In some situations, it can be necessary to molt breeder flocks.
From an economical point of view it is not advisable, because the progress in genetic potential in broilers, that is delivered with a new generation more than compensates the price of a new breeder flock. However, due to market situations, import limitations or other economical reasons it can be necessary to molt.
Technically molting of broiler breeder females can be done rather well. Males can not be molted well and should be replaced when a breeder flock is molted.
The general principal of molting a flock of breeders is to let it loose as quickly as possible approximately 25% of their body weight, to a body weight level of about 2.6-2.7 kg.
This is done by withdrawing feed and water.
- The water should be withdrawn for 2 days.
- The feed should be withdrawn for a total 10 to 12 days.
Leading for the feed withdrawl time is the target body weight of 2.6-2.7 kg. This should be checked regularly.
During the molting period, a day length of 8 hours should be given, at a low light intensity.
After the feed withdrawl period, give:
- one week of 50 grams rearing feed per bird per day
- two weeks of 60 gram rearing feed per bird per day
- three weeks of 80 grams rearing feed per bird per day
- one week of 100 grams rearing feed per bird per day and go back to 14 hours of light.
- one week of 120 grams rearing feed per bird per day and place young males
- change to layer feed at 5% production and increase feed according to production, according to the manual, or slightly faster.
Revaccinate against at least NewCastle Disease, Reo-virus and Avian Encephalomyetis, and preferably against Gumboro and IB (and if applicable against AI).
When a flock is molted, a period of approximately 8 weeks of no production should be taken into account.