As per Wikipedia a broiler is any chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) that is bred and raised specifically for meat production. Most commercial broilers reach slaughter weight between four and seven weeks of age, although slower growing breeds reach slaughter weight at approximately 14 weeks of age. Typical broilers have white feathers and yellowish skin.
Broiler Chicken Basics
Due to extensive breeding selection for rapid early growth and the husbandry used to sustain this, broilers are susceptible to several welfare concerns, particularly skeletal malformation and dysfunction, skin and eye lesions, and congestive heart conditions. Management of ventilation, housing, stocking density, and in-house procedures must be evaluated regularly to support the good welfare of the flock. The breeding stock (broiler-breeders) do grow to maturity but also have their own welfare concerns related to the frustration of high feeding motivation and beak trimming. Broilers are usually grown as mixed-sex flocks in large sheds under intensive conditions.
Chicken breeds fall into three basic categories – egg producers, meat birds, and dual-purpose types. In the second category, broilers chickens were designed to mature quickly, ready to market as early as six weeks of age. The commercial market depends on a few breeds of broilers chicken or types. These birds do not make good pets if you are not in the market for meat. They are not bred for longevity, and size creates problems in older birds.
The most common type of broilers chicken is not a real breed but is a cross between white rock and Cornish chickens. Cornish man / white cross rock weighs about 4.5 pounds at the age of 6 weeks. If kept around five more weeks, they weigh about 9.5 pounds. The females of this cross, known as Cornish game hens, grow slower, weighing about 2.5 pounds at the age of 5 weeks. Like other white-feathered meat birds, their carcasses are not discolored areas on the skin due to feather growth.
Broilers chicken red
Red broilers chicken, or Red Label, does not ripen as fast as the Cornish goes through. It takes them twice as long – 12 weeks – to reach the size of the market. Males reach maturity at about 7 pounds and females at 5 pounds. If you want to raise broilers chicken outdoors rather than indoor ones, red broilers chicken make a good choice. As their name suggests, these birds have softened various red shades, and some have dark tails. Hens produce large brown eggs but do not go brooders. This means that you have to incubate the fertilized eggs if you want to raise another generation of red broilers chicken.
Delaware broilers chicken
Developed in the 1940s, the Delaware chickens were given to cross Rhode Island Red hens with Barred Plymouth Rock roosters. At one point, Delawares have been widely used in the broiler industry, but the conservation of livestock – which monitors rare breeds – lists now threatened—black white sports organizations The Delawares except on the neck and tail. Early mature males tip the scales to 8 pounds; hens are smaller at 6 pounds. Unlike other broiler breeds, Delawares are also useful for small-scale egg production.
Other breeds or types of broilers chicken are usually Cornish crosses. You can find these chicks for sale in large scale hatcheries across the country. A relatively new breed is Rosambro, a chicken that looks like a red broiler with faster growth. Expect a mature Rosambro between the ages of 8 to 10 weeks. Other common meat breeds do not grow as quickly as broilers chicken.
Chicken broiler lifespan
Chicken meat does not come from an ex-laying hen who has had a good life, and it does not come from a chicken who has had years of free-range freedom. Chicken meat comes from baby chickens, chickens as young as 5-7 weeks old who still chirp and still have baby blue eyes. These selectively bred chicks are hatched and then put straight into massive sheds that can hold up to 40,000 – 60,000 chickens per shed. A farmer who has many sheds on his property can “grow” several million chickens per year. These chicks are left to their own devices for the next 5-7 weeks of their lives…the only 5-7 weeks of their lives. The sheds are lined with automatic feeders and waterers. As the chickens grow, the room for each chicken gets smaller and smaller. Chickens are trapped in their own waste. Chickens die slow and painful deaths from respiratory disorders due to constantly breathing in air from an uncleansed shed. The lifespan of broiler chickens is short (five to seven weeks) compared to egg-laying hens (1 year), both of which are slaughtered at a young age for economic reasons.
How to make broiler chicken grow faster
The only efficient technique to grow your broilers is to feed them efficiently. Not to overfeed them with giving them so much food and water supplies, thus making them “fat” and sick (There are many sly farmers who overfeed their flocks to have, a fat flock but in truth, it only worsens its meat quality). Efficient feeding not only makes your broilers grow faster but also helps them regain a good quality of meat. Not only that, but efficient feeding also will not make your broilers suffered from leg disorder such as lameness. Also, normally, broilers would grow around three months, but with the proper feeding technique, it could grow just in 2 months. This is surely the most effective way to make your broilers grow faster.
