Poultry feed formulation is a great wayfor increasing your profit in Poultry business.One of the factors I identified isfeed formulation by yourself instead of buying it from commercial sources helps reduce the amount of money you will spend on commercial feeds which keeps increasing in price and makes poultry farming difficult for new comers or those starting. Even among farmers that cannot make the poultry feed themselves, some of them are even confused on the best brand of the commercial poultry feed to use. Unfortunately, no one will tell you the correct answer because there isn’t one. The best answer comes from experience by using and doing the experiment withthe various feeds and seeing for yourself, but that may be expensive on you. But if you can only know the different classes of the feed ingredients used for making the poultry feed, you can know what effects the feeds will haveon your birds and you can easily change the composition of the feed to meet the needs of your birds.
For every stage of life in the birds, they need a different combination of feed ingredients. The life cycle of poultry birds can be divided into three (3): The chicks, the growers and the matured birds. The feed requirement and ingredients needed for raising chicks is completely different from growers or matured birds, hence the name of the feed types: Starter, Grower and Finisher diets. But though there is a controversy as to when the birds should be started on grower or finisher, such controversy arise because the person asking such question is a novice in the poultry business. No one will tell you when the birds should be started on grower or finisher, you will know it with time but I will expatiate on the issue here to make it clearer for you.
Table of Contents
Classes of Feed Ingredients for poultry feed formulation
There are six classes of poultry feed and they include: Carbohydrate, protein, fat and oil, vitamins, minerals and water. These are the same with the classes of food in human beings and they play the same role as in humans even though their rations are different.
This is the class of food that provides energy for your birds. The energy they need to move around, to rush for feed, fight, and do other things is provided by carbohydrate. However, it does not just end there, birds convert this energy when it becomes excess into fats that are stored in the body. This means that when the birds get enough energy, they will store it and become fat. The fatter they get, the more their weight and the more your money. This is the main reason why Carbohydrate forms a larger part of the feed ingredients.
The sources of carbohydrate in poultry feed formulation include: Maize (Corn), wheat, millet, guinea corn or any other cereal crop. The source that you can choose depends on the availability and also on the cost. People prefer maize because it is cheaper and much available and not because it is the best. When you feed the birds with yellow maize, they will develop yellow feet because of the vitamin A component in yellow maize. Because of the vitamin A in yellow maize, in some areas, the yellow maize tends to be more costly than the white maize. I will advise you to get the white maize if the yellow maize is costly because you are still going to provide for other vitamins and not just vitamin A. So any maize can do, but remember to add vitamins to your feed.
The feathers, the beaks, the muscles that form the meat, the nails and the immune system that helps the birds to fight infection are all made up of protein. Protein therefore is an important component in birds, but unfortunately, it is the most costly of all other ingredients. Because of the cost, farmers making their own feeds fail to add enough protein and so the birds become stunted. It is important therefore to source for good sources of protein to prevent loss in the poultry business. If your birds become stunted, you only continue to waste money to be making the feeds without any appreciable growth.
Sources of protein used for poultry feed formulation include: fish meal, whole fish, soybeans, groundnut, worms (though this can hardly be used in large scale). It is worthy of note that though plant protein can be used, animal protein is better than plant protein; hence a combination of both should be added for making the poultry feed.
Other components of protein that are not easily gotten from natural sources but need to be added to the poultry feed include amino acids such as methionine and lysine which when absent cause the birds to pick feathers and eat causing them to choke and start cannibalism.
3. Fats and Oil
Just as the name implies, fats help the birds to add fats, though it is an important component that makes the feed palatable to eat and also required for absorption of some vitamins such as Vitamins A, D,E and K which are called fats soluble vitamins. Some oils have fine taste and smell which increases the appetite of the birds making them to eat more and hence grow faster and bigger. The importance of fats and oil therefore should not be overlooked.
Good sources of fats and oil include: animal fats, cotton seed oil, groundnut, soybeans – these two can provide for both protein and fat/oiletc.
These include: Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Copper, Calcium, Sodium chloride etc. They are needed in small quantity but their deficiency means a lot to the body system of the birds. They help in boosting the immunity of the birds to be able to fight diseases and infections and helps to increase body weight.
The source is preferably gotten from Premix Vitamins and Minerals because it is already prepared in the right proportion. This is the reason why there is a premix vitamin and broilers differently because their requirements are different.
Calcium can be gotten from bone meal and has additional phosphorus in the bone compared to just the use of limestone or other sources of calcium. It is worthy of note that salt (sodium chloride) and calcium are easily gotten and at cheaper prices but do not be tempted to add too much because the birds will have diarrhoea making them to lose weight and they will become restless, jumping around because they have more energy from the stronger bones they will make due to the calcium.
