Nanda Kumar Roy1, Bilifang Daimary2, Nur Abdul kader3 &  Sayed Nabil Abedin4PhD Scholar, 1Department of Livestock Production & Management, 2Department of Livestock Product Technology3Department of Veterinary Public Health, 4Department of veterinary Physiology College of veterinary Science, AAU, Khanapara, Guwahati-22


Several developmental and physiological processes occur during the important and sensitive brooding period of poultry, which is the first 7 days of a chicken’s life. The poultry seems anatomically complete at hatch, but the thermoregulatory, gastro-intestinal and immune system need further development and maturation. Optimal brooding is essential to optimize animal health and contributes to a good performance and survival in later life. Brooding is the art and science of rearing baby chicks. A newly hatched chick does not develop the thermoregulatory mechanism fully and takes about two weeks to develop this mechanism and homeostasis. Therefore, they cannot maintain the body temperature properly for the first few weeks of life; and may be subjected to chilling leading to increase mortality, if not properly taken care of. Brooding of chicks is very important operation in the early age of the chicks. Chicks are provided with required temperature by artificial means.

CLASSIFICATION OF BROODING: Brooding can be classified into two classes:

o Natural brooding
o Artificial brooding

Natural brooding: It is done with the help of broody hens after hatching, up to 3 to 4 weeks

Artificial brooding: In artificial brooding large number of baby chicks are reared in the absence of broody hen. Equipment used for brooding are called brooders. Brooder comprises of three elements: Heating source, Reflectors, Brooder guard. Heating source may be electrical, gases like natural gas, LPG and methane, liquid fuel like kerosene and solid fuel like coal wood can be used as a heating material.

Charcoal stove / kerosene stove: Where electricity is not available, ordinary charcoal / kerosene stoves are used to provide supplementary heat to chicks. These stoves are covered with plate / pans to dissipate the heat.

Gas brooder: Natural gas, LPG or methane is connected to heating element which is hanged 3 to 5 feet above the chick to provide heat.

Electrical brooder: It is also thermostatically controlled heating system that spread required amount of heat uniformly above large area, this avoid crowding of chicks under brooder directly. One electrical brooder can be used for 300 to 400 chicks.

Infra-red bulbs: It is a self reflecting bulb. One 250 watts IR bulb can provide brooding for about 150 to 250 chicks.

Reflectors: These reflectors are called Hovers. Flat type hover – These hovers are provided with heating element, heating mechanism and pilot lamp and in some cases thermometer is also there in order to record the temperature. Canopy type hover – These reflectors are in concave shape consisting of ordinary electrical bulb, thermostat mechanism and in some cases thermometer.

Brooder guard / chick guard : They are used to prevent chicks from straying too far away from heat supply until they learn the source of heat. We have to provide brooder guard with a diameter of 5 feet, height of the brooder should not exceed 1.5 feet. For this purpose, we can use materials like cardboard sheet, GI sheet, wire mesh, and mat etc. depending upon the season of brooding. During summer season, brooding is done for 5-6 days. In winter season it is 2-3 weeks.

Procedure of brooder preparation:

o Disinfect the brooding room three days in advance with disinfectants or with lime powder

o Chick guard size should be placed according to the number of chicks and should be adjusted time to time as the chick grow.

o Put rice husks/litter material in the brooding area about a thickness of 3-5 cm depth.

o Light should be on before 6-8 hours prior to introduction of chicks to maintain temperature to 95 degree F.

o Spread newspaper or waste paper (2-3 layers) over the litter materials.(Tayo et al., 2017)


There is no hope of overall hygiene process being fully effective if cleaning is not proper.

The cleaning process must involve following:

Removal of litters: Old litter should be removed from the poultry house. If it is piled up near the house, rats and vermins may carry residual disease back into the house.

Cleaning of equipment: All equipments must be washed with potassium permanganate (KMN04) and disinfected. The equipment should be removed outside the house in the sun but kept them inside the fenced enclosure to complete the cleaning process. The equipment should be moved back into the house.

