Dr. Keith Bramwell, Professor from the Department of Poultry Science at the University of Arkansas, and long time associate of Jamesway Incubator Company Inc. offers many useful practices for Breeder Management, most recently presenting his expertise at Jamesways Incbubation Seminars in China, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Focusing on Breeder Management, in particular male management, Dr. Bramwell focused on the do’s and don’ts during the Brooding Phase, Rearing Phase and Production Phase, offering many helpful tactics for increasing fertility and uniformity in your flocks.
During the Brooding Phase, Dr. Bramwell notes that damage can be caused in the first two weeks of life that may not be noticed until later. It is important to remember that during this stage the chick has a developing immune system and inefficient temperature regulation, and exposure to stressful situations could lead to the loss of uniformity in the flock. Creating a ‘Comfort Zone’ for the chicks, allowing access to heat, feed and clean water at all times, is essential.
During the Rearing Phase, feeder space must be considered, as it is crucial that all males eat simultaneously to maintain uniformity among the flock. Placement density must be 2.5 ft², minimum, per male and 1 nipple must be provided for each 8 cockerels, and 1 bell drinker for each 60 cockerels. It is also important to check ‘Vaccine Takes’ to maintain a good male program.
During the Production Phase, housing elements must be considered. The day prior to a move must always be a feed day, and an entire house must be moved in one day. Water should also be readily available upon arrival. A good practice in housing breeders, is for male to female ratio to be within the range of 7.5-10.0%. The condition of the male including size and age must also be considered, as this will determine the ratio of males to females housed.
Spiking programs may also be introduced during the Production Phase through three different methods including the New Male Spiking, Intra Spiking and Back Spiking. Although spiking is beneficial in many ways it may also present some negative effects such as threatened biosecurity and increased costs.
Many aspects must be considered for male management. Focusing on elements that can be changed for the better will help to greatly improve fertility and subsequent hatchability.
This article in full can be found on www.jamesway.com