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Description POULTRY  LAYER MANAGEMENT – GROWING(6 to 11 weeks)

Period between 6th and 11 weeks can be termed as growing period. The chicks will brooded are of 315gms average weight and all the birds are of uniform size with well built body frame. The main goals in growing are.
1. To have minimum depletion in the flock- Not more than 1%
2.To achieve standard and uniform weights at 11 weeks.725gms
3.To complete vaccination required to protect the bird at a later stage.
The livability during this period depends a lot on the quality and the health status of the birds at 5 weeks. We expect the flock to be 315gms in weight and uniform in
Size. The frame size should be good enough to avoid fat when the birds gain weight later. The frame size can be judged by the shank length. The shank length of the pullets at 6 weeks should be 66 mm. The target shank length at 11 weeks is 94 mm.

The grower house can be located in the same premises where the brooder shed is there. There should be a distance of at least 100 ft from the brooder shed.
  Growing can be undertaken on deep litter. When the birds are continued in the brooder house for growing place of 1sft. Per bird must be planned.
Grower house should be partitioned so that each pen holds about 1000 birds. More the birds in one pen, there are chances of piling due to outside disturbance. Even while vaccination, the crew should be in a position to complete the pen instead of leaving a partition before a break.

    The feeding system is linear feeders with 3 inches feeding space per bird with grills 1 in between the wires. Hanging feeders can be provided with one feeder for 50 birds. In any case the feeders should have height adjustment to avoid the birds getting in to the feeders. The water is provided in automatic bell
Type drinkers at one for 50-70 birds. Nipple drinking system with
Adjustable height and anti perching arrangement can be provided.


  Some farms have brooder cum grower cages. This is practiced when the housing system is 1+3. There is enough time between the replacements. The brooder cages are taller up to 15 inches with adjustable nipple drinking system. The cage front generally has adjustable grill to permit the growing birds eat comfortably. The cages of 18in*21 in used for brooding 30 chicks are used but the number of birds reduced to 9 after 5 weeks. The number of birds per cage should be reduced to 7 after 8 wks and to 5 after 10 weeks.


  Separate grower cages of 18in/21 in with 1 in/1in.floor are provided in 3tier California system in most of the cases. The chicks are shifted even before 5weeks may be between 28 and 35 days is after the brooding complete.
Growing cum layer cages are not uncommon. The cages have egg roll and the floor is 1in/1in or 1in/2in. The nipple drinking system is adjustable in height. These cages are generally occupied after 8 weeks and 5to 6 birds per cage are housed to start with. The number is reduced to 5, 4 and 3 subsequently.


The chicks brooded in cages sometimes develop flightiness. Due more number of chicks in one box and bright lights provided while brooding the chicks start getting scared in the boxes. Because of the limited space provided, the birds hit the sides and get on the back of the other while huddling at a corner. The chicks have sharp nails and tender skin. This filing leads to injuries in the skin leading to dermatitis and losses.

   Gas brooding for larger group can be provided in the deep litter and the bright light can be avoided. Providing low intensity light from the beginning reduces flightiness. The birds shifted from deep litter to cages showed less flightiness when compared to the birds brooded and grown in cages.
   Diseases problems like Gumboro are better tackled in deep litter than in cages.

A different feed “grower feed is given during this period. The decision to shift from chick feed to grower feed depends on the weight of the flock at 7weeks. If the flock is on standard weight of 445gms. The grower feed is fed after 7weeks. If the weights are low, chick feed is continued for one or two more weeks’ i.e. .till the birds reach standard weight for that particular age.
The grower feed generally has less protein and the birds can tolerate more fiber. The cost of the feed is generally lower than chick and layer. The growth of the chicks depends on the nutrient levels in the feed and how comfortably the birds are eating the feed. The grower feed should have at least 15-16% protein, fortified with all vitamins.

The vitamins and mineral requirement of the birds grown in cages is very critical. The birds in deep litter gets some vitamins in litter like B12 and the birds develop good leg strength due to exercise the birds get on litter. This opportunity is not there for cage birds. Hence vitamins like B2, B12, and D3 have to be provided in the feed. We recommended at least 8gms of B2, 1Gm of B12 and 2400000IU of vitamin D3 per ton of feed. The vitamin premixes are available to provide these levels. This also can be achieved by mixing 150gms of AB2D3k, 300gms of B complex and 100gms of 10% B12 powder.

