Chick Management

How do you distinguish quality chicks from the rest?

High-Quality chicks are good for business.

How do you distinguish quality chicks from the rest?It is best to get the best quality chicks to start a profitable poultry farming venture. However, according to most people, chicks are just chicks. They are almost all the same when it comes to distinguishing which ones are of high quality and those that are not.

The quality of chicks must be adhered to in order to ensure the profitability of a poultry business by maximizing profit ratios and reducing mortality rates at the early stages of growth.

What is the measure of quality?

  • Size and weight

You might be thinking, don’t all chicks have relatively the same weight? Or, aren’t they the same size? They are but pay close attention to the details when buying your first stock of chicks. Healthy chicks are just about the size of a fist and can be clearly determined and differentiated from weak ones.

Just like the size, the quality of chicks can be determined by the weight of the chicks. The weight of chicks during their early stages will determine if they will be able to gain weight in the future at a steady rate. This aspect will also regulate the growth of the chick from the time it is a chick to a fully grown adult chicken.

  • Growth Rate

As time goes by, the growth rate of a chick will determine its quality. This aspect cannot be figured out on the first day of acquiring chicks and is termed as a progressive way of determining quality. However, it will be clearly seen amongst your chicks. Despite other factors that hinder growth as disease and low-quality feed, poor quality chicks will genuinely not grow at their expected rate.

  • Disease resistance.

After vaccination off course, and all other factors of maintenance are kept in check, chicks are supposed to be responsive to vaccination.

By responsive I mean, once they have overcome the effects of the vaccine n their bodies, they should be able to have some form of immunity that will prevent them from becoming sickly.

  • Activeness.

An active chick is a healthy chick. A healthy chick is a high-quality chick! Chicks come in different personalities! There are those that are stubborn and those that are peaceful and just want to peck away in their own corners.

A high-quality chick will be active for as long as it has the energy to move. Providing it with all that is required for appropriate chick growth will give it a fighting chance to be as active as it possibly can.

  • Breed.

Not all poultry breeds are of high quality! By high quality, I mean, good for business. There are different chicks that are best suited for different poultry ventures. For example a layer business, a broiler business, and even a dual-purpose chicken breeding business.


Different types of chick breeds.

How do you distinguish quality chicks from the rest?1. Dual Purpose chicks.

These are basically chicks that are kept for the purpose of being both layers and broilers once they get to their adult stage. Dual-purpose chicks are mostly of different colors and may be confused to be wild chickens or indigenous chickens. Dual-purpose chicks are also more naturally resistant to diseases than any other type of chicks.

Examples of dual-purpose breeds in my country are;


2. Layers

Layers chicks are those chicks that are mainly kept to produce eggs once they mature. There is a specific timeframe that layer chicks have and must be followed to the latter. During this timeframe, the growth rate of the chicks is measured, feeding rate and vaccinations are administered.

Vaccination is done to prevent any form of the disease from increasing the mortality rate.


3. Broilers

Broiler chicks are those that are kept to be slaughtered for meat once they attain market weight. Usually, the market weight of broilers is about 1.1 kilograms to 1.5 kilograms. This weight, with proper feeding, can be attained in the sixth week of keeping broilers which will require that a farmer has followed every single step to guarantee the highest quality for the meat market.


I hope you now see the importance of chick quality and regulation. Without it, the poultry business would not even exist. Chick quality is to be considered the most important aspect of the poultry business today.


Looking at genetics.

The genetic structure of a chick is also quite important in determining its quality. Is the chick a first-generation chick, second-generation or third-generation chick?

  • First-generation chicks.

This is a chick that has the best quality. Chicks that are in this generation are termed as f1 and have the best traits that are passed on to them by their parents. A breeder would know the qualities that they prefer in a flock… be it good laying ability or size or even color. Then the breeder would search for parent stock with the exact qualities from different locations and from reputable sources and come up with a parent flock or parent stock. The fertilized eggs that come from the parent stock will produce what is commonly known as first-generation chicks which are of the highest quality.

According to the traits that the breeder had selected in the parents, the chicks would similarly have them. Be it, good laying ability, resistance to disease, or even color.

  • Second generation chick.

This is the offspring of the first-generation chicks. Here, there will be no reasonable amount of value addition since the chicks are of the same flock. Effects of inbreeding may not be seen at this stage but the productivity of the chicks will be significantly lower.

  • Third generation chick.

These are chicks with below-average productivity. A farmer with third-generation chicks will experience high mortality rates even before day five with absolutely no cause whatsoever.


How to improve chick quality.

How do you distinguish quality chicks from the rest?As a chick breeder.

  • Keep changing your breeding stock or flock.


As a farmer who purchased low-quality chicks from a careless breeder.

Do high-quality chicks need to be vaccinated?

Chicks are very delicate in nature. They all need to be vaccinated because they are not able to sustain themselves at that early stage. Chicks that are less than two months old have an underdeveloped immune system that needs to be boosted from time to time.

So, diligently vaccinate your chicks even though they are of high quality.

Most common diseases in chicks;


Desmond Wekesa is the director of Agripreneur, with experience in new methods of farming and digital marketing. His background in digital marketing informs his mindful but competitive approach in the online-agriculture space. Desmond is fueled by his passion for understanding the best methods to network and achieve ones goals of advertising. He considers himself a ‘forever student,’ eager to both build on his knowledge in agriculture and stay in tune with the latest digital marketing strategies through continued hard work. You can email him HERE.