PoultryUSA - November 2017 - 21
8 questions for broiler breeders' managers
to ask about their broiler breeder flocks
If producers cannot blame poor feathering on a single cause and no single impact, then Wilson posed
10 questions for management to ask themselves to troubleshoot with the feeding issues that lead to
1. Flock uniformity: Are the low-end birds getting
5. Is our bird density too high in rearing? Do we
enough feed? Can we improve our bottom 15
have enough feeder space?
to 20 percent?
6. Are we placing too many males in the hen
2. Look at nutrients consumed: Is our bottom gethouse? Ten to 12 males per 100 hens is too
ting enough protein and micronutrients?
many. Are males stealing more feed from
3. Should we add fiber to the diet to increase
hens and is there too much competition at
the volume of feed offered? Would these
changes also improve flock uniformity and
7. Is there overmating and excessive feather
reduce feather licking/pulling?
wear on the hens?
4. Are there milling issues?
8. Do we have slatting of the hens (young and old)?
hunger, she suggested. Birds have a
tremendous appetite and are not satisfied by the volume of feed they are
getting - less volume and less feeding
time makes it more difficult to achieve
a uniform flock during restriction.
Professionals alongside producers have spent lots of time managing
genetic traits to make sure birds gain
the way they see fit. They have also
selected for traits such as health, fast
feed conversion and breast deposition. To keep from having to restrict
feed intake, Wilson says professionals and producers should spend more
time studying appetite and how to
properly manage that variable.
Wilson's final thoughts
The basics of breeder manage-
ment are still important; feed restriction and uniformity are hard to
achieve together, but Wilson said
uniformity is a necessity. By examining feeding methods, producers
can make some changes that will
help production and fertility. Solving
the problems related to feathering,
pecking and cannibalism is just as
important as ever, Wilson said. ■