Index and length must refer to a location within the string. Parameter name: length How to Produce a Top Performing Flock

How to Produce a Top Performing Flock

by Scott Black, Broiler Specialist, North America

Across the globe, poultry producers want to know how to grow a top performing flock. Yet, the most successful growers always seem to know what it takes to achieve the lowest cost bird.

Because every flock and farm is unique, it is imperative to establish good management practices to help each flock reach their genetic potential. This includes creating the best environment for birds, monitoring their needs and keeping good records of flock data.

Create the best environment for birds.

The first few weeks – the rearing period – are the most critical for growth. During the first week alone, chicks gain four times their day-one weight. This is the most rapid development that the birds will experience, and the time when they are converting feed to meat most efficiently. Chicks can only grow to their potential in the correct environment:

  1. Temperature Control: One of the biggest challenges growers face is keeping the birds cool enough to prevent them from panting, but not so cool that they cannot convert efficiently. It takes a keen eye for a producer to appreciate the birds’ thermo-neutral zone for comfort and recognize when the house is too warm or cool.
  2. High Quality Litter: The proper depth and dryness of the litter is critical to a good start for chicks. Wet litter can cause excess humidity and ammonia and impact the overall air quality in the house.
Regularly monitor the flock.

Establishing a routine for monitoring the flock throughout the day will be the key to success. Start with one early morning visit, preferably before daylight, to verify that ventilation and feed and water systems are set up correctly. If there is an interruption in feed or water, you will notice the problem without the birds missing a meal.

Record Data to track progress and make adjustments as necessary.

Producers that continually record data – including water consumption rates, daily or weekly weights and settings on controllers, especially as weather patterns change – have a distinct advantage. If the producer notes particular changes from one year to another, he can quickly make adjustments or seek technical assistance. And although environmental controllers have evolved, outside factors, such as a heat wave or drought, can still wreak havoc on the systems’ control settings.

[This article was adapted from Scott’s publication in World Poultry. To read the full article and more tips from producers around the world, visit]

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