Benefits of formulating your own poultry feed

According to experts on animal feed formulation such as Akinbobola A. and Jeffery Alahira, the immense benefits of having the know-how on formulation of feeds is because it has been discovered that only a few feed manufacturers keep to the standards in poultry feed formulations in Nigeria. Many make very poor quality feeds.

This sad situation has resulted in huge losses for poultry farmers leading to slow growth in chickens, low egg production, diseases as well as death of the chicken. Formulating your poultry feeds on the farm is therefore, one of the best ways to maintain quality. It also cuts the cost of production. Depending on the costs of the raw materials, farmers who make their feeds at home save between 30% to 50% for every 70 kg bag of chicken feed, depending on the source of their raw materials.

The piece of good news is that livestock feed materials are available cheaply, especially after the harvesting season. In the words of Akinbobola, “the common feed ingredients are whole maize, cottonseed cake, soya beans, sunflower, or fish meal. Besides, farmers need to add several other feed additives (micronutrients, minerals, and vitamins) to ensure that their chickens have a balanced feed that meets their daily nutrient requirements”.

Animal feed such as Dicalcium Phosphate (DCP) is mixed with other ingredients in animal feeds. DCP is mainly designed for breeding purposes (cattle and poultry). It strengthens the skeleton and accelerates the animal’s growth.The following are the DCP values for each of the common ingredients used in feed making: Whole maize—8.23%, Soya—45%, Fishmeal—55%, Maize bran—7%and Sunflower—35%

Each class of chicken has its nutritional requirement. For example, if we want to make feed for layers, the feed should have at least 18% crude protein. Feed ingredients for poultry diets are selected based on a couple of factors such as nutrient content, anti-nutritional factors or toxins, palatability and cost.

The dominant grain used is corn although different grains such as wheat and sorghum can be used. The main function is to satisfy the energy requirement of poultry.

On their part, protein meals are gotten from both vegetable and animal sources. Vegetable protein sources usually come as meals or cake which are the by-products of oil seeds crops. These include soybean, sunflower and sesame seed. After extraction of the oil, the residue is used as feed ingredients. Animal sources on the other hand include meat meal, bone meal, fish meal, blood meal and feather meal. All these are by-products of animals.

Also important are fats and oil,collectively known as lipids. They can be used to satisfy the energy need of the animals and are good carriers of fat-soluble vitamins which include vitamin (A, D, E and K). Fats and oil can be gotten from vegetable sources such as palm oil, sunflower oil,canola oil while animal sources include fats and lard.

Not left out are the minerals and vitamins. These are essential for normal growth and development, especially in poultry such as bone formation, enzyme activation. Calcium is of particular importance as it is used to produce the egg shells. This is required in large quantities. Most feed ingredients provide the vital minerals and vitamins for adequate nutrition. They are however, not often enough and have to be supplemented with premix.

In feed formulation, a method known as Pearson Square is often used. In this method, the digestible crude protein is the basis for measuring nutrient requirement during feed formulation. The following are the DCP values for each of the common ingredients used in feed making.

It should be noted however, that each category of poultry bird i.e. layers, broilers all have specific nutrient requirements and feed formulation should be based on their requirements.

Making a 70 Kg of Layers Chick Mash (1-4 Weeks)

Growing chicks require feed with Digestible Crude Protein (DCP) of between 18 to 20 percent. The following formulation can be used to make a 70kg bag of layers chick mash. The ingredients include 31.5kg of whole maize, 9.1kg of wheat bran, 7.0kg of wheat pollard and 16.8 kg of sunflower (or 16.8 kg of linseed). Other are 1.5kg of fishmeal, 1.75kg of lime, 30g of salt 20g of premix Amino acids 70g of tryptophan, 3.0g of lysine, 10g of methionine, 70 g of Threonine, 50g of enzymes, 60g of coccidiostat, 50g of toxin binder.

Making a 70 Kg Bag of Growers Mash (4 To 8 Weeks)

Growers (pullets or young layers) should be provided with a feed with a protein content of between 16 and 18 percent. Such feed makes the young layers to grow fast in preparation for egg-laying: The ingredients are 10kg of whole maize, 17kg of maize germ, 13kg of wheat pollard and 10kg of wheat bran. To be added to these are 6kg of cottonseed cake, 5kg of sunflower cake, 3.4kg of soya meal, and 2.07kg of lime. Still to strengthen the nutritional essence one has to add 700g of bone meal, 3kg of fishmeal, 14g of salt, 1g of coccidiostat, 18g of Pre-mix, 1g of zinc bacitracitrach and 7g of mycotoxin binder.

Making a 70 Kg Bag of Layers’ Mash (18 Weeks and Above)

Layer feed should be introduced at 18 weeks. It should contain a Digestible Crude Protein (DCP) content of between 16-18 percent. The feed should contain calcium (lime) for the formation of eggshells (laying hens that do not get enough calcium will use the calcium stored in their own born tissue to produce eggshells).

In this instance the ingredients include 34kg of whole maize, 12kg of Soya, 8kg of fishmeal and 10kg of maize bran. Other are rice germ or wheat bran, 6kg of lime, amino acids, 175g premix, 70g lysine, 35g methionine, 70kg threonine, 35g tryptophan and 50g toxin binder.

Formulating a 70 Kg bag of Broiler Feed

Broilers have different feed requirements in terms of energy, proteins, and minerals during the stages of their growth. It is important that farmers adapt feed rations to these requirements for maximum production.

Broiler Starter Feed (1-4 Weeks)

Young broilers have a high protein requirement for the development of muscles, feathers and their organs. As the broilers grow, their energy requirements for the deposit of fat increase and their protein requirements decrease. They, therefore, require high protein content in their starter rations than in the grower and finisher rations. Broilers should have a feed that has between 22 -24 percent DCP.

The following guidelines can help the farmer to make the right feed at each stage of growth: Ingredients include 40kg of whole maize, 12kg of fishmeal (or omena), 14kg of soya bean meal, 4kg of lime, 70g of premix, Amino acids, 35g of lysine and 35g of Threonine

Preparing Broiler Finisher Feed (70kg)

What is needed include 10kg of whole maize, 16.7kg of maize germ, 13.3kg of wheat pollard and 10 kg wheat bran. To be added to these are 6 kg of cottonseed cake, 4.7kg of sunflower cake, 3kg of fishmeal 2kg of lime, 3.4kg of soya meal and 40g of bone meal. For the nutritional values to be enhanced 10g of grower PMX, 5g of salt, 5g of coccidiostat and 5g of Zincbacitrach should be added.

All said, a firm grip and application of the knowledge of the hoe preparation of these feeds would make sweet returns for the local poultry farmer.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.