Day wise Management Practices for parent stock on Breeder farm

The most common management strategy worldwide is for birds to receive first light stimulation after 21 weeks (147 days) of age and achieve 5% production at 25 weeks of age, as this gives distinct advantages in early egg size, chick numbers and broiler chick quality. However, poultry production is a global activity and across the world, differing management strategies may need to be adapted for local conditions.

The Management Timetable for parent stock are summarized in the table below.

Before chick delivery

All housing and equipment should be cleaned and disinfected and effectiveness of biosecurity operations verified prior to chick placement. Preheat the house. Temperature and relative humidity (RH) should be stabilized for at least 24 hours, prior to the chicks being delivered. House set-up should be completed prior to chick arrival. Litter should be evenly spread on the floor, that has been preheated to a temperature of 28-30°C (82-86°F). Litter temperature should also be 28-30°C (82-86°F). Drinkers and feeders must be in place and should be filled immediately prior to placement so chicks have immediate access to feed and water. Ensure good biosecurity. Pathogens can survive in the surrounding environment even before the chicks have been placed. Biosecurity before chick delivery is equally, if not more, important than biosecurity after chick arrival.

On chick arrival

Achieve optimum environmental temperature, which is critical for stimulating both appetite and activity. Establish a minimum ventilation rate, which will ensure that fresh air is supplied to the chicks, help to maintain temperature and relative humidity (RH), and allow sufficient air exchange to prevent the accumulation of harmful gases. Monitor chick behavior to ensure that temperature is satisfactory. Bulk weigh a sample of chicks.

0-7 Age (days)

Develop appetite from good brooding practice. Ensure adequate drinker and feeder space, provide good quality feed and maintain optimum temperatures. Provide 23 hours of light and 1 hour of dark for the first 2 days after placement. Light intensity must be uniformly distributed throughout the brooding area. A light intensity of 80-100 lux (7-9 fc) must be provided in the brooding area to promote feed and water intake. Use crop fill assessment as an indication of appetite development. Monitor bird behavior and adjust house environment as necessary.

7-14 Age (days)

Achieve target body weights. Obtain body-weight sample. A bulk weighing of birds is required at 7 and 14 days of age. A minimum of 2% or 50 birds (whichever is larger) should be weighed from each population. Where possible, provide a constant (8 hour) daylength by 10 days of age. In open-sided houses, daylength will depend on the placement date and the natural daylength patterns. Increasing the number of birds weighed or the frequency of weighing (to 2-3 times a week) during the first 2-3 weeks after placement will be beneficial. If 14-day (2-week) body weights for previous flocks have regularly been below target, a longer daylength can be provided until 21 days (3 weeks) of age to help stimulate feed intake and improve body-weight gain.

14-21 Age (days)

Start recording individual body weights between 14 and 21 days (2 and 3 weeks) of age. This information is required to calculate body-weight uniformity (CV%).

28 Age (days)

Grade males and females at 28 days (4 weeks). After grading, revise body-weight profiles to ensure that birds achieve target body weights by 63 days (9 weeks).

28-63 Age (days)

Ensure adequate feeder space and feed distribution is achieved. Monitor and record body weight weekly. If necessary, adjust daily feed allocation for the male and female populations to achieve any revised body-weight targets and maintain uniformity. The main focus during this period is to achieve good skeletal uniformity and correctly control the growth within each graded population.

63 Age (days)

Re-examine graded population weights in relation to the body-weight target. Combine populations that are of similar weight and feed intake. If populations are not following the target profile, a new target body-weight line should be drawn. For populations that are over the target weight a new target line should be drawn so that the birds are brought back to target at 105 days (15 weeks). Populations that are under the target should gradually be brought back to target by 105 days (15 weeks).

63-105 Age (days)

Ensure correct feeding space and feed distribution is achieved. Monitor and record body weight weekly. If necessary, adjust daily feed amounts for the male and female populations to achieve the target or any revised body-weight targets, and maintain uniformity. The main focus during this period is to correctly control the growth within each graded population.

105 Age (days)

Re-examine body weights in relation to target. Underweight birds need to be brought back to target by 147 days (21 weeks). For populations that are over the target weight, a new target line should be drawn parallel

to the target. Remove any sexing errors as they are identified. Movement of birds between populations should stop.

105-161 Age (days)

Ensure correct feeding space and feed distribution is achieved.Achieve correct weekly body-weight gains by ensuring the appropriate feed amounts are given, particularly from 105 days (15 weeks) onwards. All populations should achieve similar body weight by light stimulation. Significant variation in body weight between populations at this age will lead to production problems in lay. Monitor and record body weight weekly.

126-147 Age (days)

Remove remaining sexing errors. Begin assessment of pin bone spacing

140 Age (days)

Calculate and record the uniformity (CV%) and evaluate the sexual maturity of the flock to determine the lighting program. If the flock is even (CV less than or equal to 10%), follow the normal recommended lighting program. If the flock is uneven (CV greater than 10%), light stimulation should be delayed by 7-14

days (1-2 weeks).

147-161 Age (days)

First light increase given (not before 147 days/21 weeks of age). Monitor and record body weight weekly.

147-168 Age (days)

Mating-up: the exact time of this will depend on the relative maturity of both males and females. Immature males should never be mated with mature females. If males are more mature than females, they should be introduced gradually. Monitor and record body weight weekly.

168-175 Age (days)

Introduce the breeder feed from 5% hen-day production at the latest.

161-196 Age (days)

From first egg, increase feed amounts according to the rate of daily egg production, daily egg weight and body weight. Monitor and record body weight weekly.

210-depletion Age (days)

Manage males by observing bird condition. Remove non-working males to maintain appropriate mating ratios. Monitor and record body weight.

245-depletion Age (days)

Female post-peak feed reduction should be started approximately 35 days (5 weeks) after peak production is achieved, which is generally at 252 days (36 weeks) of age. Feed intake should be reviewed weekly and any reductions in feed should be based on feed clean-up time, egg production, daily egg weight, egg mass and body weight.