Hot Chickens

Chickens are like people, when it is hot they need to drink lots of water. In hot weather they need as much as three times more water than food. But if the water is warm, chickens will not drink as much as they should which reduces egg production and can even cause death.

An Israeli poultry farmer found that when given cool water, chickens drink more, produce more eggs, and as a result fewer die. In trials conducted with the Ministry of Agriculture, drinking water kept below 250C year-round increased egg production by 10% and decreased mortality from 12% to just over 2%.

From “The Farming World” Program, a weekly broadcast of the BBC World Service

A Better Brooder Box

In Ethiopia attempts have been made to brood chicks naturally with a portable hay-box brooder. A broody hen ceases laying during incubation and brooding to rear and protect a few chicks. The success or failure of the brooding process depends on the maternal instinct of the hen and the prevalence of predatory animals.

The hay-box brooder is a simple box consisting of a door, small ventilation holes, wire-enclosed run, and a central nest with an opening to the door. A sack of hay was used to cover the top of the box. Hay was closely stuffed between the sides of the box and the central nest.

An experiment was conducted in which several day-old chicks were transferred to the box while others were reared in an electric brooder house. Batches of up to 70 chicks were successfully raised by the box method, except during the rainy season. There were no significant differences between the hay-box and electric brooders in chick mortality, rate of maturity, and egg production. The growth rate of the hay-box groups was slower during the first month, but rapid growth was achieved thereafter.

For more information:

Solomon Demeke
Jimma Junior College of Agriculture
Box 307