So, let us explore raising broiler chickens from scratch! I have always found it easy raising different chicken breeds. Of the three major categories of chickens, I find broilers to be quite manageable in many different ways. So, if you are still having trouble between raising layers and broilers, this is the time to make your final verdict. If you choose to raise broiler chickens, pay attention to the following piece of information.
When raising meat chickens, you must consider two major factors. These include feeding and housing. As basic needs, food and shelter will determine the health and productivity of your flock.
Raising broilers from brooder to maturity is the same as raising layers. The only difference here is that the meat chickens have special requirements when growing up. Make sure you keep these requirements in the back of your mind when taking care of your flock.
It is essential, especially if you venturing into this business for the first time. But if you have had meat chickens before, you will find it easy.
There are special considerations you should have at your fingertips before you embark on this project. Here is what you should know if you want to raise a healthy and productive flock of broilers.
How Do You Raise Broiler Chickens?
Raising broilers and processing their meat requires a little bit of pride. On top of that, there’s peace of mind once you are sure of your source of chicken meat. Raising meat chickens is an excellent source of income for your family. So, how do you raise broiler chickens?
Provide Enough Room For Your Chickens
- All chickens need enough space in the yard and inside the coop. It is a basic need and not a luxury, as some would want you to think. Each meat chicken requires a dry, clean, and safe location that is large enough to provide it with comfort.
- Each meat bird should occupy 1.5-inch square feet. This space is enough to accommodate their fast-growing bodies as well as minimizing cases of congestion.
Look For the Right Bedding
When it comes to bedding, you need to consider comfortability above anything else. In most cases, litter or bedding is used inside the coop to absorb droppings and keep all chickens primarily warm.
- In your case, you must consider covering the floor with enough litter to keep your broilers warm, dry, and comfortable. Make sure that the bedding is about 3 to 4 inches in depth and should cover every part of the floor.
- Ensure that you get rid of all clumped litter to keep the environment inside the coop clean everywhere. Stir the other litter to make it last longer and also to absorb any available moisture inside your broilers coop. Remember to change the bedding every week, depending on how clean it is.
- If you are raising chicks, you should avoid using sawdust as their bedding. Chicks are more likely to mistake sawdust particles to edibles and ingest them. For that reason, don’t use this bedding material until your little birds are old enough.
- Also, don’t use slick bedding material such as shredded papers or newspapers to keep your chicks warm. Such materials can make your baby broilers experience some difficulties when moving around.
Provide Enough Warmth in the Coop
- A source of heat for your chickens is a must-have piece of poultry equipment. It is because chickens, especially the young ones, need to stay warm as they grow.
- In the past, the primary source of heat in the chicken coop was infrared bulbs or heat light with a reflector. These types of lamps were always fitted on the roof to distribute heat across the entire chicken room.
- Other sources of heat include the shielded lights like those used by painters. These lights come with plastic fittings that are usually rated 100-watts. Of course, this means that they can produce enough heat for the chicks to stay warm. For the mature broilers, 250-watt bulbs are ideal for maintaining their body temperature.
- Even though a 24-hour light is ideal for increasing the feeding time, it is wise to familiarize your broilers with darkness. In this regard, you should consider letting them stay between 10 and 15 minutes without light. Such a move can prevent unnecessary panic or death in case of a sudden power outage.
Water is Essential
Besides food and shelter, water is essential for the survival of your chickens. Whether they are chicks or adult birds, they need water throughout their lives. Water plays a significant role in their digestion, hydration, and cooling their bodies when it is hot.
- For the chicks, make sure to provide them with water most of the time. But for the first 2 or 3 days of their lives, chicks do not drink or eat. Instead, they use nutrients from the yolk sac until they are four days old. At this age, ensure that your chicks can access fresh, clean water. To boost their energy, add at least ¼ or ½ cup of sugar for every gallon of water.
- As a reminder to their safety, you should never let your chicks drink from water pans. Chicks drown quickly in such large containers. So, use smaller dishes or troughs to keep them safe from drowning. Alternatively, you can add clean pebbles or marbles to your water pans to keep the chicks afloat when drinking water.
Feed Matters as Well
- One of the primary reasons why your home-grown chickens are tasty is what you feed them. Most commercial growers use the right ingredients to raise their broilers. But other growers prefer
the cheapest ingredients when making their feed. Whereas it is because they have to make some profits and sustain their businesses.
- Even though you can save a lot of money by using cheap foodstuff, rest assured that you won’t have excellent tasting poultry. On the other hand, grain from the retailers contains a fixed recipe. This recipe is of very high quality because it is rich in the right nutrients for your chickens. Some feed producers use “Omena” in their blend. So, what is omena in poultry feed?
- Simply put, it is fishmeal. Most types are of good quality, but some aren’t. Read and research the label for peace of mind.
- Now, this should tell you that feeding your chickens such foodstuff will help improve the quality of their meat. And this will give you good money if you sell them later.
- The current situation in chicken feed suppliers is getting out of hand. Most suppliers combine different types of feed rations that remain a little confusing these days. However, you shouldn’t rush when looking for your broilers if you want good quality chicken meat. Or you may visit a few feed mill’s sites to learn more about how you can feed your meat chickens.
- You can always feed your birds start-grower feed ration starting from when they are chicks until when they are ready for slaughter. Don’t turn to “fat & finish” chicken feed because it does very little to add quality to your birds. You will soon figure out how many bags of feed for 100 broilers.
- The best thing about raising broilers is that they don’t require any specialized feeders or waterers. Anything can do as long as they are getting their basic needs. Your typical chicken waterer and feeder will serve them well.
- However, you should consider using a nipple bucket or nipple system when giving them drinking water. Nipple valves provide clean water for your birds. And this water will stay fresh compared to the trough-style waterers. In addition to that, nipple systems will minimize wastage of water or prevent moisture from reaching the bedding.
Plan Ahead of Time
- It is easy to raise broilers, but it is incredibly challenging to turn them into dinner. Don’t let t discourage you but to prepare you adequately for what lies ahead.
- First, research this subject matter to know the positive and negative sides of the whole project. Otherwise, you may get overwhelmed along the way and quit before you even start reaping the benefits.
- For instance, if you plan to raise more than ten broilers, you must look for helping hands. Ask around to know where you can get a poultry house to help you slaughter your birds when they mature.
- Find a way to transport them to the prospective processors when the right time comes. Once you fulfill all these steps, your project will become successful, and you will make some profits
What is the main difference between the home-grown and store-bought broilers? Physically, the two types of chickens look the same. But the difference comes about in the way their meat tastes. Typically, home-grow broilers are significantly tastier in comparison to the store-bought birds.
Why should you raise broilers? The obvious answer is to have a supply of fresh meat for your family. Also, you can make some money by raising broilers, processing them, and selling to other consumers.
Raising broilers is almost similar to raising layers or dual-purpose breeds. These birds need proper care in terms of feed, bedding, shelter, water, and security. Other needs come in later to make your project a success. You must plan before you can start keeping your first flock of broilers.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!