Proper heating for show chickens

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Gib241, Jan 24, 2014.

  1. Gib241

    Gib241 New Egg

    Jan 24, 2014
    I have read through several threads and come to conclusion many here say no heat is fine and maybe even better.

    My boys raise meat chickens for show. The project lasts approximately 5 to 6 weeks. We purchase 200 chickens. Papers we receive say to maintain temps at 90 degrees for first week and drop it 5 degrees each week thereafter. This is a challenge. We have used 250w heat lamps to get somewhere near these temps.

    If we were just raising chickens for us, I would not worry about the heat, but I have learned that ventilation, temp., space, water, and feed are all essentials to even be able to compete with others. We just have not figured it all out at this point.

    Using the heat lamps is fine, but it sure runs an electric bill up in a hurry. We are also told to keep lighting on them 24/7 to encourage eating, but I have also heard turning lights off and letting them sleep will produce a better bird in 5 weeks. Who knows?

    What is a good source of heat without lighting for 200 birds in 400 sq. ft. (approx.)? Everything I have seen or read is for smaller areas, and I have not found anything that gives even a suggestion of temps. at 90 or so.

    Also, if anyone has any pointers to raising broilers for show, I am ready to learn. If you have somewhere you can direct me to learn more, I am ready. There is so much as protein in feed, leave them on starter whole time, switch with a completer half way through, use fermented, do not use fermented, turn off lights, turn on lights, use vitamins the whole time, use them only for a week, and the list goes on.

    Any help and/or direction is appreciated.
  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I think everyone uses heat for baby chicks.

    As to heat that costs less, I have no idea.

    As to light, everything that I have read says that even though light for 24 hours will speed up growth, it is not healthy growth. All of that light can also increase picking at each other.
  3. enel 1

    enel 1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 19, 2012
    eastern washington
    They only need heat for the first 3 weeks or until they have feathers, as far as temps go, keep your heat source in a spot where the chicks can move in and out so they can decide how warm they need to be. Broilers run a little warm any ways. It sounds like this is your first time so I'm wondering why you took on a 200 bird project with out any experience, 25 bird would of been an easier challenge to start out. As far as feed goes, with that many birds you may want to start out with a medicated starter feed for 2 weeks,all they can eat, then switch to a general poultry feed like flock raiser and feed them 12 hr on 12 hr off, and that will prevent ( for the most part ) leg and heart issues. As far as lighting goes, a reguler lighting regiment like 16 on and 8 off should be fine. It seems to me as far as broilers go as long as they are clean and to weight without and leg or health issues,they should do well in a show. I've seen propane brooders if electricity bills are an issue.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  4. Gib241

    Gib241 New Egg

    Jan 24, 2014
    enel 1,

    Thank you for the information.

    To address your concerns, no this is not our first time. We have been at it for seven years, but I am always trying to learn as we all are.

    The reason we get 200 is because many times numbers play a part in getting 3 uniform chickens worthy of show. You take that and multiply 4 (number of kids), add an alternate or two for back-up, and come show time, we need 16 premium chickens. If I had the facilities to handle more, I would purchase more.

    Getting 16 out of 200 for show can be a challenge for competition. Some of these folks in the area have got it down and produce absolutely beautiful chickens at show. Some are willing to talk while others look at you like they hold the top secrets of the world which is fine.

    It is a challenge and fun all at the same time.

    Thank you for mentioning propane heaters, I am going to check into that. In the past, we have attempted to maintain a 90- 95 degree temp. (starting out) in the whole section. Next year, we will build a box slightly off the ground and reduce amount of heat space at 90-95 and leave remainder of their brooding section a little cooler.

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