As you anticipate starting another flock on your farm, there are many things to consider. Certain steps must be taken before poults arrive and as they arrive on your farm to find success with a flock. Every detail in the process matters and can play a huge role in getting these new poults off to the best start possible. All great flocks of turkeys begin with good thriving poults!
There are vital tasks to complete before poults arrive on your farm. It is crucial to your success to clean out, wash, and adequately sanitize the brooder barn. Ensure all parts of the brooder were cleaned, including vents, fans, all areas of the feeder and water lines, walls, ceilings, and all areas of the floors. Taking the time to eliminate all traces of disease will give your poults the best chance for a great start.
Spread out wood shavings evenly to provide the poults with a level floor surface to move around. Any low or highspots can cause an issue with poults being able to freely move around and access feed and water as they need. Feed trays or paper should be properly placed so that feed is accessible everywhere to allow the poults to start on feed as soon as they arrive.
Another essential factor to consider before poults arrive is to make sure the temperature in the barn is adequate. Check the temperature on the setpoints and the temperature of the shavings. Variations in temperatures can cause discomfort in the birds. It is crucial to observe your birds and how they react in their environment. Adjust the temperature as the birds are crowded or spread apart.
Another factor to consider is feed and water. Make sure feed pans and drinkers are adjusted to prevent birds from wasting or struggling to reach the feed. Monitor the height of feed and water lines daily and adjust as needed. There are differences between all barns and production systems. Observe daily water intake to ensure the poults are drinking the appropriate amount and look for significant swings in water intake.
Lighting is another factor that plays a role in the success of the start of your poults. Adjust light schedules each day as the birds grow older. On day 1, birds need 24-hour access to lights to ensure they start on feed and water and adapt to their environment. After 24 hours, implement a step-down period of light. Decrease the amount of light in the barn by at least one hour per day until the birds reach seven days of age. From there on, make sure birds are experiencing 6 to 8 hours of darkness daily. The type of lighting is also essential. Continue to monitor your birds and do what works best on your farm.
Often overlooked when starting a new flock of poults is consistency. Do chores at the same times each day. While in the barn, observe the small details and read the health of your birds. Walk barns consistently after placement to ensure flip overs are being addressed and make any necessary changes. Following a consistent schedule allows you to monitor small details closely and quickly manage any variables that may affect the poults. The more consistent the environment, feed, and water to these poults, the better their chance of success. Addressing health concerns early keeps poults as consistent as possible. Lastly, seek help from professionals when needed. Do not hesitate to call and ask questions to prevent more significant problems. Remember, the success of every flock starts at poult placement!