Editor’s note: This article is a guest post by Dr. Andrew Bunan originally published on THE SABONG CHRONICLES. The author is a game fowl breeding and genetics specialist. He recently published the ebook Starting a Game Farm. Connect with him on Facebook.
There are breeders who say that they do not brood their game chicks anymore to make them hardy in preparation for the fighter’s life ahead. Some, though, think that when we say brooding, we mean containing the game chicks in an enclosure with a heat source. Nothing more, nothing less. They say they do not brood their game chicks because they let them loose right after hatching – but provide them something that would keep them warm whenever they need to.
When we say brooding, we mean providing game chicks with external source of heat to keep them warm so they’ll survive and grow normally. You see, game chicks are cold blooded the whole time that their down feathers are not yet replaced with their second set of feathers. If they are exposed to ambient temperature, their body temperature lowers. Too much exposure to such temperature is detrimental to them – temperatures that keep us cool can cause their death, as these are too cold for them.
There are those who immediately expose game chicks to the elements upon hatching – now, this is what we mean by not brooding! The question is, is this right? Is this natural? Will it really make them hardy?
The answer to the first two questions? NO! It is not right, because it is brutally cruel. We know that upon hatching to about 1 month of age, game chicks do not have control over their body temperature yet. If in the care of a hen, it would appear that chicks are exposed to ambient temperature all the time, but the hen keeps them warm once in a while – she knows exactly when to do this.
Will not brooding game chicks make them hardy? Yes, but we also subject them to too much stress in the process. This might affect their normal development. We may claim that we do natural selection by doing this – to a certain extent, yes, but this does not mean that those that survive are very good fighting chickens! Remember, it is only through brooding (and good management) that we are able to give game chicks a good start in life. Brood them well (enclosed or not), to prepare them thoroughly for the life ahead. GO FOR WHAT IS NATURAL – BROOD YOUR GAME CHICKS!
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