9 Reasons Why You Have Poor and Stunted Growth in Broiler Chickens
Poor and stunted growth in broiler chickens is a very frustrating phenomenon among broiler farmers.
The key success factors in the profitability of broiler farming are uniformity in the flock size, feed conversion ratio, and weight gain of the broiler chicken at the time of sale.
This will greatly have an immensely positive effect on the net profit margin of the broiler farmer.
The High demand for broiler meat, high feed to meat conversion ratio, early marketing age. And high-profit margin within the shortest possible time has increased the popularity of broiler farming.
It is not uncommon for some poultry farmers, to notice a number of small and underweight chicks among their flock.
Read also: Broiler farm management system
This is referred to as “Runt” which is referred to as the smallest of the flock, these are as a result of retarded growth, poor weight gain, poor feed conversion ratio.
Stunting.” Runting Stunting Syndrome (RSS) Is a condition characterized by poor uniformity in size and in weight gain. In which a reasonable percentage of the flock appears relatively smaller than normal.
A number of other factors, conditions, and diseases could be responsible for the poor and stunted growth in the broiler chickens are outline as follows:
GETTING YOUR CHICKS FROM GOOD PARENT OR BREEDER STOCK WILL HELP IMMENSELY IN ELIMINATING POOR AND STUNTED GROWTH IN BROILER CHICKENS
Broiler breeding stock, obtaining your day-old chicks from a good hatchery with a good track record and excellent reviews from other farmers should be the source of your broiler chicks.
Breeding stock raised in a poor environmental condition, with genetic defects, or that are diseased will have an adverse effect on their offspring.
Buying your day old chicks from such facilities will be detrimental to your overall success as a broiler farmer.
Never comprise healthy quality day-old chicks for a cheaper price, the repercussion is always devastating to the poultry farmer.
This is one of the reasons, a lot of newbie poultry farmers fall victim to it.
Read also: Factors affecting feed intake of Chickens
POOR LITTER MANAGEMENT PLAYS A PART IN CONTRIBUTING TO THE POOR AND STUNTED GROWTH IN BROILER CHICKENS
In averting poor or stunted growth in broilers chicken. Good litter management is a craft that you must learn and perfect efficiently if you want to have any headway in your poultry farming enterprise.
Keeping your broiler birds in a dirty and wet litter is a sure recipe for the disease to thrive.
Having a good litter involves the following:
- The right materials
- Topping and turning the litter appropriately
- The right stocking density, avoid overcrowding
- The right moisture content of the litter to avoid caking
- Having the right amount of microbes to form a good compost
- Enough ventilation in the poultry house
- A good litter discourages the growth of harmful pathogen and bacterial causing disease.
The litter houses all manner of pathogens and harmful bacterial that is easily transmittable from one batch of the flock to the other. Therefore its management is a key to a healthy broiler life.
GOOD BROODING METHOD ALSO PLAYS A ROLE IN THE GROWTH AND WEIGHT GAIN OF BROILERS
The best-brooding temperature for broiler chicks up to 7 days of age ranges between 33 and 35 oC, and temperatures higher than these may induce hyperthermia and dehydration, leading to lower feed consumption and delayed growth.
On the other hand, a lower environmental temperature induces hypothermia and may lead to pulmonary hypertension in broilers.
The key is to have a good thermometer to help you monitor the right temperature at a given time. But in the absence of a good thermometer, it means you have to be observant to monitor their behaviour.
If they huddle together it means they are too cold, and if they move away from the heat source it means they are hot.
An even distribution of the baby chicks in the poultry house denotes normal and comfortable temperatures.
Among the various stages and management of broiler production, brooding is the most critical stage of commercial poultry, it is the foundation of a healthy flock life.
Any failure in the provision of a conducive production environment during this phase may hamper, and result in poor and stunted growth in broiler chicks.
Passion for your birds, time, money, and resources will come to play during this period.
OTHER MAJOR CAUSE OF POOR AND STUNTED GROWTH IN BROILER CHICKENS ARE MALABSORPTION SYNDROME IN CHICKENS (MAS) OR RUNTING STUNTING SYNDROME (RSS)
This is a serious health condition that adversely affects the performance of broiler chickens.
Malabsorption syndrome (MAS), also known as a runting-stunting syndrome (RSS), the visible presence of RSS is characterized by a sizable number of small and underweight chickens in the flock, smallish in nature.
RSS is most commonly seen in “meat-type” chicken breeds or broilers and is associated with a rotavirus infection.
Intestinal mucosal cells are invaded by the virus, especially at the edges of the intestinal villi (are tiny, finger-like projections made up of cells that line the entire length of your small intestine) they help indigestion.
The replication of the virus causes the disintegration of a cell by rupture of the cell wall or membrane of the bird’s cells by impairing absorption.
