provide enough feeders and waterers for your birds all the time

Managing layer chicks for maximum performance is the main objective for all egg producers. One challenge to egg producers or pullet farmers is how to successfully manage flocks to profitable egg production levels. The power of rearing, as the investment phase of layer production to shape the future of high egg production, should not be underestimated. With increasing pressure on egg producers to achieve sustainable egg numbers and maintain consumer confidence, primary farm-level targets represent an opportunity for every farmer to excel in their individual capacities. Here are the top six targets that farmers must achieve during the rearing period to guarantee a good flock performance.

  1. Achieving Bodyweights profile during the rearing period.

The most critical period in the life of a pullet bird is the first 5 weeks of life and the ability to attain target weight to the end of this phase. This is the period when vital organs are developing, and skeletal structures are all maturing in preparation for a good laying phase. Any delay in growth rates will have a detrimental impact on body weight thus affecting productivity and ability to resist disease and response to vaccination. The pullets must be weighed weekly to make sure that proper weights are uniformly attained. By 5 weeks of age, your pullets' body weight must be on the breed target of 380 -400 g/bird, if you fail to achieve this body weight profile, production will be lower in later life.

  1. Attaining good flock uniformity.

Please provide enough feeders and waterers for your birds all the time. This will ensure that 90% of your birds are growing within the standard curve and hence will come into production at relatively the same time. This is very important in maintaining uniformity in weight and size among all the chicks. Provide a lower energy and high fiber grower diet which allows chicks to eat more feed. Uniformity can only be achieved through good management practices, robust feed, comfortable housing, and good stockmanship.

  1. Carrying out excellent Beak trimming or treatment.

Beak treatment is defined as the physical removal of the top and bottom parts of the beak of a bird. It is commonly practised in commercial layer flocks to reduce damage caused by birds to each other. Beak trimming if properly done will reduce feather pecking, stress, vent pecking and prolapse, bullying and mortality in the birds. If beaks are not treated, many deaths can occur rapidly to the levels of 25-30% leading to huge financial losses to the farmer.

  1. Building feed intake capacity

The actual nutrient intake of the bird in growth must match the nutrient requirement of the bird at all times of growth. This therefore means that ingredients like crude protein, Methionine+ cystine, fats, energy sources, calcium and other premixes are formulated and balanced for growth. Underfeeding, poor feed distribution, and poor feed structure will all affect the level of egg production. Water restriction will reduce feed intake, drinkers must be always full. Any recent drop in feed intake must be properly investigated. Any stressful condition like high or low temperatures may also reduce feed intake, this should be controlled as soon as possible.

  1. The right age for sexual maturity

This period ranges between weeks 16-18. At 22 weeks of age, your hens should be showing prominent red combs and wattles an indicator of sexual maturity. Birds should be accustomed to natural darkness and light by the time they are 6-8 weeks of age, don't supplement light after this period otherwise you compromise light stimulation and egg production.

  1. Sustaining health status and immunological competence.

Most hybrid chicks are hatched with an inborn ability to protect themselves against field infection, this is its first line of defence, also called natural immunity. It is a fact that some diseases of poultry are contagious in nature and therefore the fundamental principle involved in biosecurity is the avoidance of contact with a source of disease or contagion.