Broilers, Raising Pullets 29
GROWING PULLETS ON RANGE
Pullets which are to be placed as potential egg producers
should be moved to clean, well-sodded range. This moving is
generally done when the cockerels and pullets are separated.
These growing pullets will be housed in summer range shelters
(see Fig. 13). Do not crowd.
SUMMER RANGES AND SHELTERS
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
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.
KEEP YOUNG CHICKS AND GROWING BIRDS AWAY
FROM OLD BIRDS.
In feeding the growing pullets, grain is generally fed when
they are about eight 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 one 5- or 8-gallon waterer for each range
Fig. 14.-Portable brooder, rearing or laying houses on a well sodded range.
Florida Cooperative Extension
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.
Brooding Chicks, Producing Broilers, Raising Pullets 31
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.
It may be necessary to increase the amount of grain or to feed
a fattening mash in addition to the regular feed if the pullets
are developing too rapidly.
Too much protein in the feed will have a tendency to bring
the pullets into production too early.
GROWTH STANDARDS AND FEED CONSUMPTION
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.
TABLE 6.-APPROXIMATE AVERAGE WEIGHT PER CHICK IN POUNDS, BY
in S. C. White Leghorns Dual-Purpose Breeds
Weeks Cockerels Pullets Cockerels Pullets
0 0.09 0.09 0.09 0.09
2 0.25 0.22 0.27 0.24
4 0.54 0.44 0.61 0.52
6 1.08 0.90 1.34 1.06
8 1.61 1.27 2.23 1.71
10 2.20 1.73 3.18 2.40
12 2.68 2.14 3.72 2.93
14 3.12 2.49 4.08 1 3.21
16 3.44 2.70 4.41 3.49
18 3.67 3.02 4.80 3.86
20 3.99 3.37 5.33 4.24
22 4.36 3.62 5.72 4.45
24 4.62 3.85 6.03 4.67
Jull-Successful Poultry Management. McGraw-Hill.
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
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be due to low quality of breeding stock, faulty diets or improper
TABLE 7.-APPROXIMATE AVERAGE NUMBER OF POUNDS OF FEED REQUIRED
PER POUND OF LIVE BODY WEIGHT AT DIFFERENT AGES IN RELATION TO
THE AVERAGE NUMBER OF POUNDS OF FEED CONSUMED PER BIRD AND THE
AVERAGE LIVE BODY WEIGHT PER BIRD, BOTH SEXES IN APPROXIMATELY
EQUAL NUMBERS, REARED ON RANGE.*
White Leghorns General Purpose Breeds
I Average Average IAverage I Average
Number I Number Number I Number
Average of of Average of of
Weeks Weight I Pounds Pounds Weight Pounds Pounds
per Bird, I of Feed of Feed per Bird, of Feed of Feed
Pounds Con- per Lb. Pounds Con- per Lb.
sumed of Live I sumed I of Live
__per Bird Weight | per Bird Weight
4 0.49 1.15 2.87 0.56 1.30 2.77
8 1.44 4.00 2.96 1.97 5.50 2.93
12 2.41 8.00 3.45 3.32 10.50 3.25
16 3.07 13.00 4.37 3.95 16.00 4.14
20 3.68 18.00 5.01 4.78 22.00 4.69
24 4.23 24.00 5.79 5.35 28.00 5.23
Jull-Successful Poultry Management. McGraw-Hill.
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
posses 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. (See Bul. 149, Selecting and Culling Poultry.)
HOUSING PULLETS IN LAYING HOUSES
The pullets on the range should be moved to their permanent
laying quarters about two or three weeks before they come into
production. Moving them after they are in production may re-
Brooding Chicks, Producing Broilers, Raising Pullets 33
suit 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 three 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 two
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
one age. These broiler producers handle two, three or four lots
At present practically all commercial broiler plants are de-
signed to produce broilers on the floor, using "built-up" litter.
Fig. 17.-A suitable type laying house, with good grass range, for pullets.
Florida Cooperative Extension
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.-Practically all chicks grown for broilers
today are fed a broiler ration from the start until they are
marketed at 10-11 weeks of age. All-mash or small pellets and
water are kept before the chicks at all times. Table 8 gives data
on pounds of feed required per pound of live weight.
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
birds at time of sale, overcrowding, mortality, breeds, feeding
practices and marketing practices.
TABLE 8.-APPROXIMATE GROWTH AND FEED CONSUMPTION OF BROILERS
Age Live Weight Weekly Gain Weekly Feed Feed
Weeks Lbs. Lbs. Lbs. Lbs.
1 0.17 0.09 0.19 0.19
2 0.29 0.12 0.33 0.52
3 0.53 0.24 0.42 0.94
4 0.79 0.26 0.55 1.49
5 1.11 0.32 0.78 2.27
6 1.47 0.36 1.03 3.30
7 1.88 0.41 1.07 4.37
8 2.23 0.35 1.24 5.61
9 2.59 0.36 1.42 7.03
10 2.95 0.36 1.54 8.57
11 3.27 0.32 1.60 10.17
12 3.51 0.24 1.83 12.00
Compiled from various sources.
