For how many days we should continue brooding?

Pashu Sandesh, 16th January 2018

Dr. S K Khanna

One question generally asked by farmers is, for how many days we should continue brooding. Few farmers give temperature for 7days while others give for 20 days. Books advise 45 days brooding for layer chicks and 15 to 20 days brooding for broiler chicks.  Practically both the recommendation of books appear wrong to me. In my opinion brooding should be done up to the time, when yellow feathers present on neck region of the chick are replaced by white secondary feathers. These secondary feathers are capable of maintaining body temp of chicks. So for brooding never count the days of brooding, but wait for replacement of yellow fluffy feathers with white secondary feathers, irrespective of brooding days.

These secondary white feathers generally appear after 15 days in broiler chicks. But if proper temperature is not given to broiler chicks during the first 10 days, these secondary feathers may appear near 25 days. So do not see the age of bird for giving them temperature. Note that brooding age is not important for chicks. It is the development of secondary feathers (White feathers) to decide how long we have to continue brooding temperature.

So continue giving temperature up to the time the chicks develop white feathers, since chicks are homoeothermic and cannot maintain their own temperature. The growth of white feathers (called secondary feathers) maintains the temperature. If chicks do not get the adequate temperature in the first week, the growth of feather is delayed then we need brooding up to 20 days or more.

In most of the farms using bukharis wood/ sawdust emits more smoke & generates less heat. Also, there is the uneven temperature in the shed which disturbs the CV% i.e. some birds gain body weight others remain weak. All such problems faced by farmers become hatchery or feed problems in the eyes of farmers because his own fault.