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Cage Growing

Chicks started in cages should be placed in the upper levels (decks), where the air is warmer and the light brighter. The chicks can be distributed among all cage levels at around 14 days of age when the space has become too restricted in the upper levels. Intermingle seemingly weak and strong chicks (from different transport boxes) to allow the stronger chicks to 'train' the weaker chicks to find water and feed. The starter feed should be placed inside the cage on the cage paper after the chicks have had a chance to drink. Continue feeding on the paper for the first 7 to 10 days after arrival.
 
Place paper on the cage floor during the brooding period. This will allow supplemental feeding on the cage paper to quickly get chicks eating. Place feed on the cage paper in front of the permanent feeder to train chicks to move towards the feeders. Remove the paper by 14 days of age to avoid build up of feces that could lead to infectious bursal disease or coccidia infections. Water lines should be flushed prior to arrival of the chicks. Drinking water temperature should be 25 to 30°C (77 to 86°F) for the first week. Adjusting water system pressure in nipple drinkers to create a hanging drop will help chicks find water. Cup drinkers should be manually filled during the first 3 days to train chicks to drink.

Recommended colony/cage space for commercial layer pullets in growing period


Breeders can be raised and produced in specifically designed breeder cages with success. To avoid leg problems, the rearing cage should be constructed with wire that is at least 2 mm (0.08 in) in diameter with spacing between wires to provide a maximum cell size of 18 mm × 18 mm (0.71 in × 0.71 in). The floor of the cages should not be slippery or sloped. The height of the cage should be a minimum of 40 cm (15.75 in). If too low, the roosters can experience problems with legs and pressure sores on the keel bone. Growing breeders in cages and then transferring them to a floor production system is not advisable. Breeders handled in this way can experience behavior problems (e.g., displaced pecking behavior) as adults. Therefore, it is essential to grow the birds on the floor when they will be housed in floor systems for the laying period. See also the Cage Systems Management for Parent Stock section for recommendations for breeders in lay.

Recommended colony/cage space for breeder pullets in growing period1,2

1See the Cage Systems Management for Parent Stock section for cage-space recommendations in lay.
2Includes both males and females

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