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The importance of humidity levels to get the best start in the brooding period

27/09/2016

The first 14 days of the broilers’ life are called brooding period. This is a crucial period because chicks are changing from an immature thermos regulation system to a mature one.
For this reason, farmers should take into consideration temperature, air quality, water and feed. The proper management of these features will be the key point to obtain good future results (1).

Temperature and humidity levels are the most important factors because day-old chicks are extremely delicate and the right temperature also influences the birds health and immunity.
Distribution of chicks is the best indicator in order to understand if the farmer is doing a good job:

  • If the chicks crowd together, temperature is too low
  • If the chicks are close to the surround, temperature is too high

Body temperature of young chicks is the result between the amount of the heat produced by the birds and the amount of the heat lost into the environment.
Although day-old chicks have very limited possibilities to regulate heat production, they are able to influence their heat loss.
When body temperature becomes too high, they will start gasping for air in order to cool down by the evaporation of water.
At low body temperature, chicks huddle against each other in order to prevent excessive heat loss. If body temperature is outside their tolerance limits, day-old chicks will express their inconvenience by moving around (2).

Humidity however hardly influences the behavior of day-old chicks. At a relative humidity higher than 85% the temperature comfort zone decreases by 1°C;  at a relative humidity lower than 40% the temperature comfort zone increases by 1°C. In this case, typical draught reactions occur: swallowing, eye blinking, closed eyes etc.
At high relative humidity, no typical “wet” reactions occur: high humidity helps to distribute the heat through the house and diminishes hot and cold spots (3).

Normally, relative humidity should be around 60%; the use of atomizers to spray a small amount of water may increase the humidity in the incubator and in the whole environment.

Pericoli offers a full range of water atomizers with rotating disc that can be installed on circulation fans. RWA is produced in plastic material in order to optimize weight and corrosion resistance. Each model can work with water at standard pressure without any nozzles in order to avoid any possible problem caused by calcification and water impurities.
RWA series is designed and produced with the same criteria of our main products. Useful and efficient like real integrated systems.

(1) F. Henrique: “How to give the best start in the brooding period”- Cobb

(2)  “Chick temperature” – Hatchability.com

(3) “Chick temperature” – Hatchability.com