These are essential to help in healing, promotion of good health and ability to fight infections, prevention of blindness of chickens – vitamin A, increase appetite and better feed conversion. Regular use of vitamins in the feeds or water helps to prevent disease and also saves money that would have been used on the treatment of birds. The Vitamins, just like minerals are needed in trace amount and should not be given in excess. Therefore, it is preferable to buy the premix vitamins and minerals for the appropriate chickens.
Vitamins A,D,E and K are known as Fats soluble vitamins, they therefore need fats before they are absorbed into the body of the birds. It is important therefore that fats should not be lacking in the ingredients of the feeds so as to prevent the deficiency of these Vitamins. In contrast, vitamins B and C are water soluble and therefore require water for absorption. This is the reason why water is also part of the classes of feeds, because it serves as a solvent for metabolism.
In the absence of Premix vitamins and minerals, use of tomatoes, vegetables and fruits helps to provide the needed vitamins and minerals for the birds and in addition, the vegetables serve as fibre for the birds, helping them to easily digest feed and hence better growth and feed conversion but makes sure they are from uncontaminated sources.
The last but the important of all is Water. This is often neglected and seen as not important as others. Chickens need fresh and clean water just like humans do. Without water, birds cannot digest feed, they cannot control their temperature, they cannot quench their taste and hence cannot eat more, they need water to help in absorption of water-soluble vitamins, water is needed for dissolving their vaccines and drugs and supplements.
Water is very important in poultry farming, but this may not be given priority and any water could just be given to birds without checking the cleanliness. Without clean water, birds get worms, intestinal infections and can become dehydrated and lose weight. It is therefore important to give clean water and the water container should be washed everyday with soap and not just by rinsing. In my article of increasing your profit, hygiene was what I advocated for because with sound health, the birds grow well.
Poultry feed additives for optimal growth and weight gain
Some additives can be added to the chickenfeed to make the birds add more weight, eat more, and prevent disease. These include:
- Toxin binder: as the name suggest, it binds the toxins ( bad ingredients ) in the feed and prevent them from harming the birds. It is good that qualitysource of ingredient should be your aim and avoid buying rotten or infested maize, soybeans etc simply because you want to reduce cost because the toxins can harm birds to a great extent even causing stunted growth. The toxins binder do not always bind all the toxins and there could be some amount that can harm the birds; sometimes, the binder also binds to nutrients and make them unavailable to the chickens too. Quality ingredient is the standard.
- Antibiotics: these are drugs added to prevent and treat infections in birds. Some of the antibiotics can increase the weight of the birds and have been abused by some farmers.
- Other additives like Orego-stim and much others can be added as flavouring agents and the list can be endless. But it is not necessary that you must add all the additives especially when the birds are grown for commercial purpose.
Since you have known the importance and functions of each of the ingredients in poultry feed formulation, it is therefore much easier for you to determine the best type of feed to give to your chickens to achieve the desired result you want.
For fast growth, you need to give protein and carbohydrate so that they can grow and add weight.
For prevention of infections, do not forget to add vitamins and minerals.
Use of Bran and Offal in Poultry feed formulation
I want to make a comment about the use of bran, offal etc. These components or ingredients are like the peelings of the cover of the main ingredient. Maize bran is not the maize itself neither is it better than the maize; it is simply used to increase the fibre content of the poultry feed, but can be added to reduce the cost of feeding. It is therefore not good to add these type of ingredient to the feed of starter chicks. But they add to the grower chicks because they have attended the required weight and cost needs to be reduce, hence the bran and offal is added because they are cheaper. Again, the intestine of the chicks are not yet developed, so the fibre can do them no good, but since that of the mature chickens have been developed, they need the fibre for increase absorption.
Another thing to note is that some feeds have easily digestible components – meaning that, the ingredients used for making the feed can easily be digested. This is good because the birds can digest and utilize them easily, but the down side of it is that their faecal matter will be wet compared to the feeds that have less digestible ingredients, thereby making you to keep changing their litter often.
Therefore, the more mature the bird, the less the protein requirement but the more the fibre content in order to reduce cost.
I believe by now you can be able to make decision for yourself as to the best type of commercial poultry feed will be good for your birds. All you need to do is to check the paper attached to the bag of feed where the ingredients are listed. Check their percentages and know the ingredients added, and then with your knowledge of this, you can make good judgment while choosing or making your own poultry feed.