Cleaning of House ceiling and walls: Remove dust from wall and ceiling with moderate volume of water. Use of boiling water is the most effective and economical method for disinfection purpose.

Dusting/Web removal: Once litter has been removed the next priority should be removal of numerous spider web that bloom here and there on walls. Flying birds often enter in the sheds and build nests in ceiling, these should be removed.

Repairing the house: All the cracks and holes in the chick/ poultry houses should be completely filled because they are the common passage for rats and squirrels which are the carriers of many diseases.

Washing of House: Wash the ceiling, walls, floor with generous amount of water. Preferably add some detergent to wash house. Next, all cracks /crevices in the wall, floor or ceiling should be filled up. All leakage in the gas pipes or water pipes should be sealed, electric short circuit should be corrected and fuse etc. should be replaced.

Disinfection: A basic essential is that disinfection programme must be most carefully planned. The disinfection of a building implies the elimination from the house all microorganism that are capable of causing disease. Follow the manufacture’s instruction carefully and make sure that the disinfection has proven active against the pathogens.

Fumigation: This is the very important procedure to give a final boost to the disinfection programme. For this purpose formaldehyde gas is most suitable. The shed should be properly sealed before fumigation 20 gm KMNO4 and 40 ml formalin can be used for fumigation.


• After culling the previous adult birds, clean and disinfect the poultry house.

• 1 weeks interval may be provided between 2 batches as down tome.

• Form a circle of about 5 feet diameter with brooder guard. The 5 feet diameter brooder can hold about 200 to 250 chicks.

• At the centre of brooder guard, provide any one of heat source like IR bulb, ordinary incandescent bulb or gas brooders.

• Spread litter material about 2 inches height in a circle and then spread old newspaper over the litter material.

• Arrange feeders and waterers alternatively like cart-wheel fashion.

• Check the brooder for proper temperature 24 hours prior to arrival of chicks.

• Switch on the brooder heating source several hours before the arrival of the chicks in order to maintain required brooding temperature.

• Spread ground maize or fine mash / crumble feed on the old newspaper for 1 or 2 days. Afterwards, they will learn to consume feed from the feeder.

• Provide electrolyte, glucose and vitamins in the drinking water for first 2 to 3 days to overcome stress.

• If chicks are in stress due to transportation, new environment, new place etc., then avoid feeding of chicks for first 2-3 hours and provide them water with electrolyte or sugar solutions.

• Maintain a brooder temperature of 90 to 950F for the first week and then reduce 50F every week until it reaches the room temperature.

• Watch the behaviour of chicks in order to find out whether temperature provided is correct or less or more.

• In case of too much temperature, we can reduce the heat by reducing the power of the bulb or we can raise the heating element.

• In case of too low temperature, we have to supplement more heating source or we can further down the heating element.

• In case of chill weather or chill breeze, we can provide curtains towards the wind direction.

• Remove the old newspaper after 3 days and destroy it by burning. If necessary, spread another set of newspaper.

• Remove brooder guard after 7 to 10 days depending upon the season.

• While removing the brooder guard, see that the corners of the sheds are rounded in order to avoid mortality due to huddling.

• Change the feeders and waterers according to age and requirement.

• 24 hours lighting programme may be adopted during 0-8 days of age.

• One hour darkness may be provided to train the chicks in case of any power failure.

• Medication programme: First and Second day – Electrolytes and vitamins.

• 3rd to 7th day – Antibiotics.


Equipements-For every 300 pullet chicks, following equipment’s are necessary. However depending upon the size of the equipment’s, number of equipment’s may vary. Therefore, the thumb rule is that all the birds should get sufficient feeding space at the time of feeding.

1. In brooding a brooder guard of tin or card board is used.

2. Tin is preferred as we can easily clean and disinfect.

3. Brooder should have a diameter of 6 feet.

4. The height of the brooder is 18 inches and total length of the guard is 20 feet.

5. This is used in perfect circle to function as a brooder guard.

6. Four water fountains of 1 lit capacity to be placed initially and increased as per the season/age

7. Sufficient feeder lids are to be placed inside the brooder guards and substituted by chick feeders as the chick grow

8.Wall hanging type of thermometer needs to be placed inside the brooder house at about 2 inch above the floor level, to check the temperature at chick level in various pens.