Avoid hotspot in silos
Silo is a dispenser for your broilers. You will simply pour the food into the silos, pour it to the feeders, and let the broilers eat it. However, the silos, especially the beginner or mediocre farmer, rarely clean the silos, let it cover in the dirt, and molding would grow there. Especially in a warm area such as Indonesia, molds will easily grow in warm and dirty silos. Molds will cause many toxic that will harm your broilers if you rarely or even never clean your silos then be ready to face a plague among your broilers. So the first step to applying efficient feeding for your broilers is to clean your silos often and make sure it does not get too hot, also avoid placing silos in a straight sunlight area.
Avoid feeders that waste food
A beginner or even mediocre farmer would often spend their cash to buy the cheapest feeders available in order to save a little bit of money. But in truth, it’s just a fake temporal money saving. The real saving is when you able to use all the food without any waste, thus making you save a lot of money and rarely resupply the food stock. Try to buy feeders that are not only efficient but also effective, so not only will you maximize the feeding system, but you will also be able to feed the entire flock without making it a food fight. (If you buy cheap feeders, broilers often fight each other’s thus making the strong able to eat a lot and the weak only eat what’s left.)
One Hour Lights On, One Hour Lights Off
Do you know that broilers would keep feeding their self with a light on condition? If this happens, they will not stop eating; thus, they will not give their digestive system a chance to digest the food. It makes your broilers overfeed and makes them unhealthy, even if it could cause a rotten gut to your broilers. So try to use a mechanism that allows your farm to be able:
One Hour Lights On
Time for them to eat and let them eat until they reach their own portion. They will love eating with the lights on for sure.
One Hour Lights Off
After feeding time is over, it is time for the lamp to turn off. It would help broilers to rest and let their digestive system to work optimally.
Keep this method every feeding time. Don’t waste your foods, and don’t let your broilers overfeed themselves.
Avoid Overweight in Market Age
Overweight broilers would cost you the feeding efficiency, especially in the market age. The heavy bodyweight will make you increase their food portions. So the more weight your broilers have, the more food you must give them. Thus making your food efficiency technique goes to waste. Also, overweight broilers might have more meat than others, but the meat quality would be awful and unhealthy. So you should keep the broilers’ weight in check.
Keep Your Broilers Healthy
Well, efficient feeding would not be efficient if your broilers are sick. Not only that, if your broilers are sick, it would not only do not eat anything but would also stop growing and thus making your business unprofitable. So not only must you give them an efficient food method but also you must give them protection towards disease. Just simply keep the farm clean, give your broilers some vitamins to increase their body immunity, and give them an efficient feeding.
What are broiler eggs
Broiler eggs are technically laid by chickens who have been feed with hormones. These hormones enable chickens to grow into their adult form in just a few days.
Broiler eggs may contain the following threats that are harmful to human health:
- The unhygienic conditions of raring the chicken mean contaminated eggs – chances of salmonella infection more so if brought from the retailer
- If the antibiotics injected to the birds to grow faster, the chances of these chemicals being percolated into the eggs, gentamicin commonly used, is a nephrotoxin to humans that causes kidney damage. In India, eleven antibiotics were found to be used in raring chicken these antibiotics are usually meant for critically ill, and they tend to increase our resistance to antibiotics, and that puts us in great danger to get treated if we get any of these diseases for which these antibiotics are used ( more in Punjab area as per the research and news reports )
- Dioxins are found in high-level Indian broiler eggs, which are hormones that disrupt chemicals that can cause a wide range of health problems, from cancer to reused immunity to nervous system disorders, miscarriages to birth defects
- The bright yellow yolk means ( as against natural orange colored yolk) the color might have of created by artificial dye – injecting fat-soluble non-food grade dye
- There were reports of tranquilizers and synthetic hormones being injected into the chicken, which, if percolated into the eggs, then these chemicals pose health hazards to the consumer.
Broiler chicken production process
The production complex
Chicken production is typically carried out at so-called complexes. Each complex contains a feed mill, a hatchery, a processing plant, and chicken farms where the chicks are raised, usually in a 30-40 mi (48.3-64.4 km) radius from the processing plant. Contract farmers receive chicks from the hatchery and house them in climate-controlled chicken houses. The houses are typically 400 x 50 ft (122 x 15.24 m), and hold up to 20,000 chickens. The interior is open, with no cages or partitions. When the chickens are old enough for slaughter, they are collected and shipped to the processing plant.
