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There are many things to consider when keeping broilers in cages. To raise healthy birds, it is worth maintaining optimal temperature and humidity parameters. Lighting is also important. This bird keeping method has certain pros and cons. You should definitely familiarize yourself with them before arranging a room for keeping birds.
Features, pros and cons of broiler cages
Keeping birds in this way is more profitable compared to outdoor breeding. This is due to the shorter growth duration. Chickens do not need much feed.
The main advantages of the technique include the following:
- Saving space. This helps reduce electricity bills as the chicks need additional lighting, heating and ventilation.
- Reduced feed consumption. This is due to the fact that birds do not scatter or trample on food. Reducing physical activity helps you build mass faster. This is due to the fact that energy is spent on growth, and not on physical activity.
- Minimum contact with other birds. With this method, only birds placed in adjacent cages can contact. Thanks to this, it is possible to timely extinguish the foci of infection.
- Ease of cleaning. This helps to reduce the likelihood of the spread of infectious pathologies. Chickens do not eat their droppings or smell ammonia.
- Optimization of bird care. This category includes not only the feeding of the birds, but also the constant veterinary examination.
For large-scale production, this method is considered preferable. The key benefit is the rapid increase in body weight. This allows you to reduce fattening by 1 week and significantly increase profits..
The disadvantages of the technique include the following:
- significant costs for cages and necessary fixtures;
- the need to maintain a special climate in a room with chickens - it is important to ensure the correct temperature parameters, full ventilation and lighting;
- the need to purchase specialized feed for proper nutrition of chickens;
- the risk of problems with the paws with an impressive body weight;
- the need for constant cleaning of trays;
- deterioration in taste.
When the cages are freed from chickens, disinfection is invariably performed. This helps to avoid the risk of infection for the next batch of birds.
Basic requirements for broiler cages
The cage should be comfortable to use. To save space, it is worth making a special bird battery. The design is made multi-tiered.
Chickens are not kept alone. They must be placed 4-7 individuals in each compartment. You can contain 1 sq. meter up to 10 chicks.
On the farms, quite a few birds are bred. In such a situation, 10-25 individuals are reared in each section. In this case, the cells are arranged in 3-4 tiers.
The cells are placed in a dry and warm room. It is important to ensure that there is no dampness or drafts in it. Electric lamps, heating pads or other sources of heat help maintain the right temperature in winter.
In summer, it is permissible to take structures outside and put under a canopy. In cool weather, it is recommended to return the cells to the room. For convenient movement of the structure, it is equipped with wheels.
It is recommended to feed the chicks quite often. This is especially important in the first days of life. At the age of 1-5 days, the chick should receive 15 grams of dry food. As you grow older, the volume should be increased. At 50-60 days, the broiler should be given 100-120 grams of dry feed.
It is recommended to feed chickens 4-5 times a day. When the chicks grow up, they switch to two meals a day. This is done at the age of 1 month.
Heating, lighting and humidity
When breeding broiler chickens in the first 20 days, it is recommended to turn on the lights above the cages around the clock. When the birds grow up a little, at first the light is turned off for half an hour, then for 1 hour. Thus, the duration of daylight hours is reduced to 16 hours.
As the chickens grow, it is worth changing the strength of the light. For 1 square meter, you should use the following indicators:
- 4 watts - for chickens up to 10 days;
- 2 watts - for the age of 20 days;
- 1 Watt - for chicks over 20 days old.
When keeping chicks in cage batteries, they are placed on the upper tiers, since it is warmer there. The cells should be heated with electric lamps, which are installed on top. It's also important to keep an eye on moisture. It should be in the range of 50-70%.
Litter is required for growing broilers. Opinions differ as to the materials used. However, experts advise using ordinary small sawdust.
Making cells with your own hands
Making a cage at home is not difficult. To do this, it is worth purchasing materials and strictly following the instructions.
It is worth choosing consumables taking into account the preferences and financial capabilities of the poultry farmer. To make the structure more stable and wear-resistant, the materials must be of high quality. It is best to make the supporting structure of wood. Such bars are characterized by high strength and durability. In addition, they are environmentally friendly.
The side walls are made of galvanized mesh. When choosing it, you should focus on high corrosion resistance. This parameter is very important due to constant contact with feathered droppings. The strength of the connection of the cells and the parameters of their geometry are of no small importance. With the right choice of mesh, it will be possible to avoid damage to the paws of the chickens.
To assemble the structure, you need metal rods. They provide hidden attachment. Fewer iron fasteners are needed to make the cage. This helps to reduce the likelihood of damage to birds.
To make a cage, it is recommended to perform the following actions:
- Make a wireframe. For this, metal sheets are used.
- Make legs of the required height.
- Fasten all the fragments with metal strips.
- Make side walls from a mesh with large holes. It is important that the chickens can easily reach the feeder and drinker through the cells.
- Make a litter tray with high sides. Put a plywood sheet on top.
- Make feeders and drinkers. For this, metal sheets are used. You can buy ready-made gadgets at the store.
When raising chickens in cages, it is important to provide normal conditions. To do this, it is worth buying humidity and temperature sensors and carefully monitoring their parameters.
The better the conditions, the lower the risk of disease and the faster the weight gain. When raising chickens, it is worth considering the following rules:
- Maintain humidity parameters at 60-70%. With a decrease in these parameters, the birds lose weight, feel thirsty, and acquire a disheveled appearance. High humidity makes chickens lethargic and have heavy breathing.
- It is important to provide good ventilation. It is required to supply fresh air and reduce the temperature in summer.
- Use combined lighting. This will help prevent rickets and vitamin deficiency. A sufficient amount of light also accelerates the growth of birds.
- Maintain the correct temperature. The older the birds are, the more heat they produce. For adults, a temperature of 18-20 degrees is suitable.
- Remove droppings on time. The smell of ammonia is harmful to birds, causing disease. Young chicks are cleaned every 5-7 days. In adult birds, this should be done every 2-3 days.
Broilers are meat hybrids. They are characterized by rapid growth and rapid weight gain. When raising birds, you need to quickly achieve maximum weight gain.
Broilers are raised for a maximum of 50-70 days. Subsequently, the growth decreases, and the feed costs increase. Chicks should be purchased when they are 10 days old. The highest mortality rate has been observed up to this point. It costs 50-70 days to feed the birds. During this period, they reach 2.3-2.5 kilograms. After that, the chickens are slaughtered.
It should be borne in mind that part of the livestock is selected for earlier slaughter in 35 days. For this purpose, the largest individuals are used. This frees up space and eliminates food competition..
Growing broilers in cages is a laborious process that has many advantages. To get a good result, it is recommended to organize the proper bird care.