9. Electro thermo-coils or gas brooders are also used as a heating arrangement for warming up and maintaining the required temperature during the brooding period.

10. Arrangements should be made to provide the required air exchange and relative humidity during the brooding period.

11. Uniform temperature throughout the house instead of spot heating will reduce the percentage of dehydration of chicks.

Suggested temperature during brooding

• Depending upon the climate, one has to alter the height of curtains to provide comfortable warmth and air exchange. Recommended relative humidity inside the house should be 60-70% during the brooding period of 4 weeks and thereafter.


Farmers are preferring cage brooding as it is convenient and helps in reducing disease problems. Following are the requirements:

1. Chicks should be provided required warmth, ventilation, and relative humidity.

2. Chicks should be able to easily reach feed and water. The cages where nipple drinkers are installed, it is suggested to have small chick waterers for first couple of weeks till all chicks locate nipple drinkers.

3. Cages should have enough lighting for the chicks to locate waterers, nipple and feeder. Each cage should preferably have two watering sources so that if one fails, birds will not remain without water.

4. Providing uniform temperature and appropriate air exchange is a must. Spot heating by gas brooders, coal stoves may result in severe dehydration of close-by chicks. It should be kept in mind that unlike deep litter, chicks will not be able to move from one cage to another and therefore are likely to get severely dehydrated and weak. It may also result in non-uniform immunity response to vaccines.

5. H.D.P. curtains do not facilitate proper air exchange like gunny clothes which is porous in nature. Therefore it is essential to operate H.D.P. curtains for proper ventilation and to maintain warmth inside the brooder house.

6. Hang the H.D.P. curtains on both sides of the wire-mesh, leaving about one foot distance from the roof, so as to provide proper cross ventilation. In severe cold conditions, open space may be covered with gunny clothe to facilitate ventilation to reduce effect of cold air entering the house. The curtain windows at parapet wall level will facilitate the fresh air exchange during the warmer period of the day. As the temperature raises, small windows may be provided by lifting he curtains on both the sides so as to reduce the house temperature. At the noon time whenever the temperature is very high, position curtains to maintain best comfort level to the chicks inside the house. At some of the farms, curtains are lowered down with semi-automatic system. One needs to adjust open side of the window to facilitate air exchange and maintain required temperature as per the age of the flock so as to provide comfortable environment throughout the brooding period.

7. Once chicks are placed in brooder cages, let the chicks drink medicated water for 2-3 hrs and then give chick crumble feed in chick size feeder troughs.

8. Provide sufficient space@ 1 inch of feeder space/chick

9. During first 2-3 days, small quantities of chick feeds may be given many times a day.


Brooding is important to improve performance, and welfare of poultry. The most important factor during the brooding period that needs to be optimized is the body temperature of poultry. With the right body temperature, chickens start eating, drinking, and growing. Providing chickens with the correct body temperature is the first step to optimize the brooding period and behavior is a good indicator if chickens are thermal comfortable. If the body temperature is not correct, a day-old chicken starts screaming. If the body temperature is too high, chickens start panting. If the body temperature becomes too low, chickens decrease their activity, show more sleep-like behavior, and huddle together. During the initial stage, if reared scientifically, the chick will have standard and uniform body weight and mortality will be negligible. Therefore. Maximum attention needs to be paid while rearing the chicks in their brooding and growing stage.


POULTRY PUNCH incorporated in 1984 and we are in poultry media since last 36 years and publish Poultry punch – English Monthly Magazine. Mr Balwant Singh Rana prior to laying the foundation of Poultry Punch magazine was still involved with renowned Indian poultry companies and It was there that he had the vision of doing something exceptional for the Indian poultry industry and then he stepped into the poultry media.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button