Broiler chickens are bred primarily for meatiness, quick growth, and weight gain. Most chickens used for meat in this country are a hybrid of Comish males and White Rock females. The hatchery houses a flock of thousands of chickens. The hatchery building is an ample open space similar to the house where broilers are raised, except it contains many small houses set inside it, which look like miniature versions of the traditional chicken coop. When the hens are ready to lay, they seek shelter in the coop. The eggs are collected from the coops and taken to incubate. The breeder hens live for about 45 weeks, after which they are no longer considered productive. These “spent” hens are slaughtered, and their meat is usually used for pet food or bought by food companies that use cooked, diced meat (such as in soups).
The eggs are placed in large walk-in incubators. The eggs are kept warm and periodically rotated by the machine. They begin to hatch in about 20 days. Shortly before hatching, the eggs are transferred to drawers. Many processors now inoculate chicks for diseases in ovo, that is, in the shell before they hatch. This is usually done three days before hatching. The chicks peck their way out of their shells when they are ready. For their first several days of life, the chickens are still absorbing nutrients from their yolk sacs, so they do not need food at this time. Trays of newly hatched chicks are wheeled on carts to an inoculation area, where they are sprayed with a mist of vaccine against common diseases. Some producers “debeak” the chickens at this point, which actually means clipping the sharp tip of the beak. This prevents the birds from damaging each other by pecking. This practice was discontinued at some large producers in the late 1990s, as, for the most part, the growing chicks are not overly aggressive, and debeaking was deemed costly and unnecessary. Next, the chickens are shipped to the nearby “grow-out” farms.
The chicks live in large houses that hold as many as 20,000 birds. These grow-out houses are kept at about 85° F (29.4° C) through heating and ventilation controls. The birds are not caged, and typically they are provided with approximately 0.8 sq ft per bird. The floor of the house is covered with dry bedding material such as wood chips, rice hulls, or peanut shells. The birds are fed a diet of chicken feed, which is typically 70% corn, 20% soy, and 10% other ingredients such as vitamins and minerals.
The chicks live in the growing-out houses for about six weeks. Broiler chickens have been bred for excessive weight gain, especially in their breasts and thighs. At six weeks, the chicks usually weigh about 4 lb (1.8 kg) and are ready for slaughter. Collecting of the chickens is generally done at night. Though a variety of mechanical collectors have been developed, such as vacuum devices and plow-like chicken pushers; still the simplest and most effective way to get the chickens crated for transport to the processing plant is to have farm employees enter the house and gather the birds by hand. The workers catch the birds and stuff them into cabinet-like boxes.
At the processing plant, workers take the birds from their boxes and hang them by their feet on a conveyor belt. In a typical process, the birds on the conveyor are first passed through a vat of electrified salt water called a stunning cabinet. About 20 birds occupy the stunning cabinet at one time, and they remain in the water for about seven seconds. The mild electrical current in the water stuns or paralyzes the birds. Next, the birds are conveyed to an automatic neck cutter—rotating blades that sever the two carotid arteries. The birds’ carcasses hang until all the blood has drained.
Defeathering and evisceration
The carcasses are then briefly immersed in hot water to scald the skins. This makes the removal of the feathers easier. The carcasses move to automatic feather pickers, which are moving rubber fingers that rub off most of the feathers. Then the carcasses are scalded a second time and run through another feather picker. Lastly, a specialized machine removes the wing feathers. The de-feathered carcasses next pass to a washer, which scrubs the outside of the body. The feet and head are cut off, and the carcass is conveyed to the evisceration area. Next, the carcass is suspended in shackles by the feet and neck, cut open, and the viscera (internal organs) are removed. When the carcass is empty, it is washed again inside and out by a multiple-nozzled sprayer.
Chilling and cutting
- The cleaned carcasses are sent down a / chute and immersed in a “chiller” of cooled, chlorinated water for 40-50 minutes. The entire slaughter process takes only about an hour, and the bulk of that time is taken up by the chilling. The chicken’s internal temperature must be brought down to 40° F (4.4° C) or lower before further processing. The chilled carcasses are then passed to a cutting room, where workers cut them into parts unless they are to be packaged whole. Some carcasses may be cooked, and the cooked meat removed and diced for foods such as chicken pot pie or soups. Meat from backs, necks, and wings may be processed separately for sale in other meat products such as hot dogs or cold cuts. In whatever format, the meat is packaged by workers at the processing plant, loaded into cases, and stored in a temperature-controlled warehouse.
Why is poultry production important
Poultry farming means ‘raising various types of domestic birds commercially for meat, eggs, and feather production.’ The most common and widely raised poultry birds are chicken.
