Broiler chicken

Flock mortality has a major influence on the size of the settlement check after harvest and so is one of the greatest worries of any broiler grower. While differences in breeder flock status, genetic strain, hatchery conditions and management practices mean that two consecutive flocks on a particular farm will seldom have similar mortality patterns, the examination of data from numerous flocks can help to identify specific mortality patterns.


Broiler mortality usually peaks at approximately 3 to 4 days after placement, declines until approximately day 9 or 10 then stabilize until approximately day 30. After day 30 a gradual increase will be observed until approximately day 40 to 45. After day 45, mortality rates increased until harvest. 


The peak in mortality at day 3 to 4 may coincide with the disappearance of the yolk sac in the intestine of chicks. Chicks that for whatever reason do not begin to eat and drink may survive the first few days with the yolk sac alone, but once this food source is depleted the chick will soon perish. At 3 to 4 days of age experienced growers can usually distinguish chicks that are destined to succumb from those that are off to a good start by their size and vocalization patterns. 

While chicks that are off to a good start are active, avidly eating feed and move away quickly when approached, cull birds will often stand by themselves, chirp and refuse to move away as the grower comes near. When cull birds are found they should be immediately removed and humanely destroyed. The longer these birds remain in the flock the more detrimental they become to the feed conversion ratio. In addition, removing cull birds at this early stage will improve flock uniformity, making the management of feeder and drinker height much easier as the flock ages. It is extremely difficult to properly manage feeder and drinker height with numerous bird sizes in a house.


Flocks that lost the most birds early, tended to lose the most birds late. In addition, when first-week mortality was high, uniformity was often a problem, and feed conversions were frequently less than desirable. These flocks required additional time, effort and management skill to achieve an acceptable level of performance. 


Mortality after about day 45 was most likely due to heart attacks, ascites and leg problems since these diseases generally increase dramatically late in the life of the flock. Clearly, death losses late in the flock can have serious negative consequences on both feed conversion and kilograms of sellable meat. To some degree, these problems can be reduced with proper feeding and lighting programs.


Mortality in broiler flocks represents lost income to growers and integrators alike. Even though mortality is an everyday part of broiler production, growers should tailor management programs to reduce its overall effect on flock performance. An aggressive culling program early in each flock that humanely removes substandard birds as they appear can improve overall flock uniformity and performance with a minimal negative effect on feed conversion ratio. 

Allowing cull birds to remain in a flock increases the difficulty in feeder and drinker management throughout the flock. Also, if these birds succumb or are culled late in the flock, they have a much greater negative impact on feed conversion because they have eaten more feed (which is now lost) than they would have if removed at 1 or 2 weeks of age. Management programs later in the flock are often designed to slow growth slightly to reduce late mortality due to ascites, heart attacks, and leg problems.


Recording mortality in the first few days of birds arrival shouldn't be regarded as an abnormality as the death of the young bird can be traced to some factors like; post-transit stress(always welcome them with vitamin), non-conducive environment, huddling/smothering, common brooding errors( high/low temperature, smoke from the brooder, inadequate ventilation e.t.c use our chacool brooder for easier brooding, call 08062776610 to order). As a matter of fact, 3-5% mortality is still acceptable in every broiler flock within 42 days of production( i.e. Maximum of 5 dead birds in a flock of 100 broilers within 42 days of raising)

However, an unnatural spike in the mortality rate(especially during the first week) should call for the prompt attention of an experienced personnel(e.g Vet) to troubleshoot the causes and provide remedies to the situation.

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