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As soon as the chicks arrive on the farm, they are left a little while in their containers while the following things are done urgently.

     Rinse all the watering vessels with clean water (having earlier washed them thoroughly a day or two before the chicks arrive)

    Measure out 4 teaspoonfuls of powered glucose and add this to each gallon (or 4 litres) of water.

Into this same water pour one table-spoonful of any type of liquid multivitamin drug preparation. (Pour this according to the directions given by the makers or according to instructions from a Veterinary Officer.)

Next pour in appropriate quantity of any broad-spectrum antibiotic which your Veterinarian recommends for you.

Having distributed this medicated water to all the drinking vessels in the brooder house, carefully lift the chicks from  their containers onto the floor of the house, placing them very close to the drinking vessels.

As they are drinking, open a bag of chicks mash or broiler starter (if they are broiler chicks) and spread this evenly on the paper which has been placed on top of the 1/2 inch deep litter covering the floor of the house.

Check round all the hovers and ensure that adequate heat is available in them. (The feed and water should be placed as near the hovers as possible).

Stand aloof and watch all the chicks as they eat and drink from what you have now provided.

If there are any ones too weak to eat or drink, take them up in your hands and carefully put them back in the cartons in which they were brought, or in any other suitable container.

        Next prepare another solution about six
times stronger than the ones prepared for the entire flock. This can be achieved by measuring out one beer- bottle-full   of   water.   Into   this   water   add   four teaspoonfuls of powered glucose; one table-spoonful of vitamins, and one teaspoonful of antibiotic Powder,

           Take I ml or ‘/4 teaspoonful of this solution and slowly pour it into the mouth of each of these weak chicks. Care should be taken to ensure that the medicated water is merely left on the tongue of the chick, leaving it to do the swallowing by itself. Where a syringe is
available for use, measure out one ml of this solution and pour it slowly on the tongue of the chick, letting it to do the swallowing.

     Having manually fed all the weak chicks with water, take them into the hover and leave them for sometime.

         After about 20 minutes rest in the hover, take them out and place them on the papers containing the feed, and leave them there. They will peck on the feed once in a while and take in something.

After about three hours several of the weak ones fed manually must have gained enough strength to join the rest.

        Repeat the treatment over again to any still-weak ones.

        Do this again to any remaining weak ones after another three hours interval. After this, regard any ones still too weak to eat or drink on its own as having little chances of survival, and devote more time now to the healthy ones.

This treatment of the entire flock with medicated water is continued every day for the next 4 or 5 days except that the addition of glucose is not continued after the first day. During the hot season, it may be necessary to add the glucose again on the second day, and after that no more. Chicks deserving this individual treatment are only those which are clearly too weak to get up to either drink or eat. In order not to confuse them with healthy young chicks that simply do not feel like eating or drinking at the time others are doing so, it is advisable to keep the weak chicks separate from the healthy, and return any ones that regain strength; until you are left with only those that remain weak after the nine hours of special attention.

It is necessary to visit the brooder house several times in the day to ensure that the chicks are having no problems. Such frequent visits enable the farmer to detect any sick or dead ones which must be promptly removed. Sometimes, a young chick gets into the drinker in an attempt to drink, and finds it difficult to come out. They can get drowned if not saved in time. Such chicks, when rescued should be taken into the hover to enable them dry up quickly.

When it is nightfall, the chicks should be helped into the hovers. There are bound to be several of them that have not realized that the hovers have some heat for them. While a few lucky ones find themselves settled in the hovers for the night, several others prefer to hurdle themselves together at various corners of the house in an attempt to use the heat from their neighbours’ bodies to warm themselves. These ones should be removed by hand and placed inside the hovers. This practice needs to be continued every night for about seven days, by which time very many of them must have become used to getting into the hovers at night. If the nights are very cold, it is wise to continue this practice every night until the chicks are three weeks old. If the chicks leave the hovers or prefer to stay at the periphery of the hovers, it is an indication that the temperature inside the hovers is hotter than the 95°F that they require within their first week of life. Under such circumstance, they would normally choose the distance away from the heat source where the temperature is as mild as they want it.

It is important not to pack too many chicks into one hover, bearing in mind that a floor space of about 7sq. in. per chick must be allowed. Over-crowding them in the hover makes it difficult for them to move away from the heat, if it is too much for them. This could result in some of them dying from heat-burns. Healthy chicks would normally leave the hovers every morning on their own. Those still found in the hovers in the morning are usually very few and comprise mainly the weak and those which may have gone out to feed and drink and now decide to come back into the hover to have some more warmth.

It is important to put only enough water and feed to last one day, so that the next morning the left over feed (which should then not be much could be thrown away and the feeders cleaned with a thick brush. The watering vessels on their part are washed with water and brush every morning before putting in fresh water. It is not necessary to use soap in washing every morning. Soap, could however be employed once a month, or when the waterers get too dirty.

The feeders are only washed with soap and water and dried, after being used by one batch of birds, in preparation for use by the next batch. However if a farmer has enough feeders, the soap washing could be done monthly also. In this case, fresh feeders from the store are used to feed the birds while the washed ones are left to dry.

It should be remembered that after 3-4 days, the papers used in feeding the chicks are removed and replaced with shallow chick feeders or trays.


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