Hy-Line commercial and parent-stock chicks adapt equally well to floor and cage-brooding systems. The chicks require no special hatchery services except vaccination against Marek’s disease. Nevertheless, a laying-hen flock has a major part of its potential performance determined during the first 17 to 20 weeks of its lifetime. Therefore, special attention should be paid to the growing period to assure that the hens reach the laying house ready to deliver her bred-in performance potential. Mistakes made in grow are very difficult, if not impossible, to correct in the laying house.
Pullet Management Check List
- Grow pullets in strict isolation from older birds. Maintain good sanitation. Plan work routines so that disease-causing agents cannot be carried from older birds to the growing pullets.
- During the first 6 weeks, operate feeders to provide feed at least twice daily. Starting at 2 to 3 weeks of age, check feed consumption and body weights against the body weight standards for the specific Hy-Line variety.
- Weigh at least 100 pullets weekly during the growing period, beginning at 2 to 3 weeks of age.
- Check water availability in each cage row daily. Check for and repair leaks. Raise waterers as the birds grow (nipples higher than the birds’ heads; cups or troughs level with their backs).
- Plan and follow a vaccination schedule to fit the location. A local veterinarian or a Hy-Line representative can be of assistance in making recommendations. Remove mortality daily and dispose of properly. Examine for causes of excessive mortality.
- Three days before moving pullets to the laying house, begin using water-soluble vitamins and electrolytes in the drinking water. Continue for 3 days after housing. This helps minimize the stress of moving. Handle birds gently during transfer to avoid injuries.
- Pullets should be housed at 17 weeks of age, before the onset of sexual maturity.