PRODUCTION the prevention of coccidiosis.” At the very start, Ritchie advises that chicks be watched very closely – the more the better. “I find that producers are doing a much better job of monitoring CO 2 levels, especially in the winter, and in general, chicks are being watched well to avoid chilling and overheating,” he notes. “Do your measurements and make sure they are on target and make sure you are double-checking your readings and that your instru-ments are working correctly.” The new broiler genetics are so good, he concludes, that farmers must now look after their birds like never before. “With using less or no antibiotics, management is now more important as well,” he says. “I think produ-cers are doing very well. We have learned a lot from successful turkey, leghorn and broiler-breeder brooding programs. It’s a huge topic and we have all come a long way. Nothing is broken – we just have a lot of fine-tuning to do. I find producers are open to trying things, are very enthused and are very responsive to instruction.” Broiler brooding basics Before chick delivery: Ensure proper downtime has been respected, water lines are pristine, barn has been pre-warmed and layout of heaters, feeders and drinkers is optimized After chick delivery: Close monitoring and promo-tion of good early feed uptake in the first 24 hours is critical to establish steady state eating patterns. Before and after chick arrival: The Platinum Brood-ing program promotes the establishment of accurate measurements and the thorough, accurate and precise completion of a checklist (in measuring moisture, temperature and other metrics to achieve a comfort zone). It also encourages a constant review of progress through the use of the app and dashboard reports. Turkeys Excellent turkey poult care – and long-term perform-ance success – also relates to conditions that should be in place both before and after poult delivery. According to William Alexander, all the factors of importance be-fore poult arrival (adequate downtime, clean water lines, pre-warming, correct layout of heaters, feeders and drinkers) are equally important. “I would say that at this time of year, it’s particularly important to pre-heat the brooder house,” explains the technical service rep-resentative with Kitchener, Ont.-based Hybrid Turkeys. “During the first days of life, a poult’s thermoregula-tory system is not yet fully developed, so it depends heavily on the environment to maintain its body tem-perature.” Alexander strongly advises checking the temperature of the floor, not just the air, prior to poult 32 CANADIAN POULTRY Monitor and adjust air quality not only to protect flock health but to also save money on heating costs. January 2018 P H O T O CRED IT : HEND RIX GENE TI CS “The genetic potential of modern poultry cannot be achieved without strict attention to brooding” arrival. “By doing this, you will get a clear indication of what the poults will feel, rather than what you feel,” he explains. “A water sanitation program is also important, and begins with clean water lines before the poults enter the farm.” After poult delivery, ventilation is one of the most complex areas to manage, according to Alexander. “There are many variable factors on each barn, including number of fans, number of heaters, type of heaters, number of inlets and number of birds,” he explains. “All these factors can impact the air quality. The first step towards excellent air quality is to begin monitoring things like gases and humidity, in addition to temper-ature. Once you know the conditions you are dealing with, then you can begin looking into what may be causing them to be outside the recommended levels, and then you can seek to resolve and improve those areas.” He’s found that providing optimal air quality not only protects flock health, but can also save growers money in heating costs. As far as evaluating the comfort level of poults, there are several ways to do it and these are generally categor-ized into direct and indirect observations. “Indirect observation means you watch the bird’s behaviour,” Alexander explains. “This is a useful method if you have a clear understanding of what is good versus undesirable behaviour – huddling versus spread out or noisy versus quiet, for example. Another indirect evaluation is to check that the crop of the bird is almost full the morning after placement. This shows that they are eating. Poults will only seek out food when they are at the right tem-perature and comfort level. This understanding of poult behaviour differences comes with time and experience.” However, indirect observations are not definitive.