Available Phosphorus is another critical nutrient for growers as the bone growth takes place during this period. A level of 0.4% available phosphorous is recommended for growers. This is achieved by adding 18kg of Dicalcium Phosphate (DCP) per ton of feed. Due to increased prices of DCP, and to utilize the bound Phosphorus available in plant material, Enzymes like Phytase are being used to release the bound phosphorus. It is observed that the mineral source is more readily available for the bird when compared to the vegetable source. In addition to use of 150gms of (2000 units) Phytase in feed, we advise a minimum inclusion level of 8kg DCP per ton of feed for optimum growth.

Trace minerals especially Manganese is a critical element to avoid lameness due to slip tendon (perosis) in the growing stage. We recommended about 75-100 gms of Manganese sulphate per ton of feed.


Clean and disinfect the grower sheds well before housing. Practice ‘All in All out’. Do not shift the birds in partly occupied house for convenience. Leave the disinfected house for a week at least unoccupied.

The growers should be basically free from infections during brooding and while shifting.
  Shift the birds to growing cages should be done when the birds are healthy and the flock shows no mortality specific or non specific.
  Do not shift the birds immediately after vaccination. Handling stress can aggravate the dormant infections. The birds after vaccination get fever some times and the birds get lazy to look for feed and water in the new premises.
    Strict isolation of the flock from the people working in old bird houses, dirty equipment, visitors and vehicles is a must to keep off the diseases.


The foundation for protection against all possible diseases is laid during this period. The Bursal cells are still active in the early growing period and live vaccines , which cannot be given very early in age like Fowl pox, R2B are given during this stage.

  The killed vaccines for the diseases for which the priming is done in brooding are given during this stage. The killed vaccines like ND killed, VVND, and Fowl cholera are given during this period.

Some live vaccines to prime the birds before the final killed vaccines are done during this stage. IB live and Lasota live or a combination of both is given during this stage.

The need for a particular vaccine depends on the prevalence of the disease in that particular area. The viral diseases spread with wind and must be protected against. The bacterial diseases should be vaccinated against when prevalent in the area.


1. RANIKHET DISEASE - R2B vaccine 0.5ml intra muscular or Subcutaneous is given by 10weeks. This mesogenic strain of vaccine causes nervous symptoms many times and we expect 1 or 2 % birds reaching to the vaccine. Make sure that the body weight of the flock is at least 500gms. Otherwise delay the vaccine by one week. ND Killed vaccine to protect against the same disease is replacing the live vaccine. This killed vaccine is generally given during 6 th week.
2. FOWL POX:  This virus disease can be prevented by early vaccination. The chicks are usually vaccinated at 6 th week, and should be repeated during 11th week.
3. VVND : Is recommended on 7-9th day by injection. And repeat during the 7th week.
        The important points to be remembered are 1. Vaccinate only healthy flocks. 2. Give at least 5 days gap between vaccinations. Plan and execute the programmed quickly to reduce stress to the chicks. All reconstituted live vaccines should be finished in 30minutes. Give immunity boosters and vitamins a day in advance and a day after vaccination.

It is better to check up the whole flock at 11th week and rectify improper debeaking if there is any. Debeak during moderate weather, Avoid handling the birds during the hot part. Have good debeaking machines with sharp edges and blades properly heated. Some times the chicks’ blead excessively.  Give more Vitamin k along with other vitamins. It is advisable to dip the

Beak in ice cold water after debeaking to reduce the bleeding Feed particle size should be small for 3 days.

   The Important pointers of good growing are mortality percentage and the average body weights. It is a good practice to weigh a sample of birds at the end of each week and compare them with the standards provided by the chick supplier. The chicks should reach a weigh of 725gms by the end of 11th week. Uniformly of size of the chicks is another indication growing. We cannot correct the low body weights at 11 weeks. The weekly body weight should be taken. If the flock’s growth is falling behind the target for two consecutive weeks, the feed should be reviewed seriously and corrected. Any sub clinical infections with nagging mortality should seriously investigate to achieve the specified growth rate.


