A lot of Zimbabweans are into broiler rearing because when compared to other hustles broilers are relatively easy as long as you know how to do it properly. Chicken is easily the most consumed meat in Zimbabwe according to our weekly customer and price surveys. This means if you rear broilers you are almost always guaranteed a ready market. One big problem reported by most broiler farmers, however, is the issue of chick mortality rate. New farmers tend to incur heavy losses due to their chicks dying early in their life. Some lose as much as half their chicks during their first forays.

Here are some tips to reduce your chick mortality rates whether you are a seasoned or new farmer. The good news is that most of these steps are cheap or free in addition to being easy to implement.

  • Make sure to always buy your chicks from trusted suppliers. These days chicks are readily available from a lot of trusted suppliers. Avoid buying from resalers and third parties if you can.
  • Do not just accept a box of chicks and leave the shop. Take care to inspect them to see if they are healthy before you transport them.
  • Do not cover them during the transportation process. Follow proper guidelines and make sure there is adequate ventilation otherwise they will die due to asphyxiation.
  • Provide adequate brooding temperatures and put a heater in there especially when they are still young. Make sure to use a recommended heater that will not harm the chicks
  • Provide the chicks with sufficient clean feed which is not mouldy
  • You should clean the poultry houses or cages regularly and change the bedding with each batch of broilers
  • Whenever required follow proper medication and vaccination guidelines
  • Implement biosafety features for example provide a way for people to disinfect themselves before entering poultry houses

These measures will go a long way in reducing your chick mortality rate. When done properly do not be surprised if you sometimes do not even suffer any losses at all!

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