Chick production is a form of art and a science in its own right. It is not just a matter of letting our hen sit on their eggs or using any incubator we can grab of in order to have a good hatch.
A lot of factors affect the production of uniform, quality and vigorous gamefowl chicks. Proper management practices starting from: BREEDING, GOOD HEALTH and NUTRITION, LINE SELECTION, HANDLING and STORAGE of EGGS BEFORE INCUBATION and PROPER INCUBATION and HATCHERY MANAGEMENT.
1. Breeding - preparing the broodfowls for the breeding season
2. Good Health and Nutrition - giving our broodcock and broodhen proper layer feed ration and necessary multivitamins and minerals for egg production. Breeders are fed energy giving diets and nutrients to optimize egg production. Maternal nutrients are transfered to the chick embryo thru the yolk of an egg. Developing embryos inside the yolk gets nutrients from the albumen of the egg.
3. Line Selection - choosing the right broodcock and broodhen to be mated as desired upon.
4. Handling and Storage of eggs Before Incubation - selection and care of eggs before setting in the incubator.
Breeding, Good Health and Nutrition, Line Selection and Proper Handling and Storage of Eggs are the first four important factors in order to PRODUCE VIABLE EGGS necessary to attain and maintain HIGH FERTILITY levels of eggs for quality chick production. At this stage, the genetic traits of the egg is already set upon fertilization. Next is for egg to be handled and stored properly in order to maintain fertility until ready to be set for incubation.
Considering a viable egg is produced, it is now very important to have:
5. Proper Incubation and Hatchery Management - Incubation is a heat related (or temperature dependent) process that determines the quality and vitality of day-old chicks. The hatchability of incubated fertile egg depends upon the method of incubation (natural/hen or incubator) by which the biological needs of fertile developing embryo is being supplied with. The biological needs of the developing embryo of a fertile egg are as follows in the order of their importance: (1)temperature, (2) relative humidity, (3) correct ventilation and, (4) turning of eggs. For an incubator to attain high levels of hatchabiltiy, it must have the right design and technology to meet those four important incubation factors.
Choosing which method of incubation to use depend on the breeder's plan on egg and chick production program including the availability of facilities on hand. some breeders use native hens: Natural Incubation - as surrogate mothers since most broodhens are not sitting type. Artificial Incubation is a method that uses a machine called INCUBATORS that simulates what the hen does to its hatching eggs. It is practical and economical to use in large scale egg production. It is efficient in producing large number of chicks in batches and facilitates uniformity in management operations like vaccination, feeding and medication program.
Hatching vigorous and quality day-old chicks is important in gamefowl production. In our relatively small sector, with its many tradditional and backward practices, there is room for innovative ideas and appropriate technology aimed at significantly improving the quality of hatch on the premise that the vitality of day-old chick will determine the ultimate and maximum tecnical fighting performance of fighting cocks as it grows up.