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Bree der farm sequence

The breeder farm produces fertile eggs that will be hatched in a hatchery.
Male and female chicks are usually reared separately until about 4-5 weeks of age. They are then reared so that they can work
out who is boss (adjust the peck order), which means they will be less likely to fight with one another later on.

The growing period for layer breeders is from five to 20 weeks of age and is about four weeks less than for meat breeders.
During the growing period, feed is restricted to avoid over consumption and, for layer breeders, to improve egg production. It is
even more important for meat breeders because they become too fat to breed efficiently if on full feed. Restricted feeding
begins at about six weeks of age and continues until birds have commenced laying. When birds are at 5-10% egg production, a
breeder ration is supplied. Birds that have been grown on restricted feed are often called control fed.

Chickens reared for breeding purpose are usually raised on litter floors similar to those used for meat chickens. They are
transferred to specially designed breeder sheds, also with litter floors, at approximately 18-22 weeks of age. The sheds are
usually divided into small sections which are suitable for about 200 hens to minimise fighting. Nests are placed in the shed,
usually in the centre, so that the hens are attracted to the dark areas of the nest to lay their eggs.

Broiler breeder chicks

Cockerels will mate with a number of hens and about 10% of cockerels to a group of hens is enough to achieve excellent
fertility rates. A surplus of cockerels (15%) is placed at first and they are culled down to 11% at maturity to allow a loss of 1%
over their lives. Cockerels can be fed a cheaper diet than hens and its a common practice to have additional cockerel
feeders placed at a greater height than feeders containing hen feed.

Fertile eggs are collected as soon as possible after laying for reasons of hygiene (if the eggs are left in the nests for longer time
they are more likely to have manure spread on them or be damaged). Regular collection also protects the eggs from the heat of
the day. Although it is best not to clean eggs at all, eggs can be cleaned when collected by wiping with a dry cloth or steel wool.
Wet cleaning is undesirable as it removes the protective cuticle from the shell. Fumigation by formaldehyde gas is carried out
as soon as possible after collection, usually at the farm or sometimes at the hatchery, to kill surface bacteria without damaging
the egg.

Healthy chicks
Incubation and hatching
Eggs are set in trays marked with the shed of origin so that any problems can be traced back to the source. Hatching
performance is also closely monitored and the end product is a healthy chick which goes on to become a commercial layer or
meat chicken.


Breeder management may refer to pure line management, parent stock management, and grand parent stock management
depending on the context. Although there may be small variations in management among these stocks some basics are common
within layer breeder stocks and broiler breeder stocks. The main aim of the breeder management is to produce the more number of
fertile eggs per pullet and increasing the hatchability by hygienic handling of the fertile eggs. One must also strictly monitor the
health of the flock in order to prevent spread of infection through vertical transmission from the breeder stock to commercial chicks.
Here this topic discusses only about the special management that are not regular among commercial farm management, all other
management are common.

Biological isolation

Biological isolation refers to location of the breeder farm away from other commercial poultry farms in order to prevent the spread of
diseases between the flocks.

Though these farms must be located separately they must be in close vicinity of the city to have a good transport facility and other
amenities such as water, electricity, and availability of labour.

Biological isolation further insist on regular blood testing the flocks for vertically transmitted diseases and zoonotic diseases and
culling of positive reactors at regular interval. The common diseases for which the blood testing is carried out are pullorum, fowl
typhoid (salmonellosis), mycoplasma gallisepticum infection, and mycoplasma synoviae infection. Personal hygiene of the farm
workers is also important because zoonotic infection salmonellosis can spread in both ways between human and the birds. Breeder
management consist of chick management, grower management, and layer management.

There are three types of breeders

1. white egg layer
2. brown egg layer
3. meat type broiler breeder

Hatchery procedures

1. Chick delivery
While the chicks are hatched out in own hatcher or chicks are bought there is specified ratio of male: female to start with. This ratio
varies depending on the type of bird to be purchased or reared in brooding.
Type of bird male : female
White egg layer 10-12 :100
Brown egg layer 10-12 :100
Broiler breeder 12-15 : 100

2. Toe trimming and comb trimming

Male chicks from the male parent line are vent sexed and then they are generally toe trimmed and comb trimmed. This is done to
ensure that there is minimal occurrence of cannibalistic behavior and to prevent the damage to the precious pullet by cocks during
natural mating. Comb trimming is done to prevent the occurrence of peck order when more cocks are reared in a single pen.

As we know that vent sexing method is not 100 accurate this leads to mixing of males from female line and vice-versa.

This mixing of male and female due to sexing error can be easily identified and culled during sexual maturity as shown as below

Bird appearance cockerel pullet

Toe, comb trimmed bred culled
Toe, comb untrimmed culled bred

*bred these birds allowed for breeding.

*culled these birds are culled because they are due to sexing error.

Housing Methods

Breeder are housed in three types of housing they are,

1. All litter floor
2. Slat and litter floor (or plastic floor)
3. Cage system

Of these systems all litter and cage system is more common in India. Broiler breeders generally prefer all litter system because of
heavy body weight birds and layer breeders chose the cage system.

1. All litter floor

In this system of housing more number of floor eggs occurs. They are the problem lading blow-up in the incubator. There is also
high percentage of cracked eggs which must not over than 2 for young flocks and 3 for old flocks. Providing adequate number of
nest box reduces floor eggs.

2. Slat and litter floor (or plastic floor)

In this system 2/3 of floor is slat and 1/3 is litter floor. In this system of housing 5 more number of eggs per pullet can be obtained
and 3 times lower floor eggs compared to all litter floor system. Laying house mortality is slightly higher in this system than all litter

Brood - grow system of growing

In this system the birds are reared in a single house during the brooding and growing period by restricting the floor space during the
initial 5 wk period and then allowing full space after that. This system is useful particularly for avoiding stress to birds while shifting of
birds from one house to another and also for easier vaccination program.

Brood grow lay system

In this system once the chick enters the house it is reared in the same shed for its life time until culling. The shed has all provision
from brooding equipment to nest boxes for egg collection in the laying period.

Rearing methods
Egg layers
1. Sexes intermingled - in this method the chicks are separated only until they are reared in brooding guard after that they
intermingled as per specified ratio
2. Sexes raised separately the male and female chicks are reared separately until 12 weeks after which 5male is mixed and then
at 18 weeks remaining males are mixed.

Broiler breeder
1. Sexes raised separately the male and female chicks are reared separately until 21 weeks after which 12cocks for every 100
pullet is placed together.
2. Sexes intermingled - in this method the chicks are reared separately until 2 weeks after that they are beak trimmed and mixed as
per specified ratio.

Floor space in deep litter

Type of bird chick grower Layer
Layer breeder(male) 1.5 Ft2/bird Or 7 bird/ m2 2.5 Ft2/bird Or 4.25 bird/ m2 -NA-
Layer breeder(female) 1 Ft2/bird Or 10.8 bird/ m2 1.5 Ft2/bird Or 7 bird/ m2 2.5 Ft2/bird which includes space for male
Broiler breeder
(deep litter) 1 Ft2/bird Or 10.8 bird/ m2 2.5 Ft2/bird
Or 4.5 bird/ m2 3 Ft2/bird
Or 3.5 bird/ m2
Broiler breeder
(slat cum deep litter) -NA- -NA- 2.25 Ft2/bird