Preventing trampling

anniemary

Songster
10 Years
Mar 23, 2009
137
2
121
Hello from WI!

Last year, I made a hover brooder. It's a 2x2 ft square box on legs with heat lamps. I put it in a big 8 x 4 foot shipping crate which housed 110 freedom ranger chicks. VERY BAD idea. The box did not leave much room along the side of the crate and many chicks got trampled. I took the brooder out and that helped, but I still lost a few chicks daily by the feeders who were trampled to death. I had done meat birds 2 for two years prior and had never seen this much swarming/trampling, although I never had this many before.

When I put them on pasture, I lost 6 birds the first morning--trampled to death as the birds ran through the opening of their pen to get out and free range. They always swarmed around me for food at night and got under my feet. A couple got injured when I tripped over them. I had never had such a flock before.


THIS year, I've ordered 170 baby chicks. Our new housing isn't quite done (will be in a couple days), but the babies are coming tomorrow. I've prepped the big 8 x 4 crate for them, without the hoover box. They will only be in there for a few days before we move them to a huge hoop house.

Hubby and I are worried about the trampling/swarming. He thinks I should divide the crate in half and separate the flock into smaller groups. After the hover brooder incident, I'm hesitant to put anything in the crate and give them all as much room as possible.

I've read on here that I need to monitor the heat better, that perhaps they were too warm last year.

Any other thoughts?
 

havery

Songster
6 Years
Feb 27, 2015
93
11
111
East Texas
I found with my first batch of meaties this year (red rangers and a handful of Cornish X) they produced a lot more body heat than normal chicks and after the first couple days I needed to turn down the heat in the brooder. I used a dimmer switch like this on my heat lamp and it worked great and made it much easier to make incremental adjustments every time I checked on them until I got it right. Also, I found that I needed a lot more feeders than I did for regular flocks because they get downright stupid at feeding time, even as week-old chicks. I use the slide top type feeders and during the initial feeding I put down enough to have one hole for each chick. It looks like overkill, but I take up the extras after they settle down and it really kept down on the trampling. You might try taking out any smaller chicks or any that are regularly being trampled and separating them until they get a bit stronger. I had a few that were weaker from shipping and never really stood a chance against their healthier brothers even after a week or two until I gave them some special attention and helped them catch up.
 

anniemary

Songster
10 Years
Mar 23, 2009
137
2
121
Thanks for your reply, Havery. I especially appreciated the advice on feeding.

Im using longer troughs this year so there is plenty of food this time around. you are right, that helps!. Paying close attention to stragglers. I had to syringe water a few last night because they were too tired to get to the waterer, but now they are doing great.

All still alive this morning.

Thanks again for sharing!
 

anniemary

Songster
10 Years
Mar 23, 2009
137
2
121
This year went so much better in the brooder!

I did lose 2 to crushing.

I have learned to move the lamps away from the corners and that meat birds do get very warm. The two I lost to crushing was because the birds crowded in the corner to get away from the lamps.

I put the lamps a little higher and away from corners. Helped a lot! Also, making sure I never run out of water or food as that can also cause swarming (just like havery said).

Hope this helps others!
 

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