Poultry Management Guide


We have added the information below to help you get your chicks started correctly and to eliminate any potential problems that might arise. Please read this information carefully and be prepared when your chicks arrive.

Cornish Giants

  1. Feed


    The use of slide top feeders (one per 25 chicks) is ideal to start the chicks. On the first day cover the litter with newspaper and spread some feed on the papers and have your feeders full also. Begin removing the feeder lids as soon as chicks have adjusted to eating from the permanent feeders, usually within five to seven days. Raise feeders off the litter gradually as the birds grow. The top lip of the feeder should be level with the birds backs. Keep feed in front of the birds at all times. Provide one feeding tube or pan per 25 birds. Feed SunRise 20% Chick Starter-Amprol for the first 3 weeks of age. A Rule of Thumb is to provide 1 kg starter feed per bird. Then gradually switch to SunRise 19% Broiler Grower.
    Once the birds have reached 6 weeks of age, feed restriction can be used to slow down growth and promote a healthier bird or a lower protein feed SunRise 16% Poultry Grower, can be used. Feed what the birds can eat in 20 to 30 minutes 2 to 3 times per day. Caution must be used, as too little feed can leave the bird malnourished. Electrolytes in the water can also be used during feed restriction.

  2. Air

    Ventilation serves several functions: removal of excess heat and moisture, provides oxygen while removing harmful gases, prevents ammonia build-up which can blind birds, reduces dust, and improves the overall air quality. Poor air quality can lead to Ascites (an accumulation of fluid in the body cavity) in chickens.

  3. Water

    Along with adequate heat, water is the most critical determinant of early chick mortality. Birds must have easy access to clean water from day one onwards. Use a minimum of one – 4 litre drinker per 50 day old chicks. Place waterers between feeders and close to brooder hoovers of the source or heat. Wash and refill chick waterers each day. Never allow waterers to go dry. An electrolyte solution can be used for the first 7 days. Although this is not crucial, it does help to reduce mortality under stressful conditions.

  4. Light

    The physiological pressures of rapid growth can lead to poor livability. Research has indicated that the use of a controlled lighting program can be advantageous in improving broiler livability by controlling mortality due to leg problems, sudden death syndrome and ascites. If cannibalism (excessive picking ) becomes a problem replace conventional incandescent bulbs with red bulbs. Bright lights and 24 hours of light for the first 4 days will enable chicks to easily located feed and water. After 5 days a period of darkness can be introduced (ie. 8 hours). Also lights should be dimmed to prevent excessive cannibalism, flip overs, and leg problems.

  5. Temperature

    Temperature during brooding is extremely important. Most commonly used as a heat source is the heat lamp utilizing a 250 watt heat bulb. These should be hung 18″from the floor. The temperature should be around 90 degrees farenheit at approximately 2″ from the floor. Please use a thermometer to check the temperature. One heat lamp should be sufficient for around 50 to 100 chicks, dependent on surrounding environmental temperatures. Two heat lamps is ideal, in case one heat lamp fails. After the first week at 90 degrees farenheit, the temperature can be lowered by 5 degrees each week until it reaches 70 degrees farenheit. Comfortable chicks will be quiet and uncomplaining. During stressful times it may be necessary to increase the house temperature temporarily. If birds are exposed to cool temperatures or drafts they will crowd together.

  6. Surroundings

    Chilling or overheating of chicks, even for short periods of time, can result in vent pasteing and excessive mortality. Activate heat source far enough in advance so litter temperatures reach 90 degrees before chick arrival. Dry soft bedding is critical to bird health and carcass quality. Straw and coarse particle wood shavings make excellent litter material. If wood shavings are too fine birds may eat the litter and become impacted. Allow a minimum of one square foot of growing space per bird from 4 weeks of age until market.

Brown or White Leghorns and Specialty Layers

  1. Feed

    SunRise 20% Chick Starter – Amprol should be fed for the first 6 weeks, followed by SunRise 16% Poultry Grower up to 16 weeks of age. At 16 weeks of age, pullets should receive SunRise 18% Laying Mash. Provide enough trough space for more than half the birds to eat at one time.

  2. Nests

    One nest box (12″x12″x12″) for every 4 to 5 hens should be sufficient. Keep nest full of shavings or straw. Gather eggs often to avoid egg breakage. Provide 2 sq ft/bird for overall living floor space.

  3. Light

    Proper nutrition and lighting programs will ensure year round egg production. Use 40 watt bulbs at 8ft. centers, with an 8 foot ceiling, to ensure adequate light intensity and distribution. An inexpensive time clock can be used to program lights to turn on and off.

    The following program will ensure optimal growth, development, and egg production:

    Hours of light per day
    Hours of light per day
    1 to 3 days old
    23 hours
    8 – 19 weeks
    12 hours
    4 – 7 days old
    22 hours
    19 weeks
    13 hours
    1 week old
    20 hours
    20 weeks
    13.5 hours
    2 weeks old
    19 hours
    21 weeks
    14 hours
    3 weeks old
    18 hours
    22 weeks
    14.5 hours
    4 weeks old
    17 hours
    23 weeks and over
    15 hours
    5 weeks old
    16 hours
    6 weeks old
    15 hours
    7 weeks old
    14 hours


  1. Feed

    Turkey Starter 24%- Amprol (crumble) should be fed for the first 6 weeks ( 3-4 kgs of feed/bird). Then feed SunRise 20% Turkey Grower 20%-Amprol from 6 to 12 weeks of age (14kg feed/bird). Then feed SunRise 16% Poultry Growerfrom 12 weeks to slaughter. Put feed in shallow pans, paper plates or trays, and place these around the brooder area.

  2. Water

    Turkeys will drink 2lbs. of water for every 1 lb. of feed consumed. Never make sudden changes in items like waterers or feeders-make them gradually. Turkeys can lose track of where feeders and waterers are located.

  3. Light

    Start the chicks on 23 hours of light and 1 hour of darkness for the first week. Over the next 6 weeks gradually bring your lights down to match outside natural light patterns.

  4. Temperature

    Turkeys require a higher starting temperature (95-100 degrees) than other birds. Reduce temperature there after by 5 degrees per week to a constant 70-75 degrees. Use one 250 watt lamp for every 25 poults. Allow room for the birds to move away from the heat.

Ducks and Geese

  1. Feed

    Poultry Starter PLAIN 20% should be fed for the first 4 weeks (3 kg feed/bird). Do not feed any medicated feed as it is toxic to their systems. Feed SunRise 16% Poultry Grower or Poultry Finisher 16% along with supplemented greens from 4 weeks onwards. Keep insoluble grit freely available at all times in separate feeder.

  2. Light

    Start waterfowl on 23 hours light and 1 hour of darkness for the first 2 weeks. Move to the same hours as natural outside conditions as quickly as possible.

  3. Temperature

    Starting temperature should be 85 to 90 degrees for the first 7 days. Reduce temperature thereafter by 5 degrees per week to a constant 70-75 degree until birds are 6-8 weeks old or until they are feathered.