As a cockerel and broiler farmer, your dream is to raise broilers that will eventually become big or weighty within 6-8 weeks. While some farmers think this is not possible, most farmers know it is possible. However, the question is: “How can I make my broilers to have big weight or how can I increase the body weight of my broilers or cockerels.” Well, this post will reveal some ways to increase the weight of your broiler or cockerel and at a faster pace.
1. Provide Enough Space in Pen or Cage
Raising broilers chickens (or any other animals) in an overcrowded pen or house is not ideal. Doing so would limit the growth performance of those chickens and cause underfeeding which might result in mortality or stunted growth. Other dangers of overcrowding are cannibalism, high morbidity rate, poor egg-laying performance, deprivation of water and feed, and unevenness.
If you want your broiler chickens to do better in terms of feed conversion, you should raise them under a spacious pen—the recommended floor space for broiler chickens is 1.3 sqft per chicken.
2. Sort Chickens Based on Their Sizes and Live Weights
There are chances that your chickens will not grow equally even though they are of the same age. Hence, it is highly necessary to keep chickens having similar weight size together. This simply means sorting. Sorting of broiler chickens should be done weekly or bi-weekly, and chickens with similar body size and weight should be kept and fed in the same pen. The reasons for sorting chickens are to maximize feed utilization, reduce or eliminate intimidation, bullying or cheating. For instance, when you separate the bigger broilers from the smaller ones, the smaller broilers will be able to eat confidently without the fear of being bullied by heavier or bigger colleagues. After sorting, increase the feed given to the smaller chickens to enhance their growth.
3. Give Well-Balanced, Nutritious Feeds
Feeding is highly essential in poultry production. When there is a problem with feed and feeding, the performance of chickens will directly be affected. For instance, when 3-week old broilers are fed with a feed with a metabolizable energy (ME) value of 2500 kcal/kg or crude protein (CP) value of 15% (instead of 2900 kcal/kg ME or 21% CP), such chickens will not grow well because the nutritional composition of the feed is below par. This is why you must ensure that you buy feed manufactured or produced by a reputable feed milling company. You can learn how to formulate feed for your chickens (in case you don’t know how to). The advantages of formulating feeds yourself include:
- Rest of mind and confidence knowing what exactly your chickens are eating
- Cost of feeding will become cheaper
- Ability to adjust or correct at any time
- Full control about the nutrition of your chickens
You can find this article on livestock feed formulation on livestocking helpful.
So feed your broilers with balanced, nutritious feed (either already-made or personally formulated) for them to grow very well and faster. Don’t also forget that Broiler Starter must be given to broiler chickens from day 1 until the end of week 3 or 4 and Broiler Finisher must be given from the beginning of week 4 or 5 until slaughter.
4. Provide Feed and Water Ad libitum
Another way to increase the body weight of broilers faster is by ensuring that feed is available in the feed tray or trough always. That is, the broilers should have access to feed and water at all times. While this strategy could be expensive, it is highly recommended for farmers who are willing to sell their broilers within a very short period like 4-5 weeks. Some farmers supply light 24/7 in order to encourage continuous feeding as chickens are always up and moving (active) any time they see natural or artificial light.
Starvation is not good for any animals. Thus, avoid starving your chickens in the name of low budget or no money. It is better for you to raise the number of chickens you can afford rather than getting many chickens that you will eventually find it difficult to raise from start to finish. Check this broiler feeding chart out.
5. Keep Birds Healthy
It is impossible for sick chickens to grow or convert feed to flesh very well. Diseases disrupt normal body functions; thus making animals have little or no appetite to feed and encourage isolation from the main flock. Therefore, endeavor to follow the vaccination and medication schedule/programme for broiler chickens, and also, ensure that the vaccination of the chickens is rightly done. The core message here is: Keep your chickens safe always!
NOTE: All those five cockerel or broiler weight improvement tips will only bring impressive results if and only if your chickens have great genetic makeup. This simply means that the chickens must be a product of high-performance broiler parent stock. So, therefore, your broiler chickens must be of a good breed and if not, change the vendor or hatchery that supplies you chicks. Always do background checks and read reviews or feedback on any hatchery.