Brooding involves rearing baby chicks-as newly hatched chicks do not fully develop the thermo-regulatory mechanism and homeostasis.
Thus, it is often difficult to maintain the body temperature properly for the first few weeks of life-as birds might be subjected to chilling if not properly introduced to a regulated heat source.
Brooding can be classified into natural and artificial brooding.
Natural brooding: Involves the help of broody hens after hatching, up to 3 to 4 weeks of age.
Artificial brooding: A large number of chicks can be reared in the absence of broody hens.
Equipment used for artificial brooding are called brooders. These are composed of three elements:
- A heating source (electrical, gases like natural gas, methane, liquid fuel like kerosene, solid fuel like coal, wood can be used as a heating material).
- Reflectors (concentrates the heat emanating from the heating source)
- Brooder guard
Check the brooder for proper temperature 24 hours prior to the arrival of chicks.
- Switch on the brooder heating source several hours before the arrival of the chicks in order to maintain required brooding temperature.
- Watch the reaction of the chicks to the heating source in order to find out if the temperature provided is appropriate.
- Thus, the heat intensity can be adjusted by reducing the power of the bulb or raising the heating element higher from the birds.
- In case of too low temperature, there needs to be a supplement to the heating source. Also, the heating source can be further lowered to the ground.