A high number of the virus are excreted in the feces of infected birds and can be transmitted directly or indirectly to others.
CLINICAL SIGNS INCLUDE:
- Poor or stunted growth
- Poor weight gain
- Affected birds have much smaller bodies than other chicks
- Pale skin pigmentation
- Chick’s beak and legs appear as a paler color than normal birds
- Poor feathering
- Chicks may have smaller than normal feathering and usually curled wingtips. Leg weakness
- Affected chicks may have rickets, with weak or broken legs.
Preventive measures include:
- Good brooding
- Good litter management
- Biosecurity measures
- Good poultry house management
- And adequate vaccination.
PROVIDING ADEQUATE NUMBER OF FEEDERS AND DRINKERS EVENLY DISTRIBUTED
One of the ways to curb poor and stunted growth in broiler chickens is to provide adequate feeders, the feeders should correspond to the number of birds in the poultry house.
Feeders should be evenly spread to all parts of the poultry house with drinkers close to them for easy access. But not so close as to cause feed spoilage.
The feed should be fed to the feeders at the same time to allow birds to have access to the feed at the same time.
The week birds or birds with poor and stunted growth among the flock should be cull and separated. They should be given special feeding and care to help them catch up in weight and size with the rest flock.
PROVIDING ADEQUATE, QUALITY, NUTRITIOUS FEED ALWAYS IS A FACTOR IN COMBATING POOR AND STUNTED GROWTH IN BROILER CHICKENS
Poor or stunted growth, poor flock uniformity, and poor weight gain usually emanate from inadequate feeds or at least are one of the major causes of poor and stunted growth in broiler chickens.
Feeding carries almost more than 50% of the cost of broiler production. A lot of broiler farmers especially newbies get stuck on the way.
These may lead to poultry farmers compromising the standard of feed been fed to their broiler’s chickens.
A lot of farmers may end up devising a means of substituting or adding other cheaper feed ingredients such as maize bran, wheat offal, etc.
To increase the quantity of the feed-in their quest to reduce the cost of production.
Thereby completely altering the nutritional quality of the feed. Which will adversely affect the overall flock performance.
FEEDS SHOULD ALWAYS BE PRESENTED AS FRESH AND PALATABLE TO YOUR BROILER BIRDS
Poor weight gain, poor and stunted growth also have their roots in the way and manner feed are presented to your broiler chicken.
One of the effects of climate e.g wet, humid tropical climate with high relative humidity to the broiler production is the formation of molds and mycotoxins to their stored feed.
It is strongly advised that you store or produce poultry feed that will be consumed within the stipulated time without affecting the freshness, nutritional quality of the feed.
Broiler chickens perform better in terms of growth rate and weight gain when they have a better appetite, quality feed that is palatable to them without molds and toxins.
Storing feed for long in silos and drum container will only breed toxins that might be harmful to the broiler birds.
GIVE SOME SPACE DURING FEEDING FOR GOOD DIGESTIBILITY AND TO IMPROVE THE BROILER APPETITE
Excessive feeding especially in hot humid tropical climates affects broiler performance.
Broilers are to be given little space, especially in the hot afternoons.
Ensuring that adequate water with multivitamins electrolyte is provided to ease heat stress, and to prevent heatstroke.
These will also improve the growth rate and general broiler performance.
ENSURE THAT YOUR BROILER BIRDS ARE HEALTHY ALWAYS AND DISEASE FREE IS A SURE WAY TO FIGHT POOR AND STUNTED GROWTH IN BROILERS
The presence of diseases in your broiler flock is undoubtedly one of the major causes of poor and stunted growth in broiler chicken.
Major factors responsible for the presence of diseases include:
- Feed quality
- Inadequate brooding temperature
- Bacterial, viral infection
- Protozoal like, coccidial related infections
- Necrotic enteritis
- Lack of adequate vaccination
- Poor medical, and prompt veterinary intervention
- Breeder Stock and the genetic make-up of your broiler chicks
- Poor litter management
- Poor floor space management etc.
These and many other factors may lead to poor or stunted growth. The fact still remains. Sick birds do not grow well.
Read also: Health management of poultry
In contrast, healthy birds, especially those with a very healthy digestive system, will utilize nutrients in the feed for optimal performance.
Poor or stunted growth is an enemy to profitable broiler production.
Therefore the goal of any poultry farmer in preventing poor and stunted growth in broiler chicken.
Is to strive to ensure that his flock is disease-free or reduce the incidence of disease to the barest minimum.
Nothing gives a poultry farmer greater joy than waking up every morning and seeing his bird’s looking healthy, lively, making a chirping sound, preening their feathers, dust bathing, eating, drinking, and looking excited.
It is one of the rewards you derive in keeping poultry birds.
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