Complete Guide on Raising Free-range Baby Chicks (Taglish)



In the last couple of weeks, I had a drinking session with 3 of my close friends since dalawa kaming nauna na mahilig sa manok, nong dumating ang dalawa ay manok na ang amng pinag-uusapan so carried over ang conversation.

The other two friends are both ahente at nagbu-buy-and-sell ng sasakyan. Humaba na ang usapan sa manok at ang dalawa ay parehong na OP kaya ang nagyari naging mainit ang argument.

“Pare kanina ka pa manok nang manok, eh papano pag dumami yang manok mo at mayroon na rin lahat ng kapit-bahay e di wala nang bibili?”, sabi ng kumpare ko.

“Pare parang sinabi mo na rin na pag karamihan sa tao may sasakyan na eh di wala na ring bibili ng mga binebenta mong sasakyan?”, ang aking sagot. At biglang uminit ang pagtatalo kaya nilinawan ko ang paliwanag.

“Ang manok ay consumable at hindi lahat ng napipisang itlog at naging sisiw ay lumalaki. Lalo na pag baguhan pa lamang ang nag-aalaga, mas madami lagi ang namamatay at hindi lumalaki kaysa sa nagiging adult na manok. Mayroon namamatay, mayroong kinakatay, at mayroong binebenta sa hindi marunong mag-alaga, o di kaya walang panahon mag-alaga”, ang aking paliwanag na nagtapos sa aming mainit na debate.

That is the back story. The main reason kung bakit ngayon ay halos paiyak na ang iba sa paghahanap ng sisisw at breeder ay dahil sa sobrang kapos ng supply. At bakit kapos ang supply ay dahil sa marami nga ang hindi marunong magpalaki ng sisiw.

This guide will detail what we exactly do to prevent high mortality in chicks.

Base sa experience namin, mas mataas ang mortality kung bibili ka ng sisiw kaysa sa ikaw ang magpapisa kaya mas pinipili naming mag-breed inhouse kaysa sa bumili lagi ng sisiw. But regardless kung bibili ka or magpapisa, pareho lamang ang kailangang gawin para maiwasan ang mataas na mortality.

Focus is very important in taking care of your chicks especially during the first 6 weeks of their lives.

So how to take care of your baby chicks to avoid a high mortality rate? This guide will explain step-by-step. This guide is not applicable to 45-days broiler, especially in huge numbers.

Brooding

Since the first day, chicks should be put inside the brooder with the needed heat and ventilation. Start the brooder temperature at approximately 35°C and reduce it approximately 3°C each week until the brooder temperature is the same as the outside temperature. Within the chicks’ comfort zone, the more quickly you reduce the heat level, the more quickly the chicks will feather out.

The ideal length of time the chicks must be kept inside the brooder is from 6 to 8 weeks. After 4 weeks, the temperature should be reduced and light must be changed from an incandescent lamp to LED to reduce both the cost of energy and the heat.

A typical homemade brooder. Image credit Instructables

The brooder must not have a concrete or ground flooring and must be at least 4 inches above the ground. Chicks are very vulnerable to diseases and both concrete and ground floorings can be contaminated. Carton boxes or newspapers are highly recommended to use as matting. At a young age, rice hulls and sawdust are not recommended as it could cause serious respiratory problems.

An excellent brooder is made of glass or plywood but a cage surrounded by clear plastic is also suggested as long as the brooder is entirely closed with enough air flowing in and out.

Feeding

Since day one, chicks should be feed with chick booster. If a chick booster is not available, a chick starter like Integra 1000 is recommended. If available, binlid ng mais or corn bran is a great addition to chick starter. Feed them with chick starter up to 2 months and then shift light grower (Integra 2000) starting 2 months. By 3 months, they can be given crumbles (growers). See the complete feeding guide.

Vaccination and Disease Prevention

Vaccination is very important especially if you are raising rare breeds. On day 1, give each chick a dose of Marek’s disease vaccine through injection. On day 2, give them NCD B1B1 (New Castle Disease B1 Type, B1 Strain) through eye drop. From day 3 to 8, mix Vetracin Gold with their drinking water. Vetracin contains vitamins and anti-respiratory antibiotics. You can also use Premoxil if Vetracin is not available.

On day 11, give them IBD / Gumboro vaccine through drinking water. Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) / Gumboro Disease vaccine is given to strengthen the bird’s immune system against a deadly universal disease.

From day 20 to 25, Tepox 48 is given to prevent and cure digestive diseases like Colibaccilosis (yellow droppings), Pullorum Disease (white droppings), and malaria.

On day 28, give them NCD Lasota through drinking water. The final vaccine is given on day 30. Fowlpox (bulutong) vaccine is given to combat the very contagious and deadly fowlpox virus. The vaccine is administered through a wing web using the applicator needle.

Anytime between day 40 to 50, deworming should be administered. Ask your local poultry supply what deworming they have. We use Bastonero Plus but other deworming drugs can also be given. See the complete vaccination guide.


Transferring from Brooder to Chicken House and Free-ranging

At 2 months old, you can remove your chicks from the brooder but it does not mean they are ready to free-range. Transfer your chicks inside your chicken house and do not free-range then until 3.5 months old. They are still vulnerable to diseases that may be carried through the open ground so it is better to put them inside the coop and observe how their body reacts when living on the ground for 1 to 1.5 months. They should not be wet when rain is falling.

A typical chicken house. Image credit Sabong.net.ph

Only when they are healthy at 3.5 to 4 months old, they can be released outside.

If your plan is to make the hens layers, you can start feeding the hens laying mash starting 4.5 months.

Observation and focus are very important. From day one, it is necessary to observe all of your chicks and take care of the sick birds immediately by separating them from the flock. But if you follow the above procedure strictly, sick chicks will be very rare.

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