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The key characteristics when choosing a breed of chickens are productivity, endurance and unpretentiousness to the environment. The Dekalb White breed of chickens fits these criteria, which can be bred in private farmsteads and on an industrial scale.
The origin of the breed
A relatively new breed of chickens spread from America. The breeding research was carried out by the company "Dekalb Poltr Research", which explains the name of the breed. In the course of selection, the main task was to achieve maximum quality and quantity of egg production. As a result, it was possible to breed a cross, which is distinguished by abundant productivity and an increased mass of eggs.
Appearance of Dekalb White chickens
The breed does not differ in particular beauty, therefore, they breed chickens exclusively for obtaining eggs and meat, without preparing birds for exhibition events. Chickens have a medium-sized build. The small head rests on a wide and short neck. Paws are short, the comb is red, unstable and usually drooping. The weight of an adult female reaches 2 kg, a rooster - 2.5 kg.
During the peak period of egg production, layers often look dull. Some individuals become plucked and shabby due to the strong consumption of nutrients.
When planning the breeding of the Dekalb White breed, you need to familiarize yourself with the performance indicators. This information will help you calculate the number of layers needed.
During the year, the hen lays up to 350 eggs with white shells. The mass of each is 70-75 g. The Dekalb White breed is characterized by active maturation of chicks to a sexually mature state. Birds begin to lay eggs from the age of 4 months, and six months later, the peak of egg production occurs.
After plucking and cutting the birds, it is possible to get 1.5-2 kg of pure meat. The products are distinguished by high taste characteristics and juiciness.
Chickens are distinguished by a calm and peaceful disposition. This helps them to easily get along with other breeds in the common walking yard. Birds do not start fights or peck eggs. At the same time, it can be difficult for birds to adapt to new places, therefore, a change in environmental conditions leads to a temporary decrease in productivity.
Advantages and disadvantages
The Decalb White breed is prized for a number of comparative advantages. The list of positive qualities includes the following:
- high egg production with moderate feed intake;
- early maturation to productive age;
- soft nature;
- the possibility of breeding in cages;
- unpretentiousness to daily care and living conditions.
In addition to many advantages, the species has certain disadvantages. These include:
- insufficiently developed incubation instinct;
- maintaining high productivity for only two years;
- the need for heating the chicken coop in cold winters.
Conditions of detention
Despite the absence of specific requirements for environmental conditions, it is possible to achieve high productivity only if a number of nuances are observed. By properly arranging the breeding site, you can maximize the benefits and reduce the risk of disease.
Ventilation and lighting
Ventilation in the poultry house can be achieved using a standard exhaust vent with a damper, or by installing an integrated ventilation duct, which is placed under the roof. Circulation of fresh air is necessary to eliminate pungent odors and prevent bacterial growth. It is recommended to use a pair of fluorescent lamps or a white LED strip as lighting.
The internal structure of the chicken coop
When building a poultry house, it is recommended to adhere to the figure of 5 adult chickens per 1 square. This will provide the birds with sufficient space and prevent them from freezing with the onset of cold weather. It is important to protect the room from blowing through and seal all existing cracks.
Windows should be equipped with sealed glass units. The main requirements for perches are comfort and stability. Places for placing birds can be built in several floors, since due to their low weight, chickens can easily be taken to the upper tiers.
Drinking bowls and feeders
Dekalb White chickens must have constant free access to feed and clean water. Drinking bowls with liquid can be made vertical, which will save on the arrangement of the poultry house. A nipple drinker is more expensive but easier to use. In a small courtyard, you can put simple cups of water and food, but they will get dirty more often.
Place for walking
The best option would be to add a walking yard to the chicken coop so that the birds can always go out into the fresh air. It is preferable to arrange a place for walking on the grass so that the chickens can additionally feed on green food. It is also recommended to install a canopy from the sun and rain so that the birds could hide during unfavorable or too hot weather.
The size of the courtyard directly depends on the free space in the courtyard - it can be a couple of squares in size or it can be a spacious fenced area. A fence up to 2 m high is built around the perimeter of the courtyard. To protect against birds of prey, you can cover the courtyard with a net.
Molting is a natural process for Decalb White chickens. This method of plumage renewal protects the body of birds from overheating or hypothermia. Feathers begin to fall out first in the neck, then on the back, in the abdomen and wings. The process ends with a change of tail feathers.
Usually molt occurs in the fall, and only chicks that enter puberty will molt in the spring. The feather cover renewal takes 1-2 months. During molting, the body of chickens is cleansed of accumulated toxins, metabolic processes are accelerated, sexual activity stops, and egg production decreases.
What to feed?
A properly selected diet for chickens has a beneficial effect on their development and productivity. Birds should be provided with a nutritious diet high in protein and calcium. The lack of these components will lead to the fact that the shells of the laid eggs will be soft and deformed.
You need to feed the young in plenty, constantly adding food to the feeders. It is not allowed to give the chickens indigestible food. The best option would be to use a special compound feed for birds of the Dekalb White breed, containing all the useful components. When self-compiling a diet, you need to include carbohydrates, proteins, fats and a vitamin complex in it.
Adult hens of the Decalb White breed can be fed with ready-made compound feeds or mash and mixtures of prefabricated components. The advantage of using ready-made feeds is that they are balanced in terms of the content of nutrients, contain a vitamin-mineral complex and can be selected in accordance with the age of the birds.
When preparing food for chicken, you can use fresh grass, corn and wheat grits, grated potatoes and carrots, chopped green onions. You can feed birds not only with clean water, but also with fermented milk products, including kefir.
One of the disadvantages of the Decalb White breed is a poorly developed brooding instinct. Due to the suppressed maternal instinct, it is recommended to use an incubation machine for breeding offspring. For incubation, it is required to select the best large specimens from all eggs, which are free from defects.
Since chickens lay incompletely developed eggs during the first two months, it is better to use material for hatching from the third month of their egg production. Using a professional incubator, even a novice farmer will not face problems, since the survival rate of chickens reaches almost 100%.
What diseases is the breed prone to?
Violation of the recommended diet and unfavorable environmental conditions increase the risk of developing diseases. The Decalb White breed is characterized by several diseases with severe symptoms. In order to notice their manifestation in a timely manner, you need to regularly examine the condition of the chickens.
The causes of hypovitaminosis in chickens are the lack and poor absorption of vitamin A and provitamin carotene by the body. The disease leads to slow growth and development, a drop in immunity, the manifestation of dermatitis, peeling of the epidermis, and a decrease in productivity.
To fight the consequences of hypovitaminosis, you need to add the missing components to the basic diet. In particular, it is recommended to feed the birds with red carrots, green food and complex vitamin preparations.
Pecking is considered a pathology of bird behavior and leads to the fact that chickens show aggression towards other birds, pluck out feathers, and peck at laid eggs. The problem often occurs in adult birds during plumage and egg-laying periods.
To prevent biting, you need to watch the birds and separate aggressive individuals from their fellows.
In a number of situations, changing the lighting to infrared lamps helps to reduce the risk of pecking and aggressive behavior of birds of the DeKalb White breed.
The increased temperature in birds negatively affects their development and egg production. To reduce the likelihood of overheating, you should equip the chicken coop with ventilation, and during hot periods, put a bath with cool water.