The Big Book Project
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Broiler stockmanship is the specialist practice of animal husbandry for broiler chicken.
It is a multi-disciplinary ‘art’ of stewardship, combining technical and empathetic investigative skills.
It’s quite simple. Your birds will do very well if they are cared for.
This is the job of the stockman.
The two efforts are intrinsically linked. Twinned and inseparable.
Your stockman is arguably your most critical business asset.
The stockman leads your flock into optimal production,
And your flock (with their profits) follow.
Your stockman reaches for the controls that your birds cannot reach,
And ensures that they are kept in maximum comfort.
Birds of all ages will sensitively respond to the handling of a good stockman and their bodies will bear the rewards.
The following is a list of ideal characteristics of the successful broiler stockman:
Will be satisfied unless his flock is settled and totally comforted.
A real passion to win with his birds and not willing to leave things be unless it’s totally right for his flock.
Mulling over detail is a knack he has.
He’s constantly poring over each grain of information.
The minutiae are never tedious or a chore.
His native language is to discuss the small stuff (knowing it all makes a big difference).
Well versed in the techniques and manners of an expert animal husbandman.
He has a solid baseline of go-to disciplines which come naturally and never forced.
Willing to wait it out with problem-solving.
He knows the nature of the job is that the flock need to be led by a careful hand.
If driven too harshly, the birds will bear the burden of roughness which will take away from their comfort and performance.
Always on the lookout.
His job is predominantly investigative.
The birds won’t necessarily speak to him,
But by paying close attention to them and their environment and house,
They will tell him how they are feeling and doing.
The stockman’s sensitivity is a key character.
The more techniques at the fingertips of your broiler stockman,
The better arrayed he is for turning corners and steering your flock out of danger or downturn,
And into optimal production and profit.
A good stockman must lead the flock.
In other words,
Whatever the flock experiences – he’s got to be the first among them to get a taste or feel or view or smell.
If the stockman is exposed first to what the birds will be exposed to later,
Then this gives you and your farm the best chance of making necessary adjustments and improvements ahead of schedule.
The broiler stockman has got to sample everything the birds do (within reason).
Anything left out leaves an area of doubt in your general understanding of the welfare of the flock.
This should include grain and water sampling – golden rule being, “…if you wouldn’t take it – why should the flock?”
The stockman is a quality control mechanism for your broiler farm.
Feed, water, equipment, litter material and ventilation etc.
All these key contributors to broiler performance must be first examined by your expert stockman,
This way you have an assurance that optimal conditions for flock production have been met.
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