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Kukuchic limited

Weston Acarde Bandaptai  Eldoret

Every farmer desires 100% survival of chicks once he or she has bought and put them in a brooding house. Losses will, however, almost always occur especially during the first two weeks of life.

A mortality of 1-3 percent may be considered normal, but anything above 3 percent is abnormal and requires immediate intervention to stop further losses. Indeed some of the causes can actually wipe out the entire flock. The number of mortality will depend on the source of the chicks and how the farmer prepared the Brooder before the introduction of chicks. Hence brooding of not more than 300 chicks is recommended for startup farmers in one brooder. Each brooder is surrounded by a round guard

Some of the common causes of mortality in brooding chicks include:

Genetic Factors

There are many lethal gene mutations in birds, most of which cause death during the incubation period. A few, such as congenital loco and congenital tremors will cause the death of chicks within a week of hatching.

To prevent this, farmers are advised to purchase day-old chicks from reputable farms that select against such genes.  From experience,  KUKUCHIC Ltd the breeders of Rainbow Rooster and Kuroiler F1 chicks has been well received by farmers.

Management Factors

The most common errors that farmers commit include:

A) High brooding temperatures

These result in two major problems, namely,


    The body of young chicks comprises about 70 percent water. If temperatures remain continuously high, it results in loss of water from the body leading to dehydration.

    A water loss of about 10 percent will cause death due to circulatory failure.


    This is when high temperature in the brooder house causes pasting or sticking of feces around the vent leading to blockage and ultimately death of chicks. Chicks like taking cold water but if the temperature is high in the Brooder, then even the water will be hot.  So chicks will neglect taking the water leading to death.

Low brooding temperatures cause chilling and pneumonia which kills chicks in high numbers. Dead chicks on post-mortem show pale to blue lungs in color.

Low brooding temperature makes the chicks huddle together to keep warm and maintain body temperature. This further leads to smothering and death. The chicks tend to collect around the heat sources where they die from.

To prevent the effects of temperatures, a farmer should adjust the brooding room temperature 24 hours before putting the chicks in the brooding room and during the brooding period.

A farmer should also try to maintain the normal recommended temperature throughout the brooding period and evenly in the brooding areas. You can use the chick’s behavior to tell if the temperature is right or not.  Look at the photos below.

B) Feed-related factors include

Feed poisoning such as fungal (mold) contamination or feed contaminated by toxic substances especially tannin found in sawdust and excess salt in water and feed as well as toxic gases (Ammonia, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide).


This should be avoided through the use of proper feeding and use of clean water, and the addition of sangrovitx10 in feed as well as proper litter management with regular mixing and removal to avoid the accumulation of toxic gases in the brooder room. If possible,  you can avoid sawdust in the Brooder,  and use either wood shavings or coffee husks.


Adequate ventilation in the house is also very important, and farmers should avoid using smoking charcoal in the Brooder. First, check the charcoal if it's not smoking before you put the heat source inside the house. A farmer is supposed to leave an exit of bad gases out of the Brooder and an entry of fresh air..... Sealing off the Brooder completely may end in suffocation and death.



Newly hatched chicks do not have a high immunity level. If hygiene is not maintained, many diseases responsible for early chick mortality will thrive.


Among the most prevalent of these diseases are:-




Also referred to as ‘mushy chick disease’ or ‘navel ill’, this is an infection of the navel characterized by inflamed skin in the navel area, soft, flabby, and distended abdomen, pasting of the vent, and foul smell on the carcass on opening due to unabsorbed yolk. Affected chicks appear depressed with drooping heads.


This is a bacterial disease and can spread very fast becoming responsible for high losses in the flock of chicks. To avoid this,  a farmer should maintain good hygiene of the Brooder,  and proper disinfection before the introduction of chicks.


This is an acute infectious and fatal bacterial disease of chicks characterized by ruffled feathers, white diarrhea, labored breathing, chirping, and death. It is also common to find dead chicks without showing any signs of disease.


This is a condition referring to a group of acute rapidly spreading diseases affecting all ages. It is characterized by a rise in body temperature, septicemia (presence of infectious organisms in blood), omphalitis, hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), enlargement of the spleen, and death.

When it affects young chicks, it can be responsible for a very high death rate in the brooder room.


This is a serious and acute bacterial disease affecting the blood system and can affect all ages of chickens with high prevalence and mortalities in newly hatched chicks.

Strict bio-security or hygiene is the one major method of preventing the above diseases. The houses, water and feed equipment, and the entire surrounding of the brooder room must be kept clean and free from all contamination. Proper disinfection of your poultry house with strong disinfectants like Combat helps to get rid of these disease-causing microorganisms.

Use of water-soluble vitamins with electrolytes

This will help to stop early chick mortality, improve growth, and improve immunity.

Other factors to be considered are:

• Floor, water, and feeder space must be adequate to avoid overcrowding, starvation, and dampness of the litter which facilitates the multiplication of pathogenic micro-organisms and further deaths.

. Pendulous crop/ crop impaction.  This results from birds eating the coffee husks or litter. At one day old, birds cannot differentiate feed from litter.  So you need to cover litter with Brooder paper so that the birds can get used to feeding.  After which, you will remove the brooder paper after 5-7 days. Failure to remove the brooder paper may lead to coccidiosis.

• Proper handling of chicks during vaccination and other procedures to avoid injuries that predispose chicks to contamination and subsequent infections. There are incidences where farmers have lost a number of chicks due to suffocation while vaccinating others being stepped on  

When workers entered with buckets of feed and water, they could place the buckets on the chicks and they died...

Talk about the stress after vaccinations. Don't neglect this, because it can cause problems for your flock.  Always handle the vaccination stress with the help of water-soluble vitamins.  Every after vaccination, give vitamins for 5-7 days to combat the vaccination stress from affecting the birds.

•Maintaining proper humidity to avoid dampness in the brooder room. Dampness facilitates the accumulation of toxic gases and the growth of infectious microorganisms.

• Construction of brooder houses should also be proper to keep away predators such as rats, dogs, and cats.

• Proper ventilation is necessary to regulate temperature and remove carbon dioxide, ammonia, other gases, moisture, dust, and odor. Fresh air should be introduced uniformly, mixed well with house air, and circulated properly throughout the brooder house.

• Light is an important factor during brooding because chick activity is greater in bright light intensity than in low light intensity. During brooding the light should be at the brightest intensity to encourage chick activity assisting them to locate feed and water. The entire brooder should be well-lit with bright light all around the brooder.  This will give uniformity in growth.

. Sharp corners should be avoided in the brooder room