MEDICATION:  Most of the vitamins, trace minerals, growth promoters coccidiostats and liver tonics are added in feed. Generally no extra medicines are required. Specific antibiotics are given as per the advice of the veterinarian.

   Coccidiosis is the most serious problem faced during the growing stage when the flock is in deep litter. This problem also
is seen in cages especially immediately after shifting. Mild Coccidiostats like Dot or DOT+Ethopobate were being recommended earlier. These medicines allow some disease to develop. The birds once exposed get immune once for all. The possibility of getting Coccidiosis is minimum in cages. Hence creating preimmunity is not practiced now days.  Killer coccidiostats like Masuramycin,   Salinomycin are being given if the birds are grown in deep litter and are planned for shifting in to cages. 25% Masuramycin is recommended at 500gms per tonne on a constant basis in grower feed while they are on litter.
In spite of adding the medicines in feed if an outbreak is encountered, water medications like Amproliu, and is given. Medicines like Bay Cox, Sulmet, Codrinal and ESB3 are available. Antibiotics are given along coccidiostats to take care of secondary bacterial infections. If the coccidiosis is associated with necrotic enteritis Amfurol or Diclazuril can be tried.

MYCOPLASMODIS (CRD) is another disease with is common in multiage group poultry complexes. This disease existing in adult birds spreads and remains dormant under good management. This affects the production peaks and persistency of production.  

The best way to keep it under control is All in All out housing. Besides, medication with medicines like Tylosine and Tiamutin can be given on weekly or monthly course of medication as recommended by the manufacturer.

    Immunity boosters like Levimisol and antibiotics one day before and one day after vaccination is also being recommended considering the busy vaccination schedule.


1. Mortality percentage not more than 1%
2. Uniformly of the flock over 90%
3. Total feed consumed during this period 1860 gms
4. Average weight at 5 weeks 315gms.
5. Average weight at 11 weeks 725gms.
6. Weight gain per week-65 to 70gms.



Mortality due to specific bacterial diseases-Appropriate medication.
Out break of disease.  Should be avoided with timely vaccination.
Low level non specific mortality- Non specific bacterial or mycoplasma. Feed medication with antibiotics and anti mycoplasm drugs.
Water born infections-  Correct water management. Water should have no human contact. Check water contamination levels at bore well, over head tank poultry hose level. The water can be decontaminated on a regular basis with acetic acid, chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, chlorine dioxide etc.

Coccidiosis-Mostly in deep litter flocks. Give coccidiostats in feed and conduct post mortem on dead birds besides watching the litter. Start water medication immediately.

   Not Uniform flock-Insufficient feeder space, insufficient feed quantities can cause this problem. Infections like Reo virus can cause this problem. Toxins in feed can cause the variation in growth. Segregate the small birds when found and take special care of the small chicks. Test and remove the causes like toxicity in feed.

a. Mareks – Check with the laboratory for confirmation.
b. Vaccine reaction- Avoid vaccinating birds with lower weights. Give gap between vaccinations. Replace vaccines like R2B with ND killed.
c. Curled toe paralysis- B2 deficiency-Give additional Riboflavin in water.
d. Perosis or slipped tendon. – Check and correct Manganese levels in trace minerals. Deficiency of biotin also can cause this.
e. Rickets can be due to Phosphorus deficiency. See at least 8Kg DCP is given in fed. Add adequate phytase to get Phytin Phosphorus.


Mostly a case of flightiness

Deep litter brooding for 4 weeks- less problem.

Adequate Methionine in Feed 0.4% in growing stage.
Over crowding

Toe clipping can reduce the damage. Clip the terminal part of all nails with scissors.
Antibiotics like Pencilin and Strptomycin.

Low intensity light in brooding.


EMAIL: [email protected]
Any decesion taken for treatment, prevention or any other activity should be consulted with

Veterinarian. We are not responsible for any treatment failure or side effects.  


Last Updated: 2013-12-21 04:54:41  
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