About 5k million chickens are being raised every year as a source of food (both meat and eggs of
chicken). The chickens which are raised for eggs are called layer chicken, and the chickens which
are raised for their meat production are called broiler chickens. The UK and the USA consume more meat and eggs of chicken than other countries in the world. On average, the UK alone consumes
more than 29 million chicken eggs every day. However, in a word commercial poultry farming is very
necessary to meet up the demand of animal nutrition (eggs and meat). Commercial poultry farming is also very profitable. And commercial poultry farming business is one of the traditional business ventures. Here we are describing more about the advantages of poultry farming business and the steps for running this business. Benefits of Poultry Farming Poultry farming business has numerous benefits. As a result, many farmers prefer to invest in this business. People generally establish poultry farms to produce eggs and meat and generate high revenue from these products. Billions of chickens are being raised throughout the world as a good source of food. However, here I am, shortly describing the main benefits of poultry farming.
- The main benefit of poultry farming is, it doesn’t require high capital for starting. You need just basic capital to start raising poultry. And most of the poultry birds are not costly enough to start raising.
- Poultry farming doesn’t require a big space unless you are going to start commercially. You can easily raise some birds on your own backyard with one or numerous coops or cages. So, if you are
interested in poultry farming, then you can easily do it on your own backyard with several birds.
- Commercial poultry farming businesses also ensure a high return of investment within a concise
period. Some poultry birds like broiler chickens take a shorter duration of time to mature and generating profit.
- Poultry farm structures do not require high maintenance. You can minimize diseases and illness in
poultry by following proper hygiene and care. Diseases are less in some poultry birds like quails,turkeys, etc.
- In most cases, you don’t need any license because almost all types of poultry birds are domestic.Although, if you need a license from the relevant authority, it is also easy for poultry.
What are the factors to consider in selecting a size for broiler production
- Well-defined biosecurity practices throughout broiler production (pre-, during, and post-placement) are crucial to successful poultry production.
- Effective biosecurity can aid hygiene, vermin, and insect control on-farm and limit disease transmission within and between barns.
- Downtime between flocks:
- Adequate downtime of at least 14 days with appropriate cleaning and disinfection measures between flock placements helps to reduce transmission of disease between flocks and allows time to prepare for the next flock.
- Pre-placement preparation:
- Pre-placement preparation is needed before the new flock arrives to help prevent losses during brooding and the rest of the grow out.
- Checkpoints to keep in mind: heaters, floor temperature, temperature, and relative humidity probes, ventilation, drinkers, feeders, etc.
- Coccidiosis prevention:
- Coccidiosis is a disease caused by a microscopic intestinal parasite. This parasite can have an impact on intestinal integrity and may predispose birds to other intestinal problems. Maintaining intestinal integrity during this time through innovative technologies provided in the Alltech® Gut Health Management program is critical in allowing birds to perform to their maximum levels despite gut health challenges.
- Brooding management:
- With today’s improved genetic capabilities and the fast growth of birds, more time is being spent during the critical brooding phase. As a result, ensuring a good start in poultry production can have a significant impact on birds’ future health and performance.
- The brooding period is an important time for intestinal growth and the development of a balanced microflora.
- Litter management:
- The litter in a poultry house acts as bedding for the birds. In addition to standing and resting on the bedding, birds will naturally peck at the litter. Litter condition and quality impact broiler intestinal health and profitability, starting from when the chicks are placed all the way through production.
- Water management:
- Drinking water accounts for 70–80 percent of the bird’s daily drinking needs. Poultry will generally consume more water than feed. As a result, water is the most critical nutrient for poultry. An abundance of clean water will reduce challenges and maximize performance.
- Feed management:
- Birds must have easy access to feed. Proper feeder line-height corresponding to the birds’ height helps reduce feed wastage and mixing feed with litter, which ensures that all birds have access to feed. Adequate feed access is also achieved by following the feed line manufacturer’s recommendations for the number of birds per feed pan or line of trough feeder.
- Birds will naturally peck at litter, but avoiding “out-of-feed” events helps to reduce the potential for birds to peck excessively at the litter. Simple measures like activating trigger feed pans and monitoring feed bin levels during barn checks can help to prevent such events.
- Good feed quality that avoids contaminants like mycotoxins is important to ensure performance.
- Stocking density
- A higher stocking density of poultry in addition to crowded housing conditions has been shown to have a negative impact on performance, causing stress to both the birds and intestinal microbiota.
- Lowering stocking density throughout the overall production of the birds may help to reduce challenges.
- Environmental management:
- General environmental management of the barn includes many components, such as temperature, relative humidity, ventilation, and lighting.
- Understanding that these components work both separately and together can help to guide your management practices.
Now, I hope you have all your answers regarding broiler chickens.