Percentage Distribution of Costs.-The cost of producing
broilers 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.
Brooding Chicks, Producing Broilers, Raising Pullets 35
Feed and chicks are the most important two items of expense
in producing broilers.
SANITATION AND DISEASE CONTROL PROGRAM
Prevent Losses.-Disease, of one kind or another, causes some
loss in almost every flock. Poultry raisers should do everything
possible to prevent the spread of disease. Some of the ways by
which parasites and diseases spread are 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.
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 un-
due 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 when not properly
8. Improperly cleaned and disinfected brooder houses.
9. Overcrowding, lack of protection from sudden changes in
temperature, drafts and other unsatisfactory conditions may be
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.
Write Veterinary Science Department, Gainesville, Florida, for
information on diseases and parasites.
Reduce Losses During Growing Period.-Two essentials in
chick raising are good stock and good management.
1This section of the bulletin was prepared by Dr. M. W. Emmel, Vet-
erinarian, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, and the authors are
indebted to him.
Florida Cooperative Extension
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
Good management includes proper care of the stock, maintain-
ing 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.
DISINFECTANTS AND ANTISEPTICS
A disinfectant is a substance which is capable of killing micro-
organisms. In disinfecting poultry houses keep these points in
mind: (1) Use correct strength, (2) the places to be disinfected
should be clean, (3) preferably apply the disinfectant with a
spray pump, and (4) since many disinfectants are very irritat-
ing, protect exposed parts of the operator's body.
Apply disinfectants thoroughly to the interior of the houses
and work them into cracks and crevices. Clean and disinfect
all equipment as well.
Some of the more common disinfectants suggested are:
1. Coal-tar disinfectants with a phenol coefficient of 5 or
above, which include 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. You can use
an old broom to apply the lye solution. Take care to prevent the
fluid from coming in contact with the hands and face. About
one hour after the lye solution is applied rinse the house with
Antiseptics that may be used to help prevent the spread of in-
fection through the drinking water are:
1. 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
Brooding Chicks, Producing Broilers, Raising Pullets 37
cheese-like deposits in the mouth and upper respiratory passages.
In this climate secondary complications often are more deleter-
ious than the disease itself.
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
six weeks of age as possible, or when the pullets usually are
separated from the cockerels.
The location to apply the vaccine by the follicle method is on
the leg about 1 inch above the hock joint. Pluck about six or
eight 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 using the stick method you may apply the vaccine 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. Dip a sharp instrument into the vaccine and stick the
In six to eight 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. Examine the birds 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.
All birds intended for laying purposes should be vaccinated
against pox as a routine procedure.
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
picking. These various forms occur in all breeds of fowl but
the light breeds of chickens are more susceptible than the
heavier breeds. Chickens of all ages are subject to cannibalism.
These vices are usually started in flocks that are overcrowded
Florida Cooperative Extension
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 and 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 two or
three days. When using an all-mash ration, add 2 percent salt
to the mash, but if feeding equal parts of mash and grain, add
4 percent salt to the mash. The salt treatment usually stops
cannibalism within a few hours but sometimes requires two or
If the salt treatment fails to stop cannibalism within three
days it may be necessary to trim back to the quick the upper
mandible of the beak of each chicken.
Coccidiosis is one of the most important diseases of young,
growing chickens. This disease occurs most frequently in
chickens 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. Diar-
rhea may be present. Bloody droppings are an indication of the
cecal (blind pouch) type of coccidiosis. Other types of coc-
cidiosis rarely produce bloody droppings but quite often the
droppings are streaked with blood. Lameness is often associ-
ated with coccidiosis.
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.
Sulfamethazine, sulfaquinoxaline and sulphaguanidine are the
sulfa drugs used to control coccidiosis. In case one does not give
the desired result, switch to the other. Some commercial feed
Brooding Chicks, Producing Broilers, Raising Pullets 39
companies add coccidiostatic agents to the mash for the treat-
ment of coccidiosis; these agents give satisfactory results.
If birds intended for laying purposes are treated with a sulfa
drug, it would be well to follow in three or four days with 8
percent milk products dried whey, skimmilk or buttermilk -
in the regular mash for a period of not more than five or six
days. Aureomycin, 1 pound per 100 pounds of feed, for a period
of five days also serves as a means of hastening recovery in
Practice rigid sanitation. Most common disinfectants will not
kill the coccidia in dilutions practical to use for disinfection.
Take care 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.
Newcastle disease has occurred in most sections of the state.
Vaccination is recommended for all replacements in the laying
flock. Nasal instillation vaccine can be administered to day-old
chicks. However, birds so vaccinated should be re-vaccinated
with live virus vaccine well before coming into production. The
vaccination reaction of live virus vaccine is not as severe on
five-week-old birds as on three-week-old birds. The vaccination
reaction is more severe on birds with resistance lowered by colds,
coccidia, etc., than on healthy birds.