Expert Guides On Feeding Your Chickens and Have The Best Results

Chicken Feeding Guide

Your own backyard chickens need to eat a balanced, nutrient-rich diet so that they will have the best growth, weight gain, egg production and immunity from different poultry diseases.

Before, we had to formulate our own poultry feeds by combining different kinds of grains, like corn and wheat. Today, it’s fortunately a lot easier; most feed stores provide pre-formulated chicken feed rations that offer our backyard birds the precise balance of nutrients they need.

We should learn on the specific nutritional requirements of our chickens so that we will be able to discover the most effective feed rations in buying the ingredients of our chicken feed.  This article, will guide you precisely on what your hungry chickens are craving!

Feeding Schedules and Types of Feed

Just like humans, chickens have completely different needs at various stages of its life. Different kinds of chickens has their own unique feeding needs. For instance, layers nutritional requirements are quite different than those of the broilers.

For Layers, from 0-6 weeks a starter feed should be given to the chicks with 20-22 percent protein level. At 6 weeks start feeding them pullet grower which has 14-16% protein until they reach 20 weeks. Afterwards, provide them a layer feed with a protein content of 15-18%. Since layer feed is usually more expensive, the poultry experts advice to substitute 1/2 pound of grain such as barley or corn for 1/2 pound of poultry ration every day. On this way, you can save more money but still giving the best nutrients for the layers.

For Broilers, from 0-6 weeks the protein content should be 20-24%. Then, give them broiler finisher with a protein level of 16-20% until they are sent to be slaughtered.

Expert Advice on the Proper Feeding Amounts

As the poultry saying goes, “fat hens are not happy hens”. We should not feed our chickens too much as it can be very expensive that would hurt our budget and the chicken’s health as well.   According to the University of California-Davis, the recommended feeding for layer hens should be-

  • Chick starter: 2 to 2.9 lbs. per chick for the first six weeks
  • Pullet grower: 12 to 13 lbs. per pullet for approximately 14 weeks
  • Layer feed: 1.8 to 2.4 lbs. per week per layer hen

For broiler chickens,

  • Broiler starter: 3 to 5 lbs. per chick 0-6 weeks old
  • Broiler Finisher: 1.6 to 2 lbs. each chicken until slaughter

Why Chickens Need Fresh Water

Water is one of the most important things to consider when feeding our backyard chickens.  Just like we humans, the body of our chickens consist mostly of water.  As poultry farmers, we should ensure that our flock have easy access to fresh, clean and potable water all throughout the day. It is also necessary to clean the waterers everyday to avoid diseases caused by dirty water.

It is the responsibility of a farmer to supply adequate, clean, and pathogen-free water to his or her animals. One importance of water to livestock is that it determines the performance of animals. For instance, a laying hen that hasn’t taken enough water will have no good and impressive laying performance. This is because water is highly essential in egg formation.

Some other importance of water to chickens are as follows;

  • Water is important in the digestion of food and feeds.
  • It is used in homeostasis in chicken’s body.
  • It is required for cooling down the body temperature.
  • It is vital for faecal excretion.
  • It is required for metabolic reactions in an animal’s body.

So as feed, nutrition, and the health of poultry are being taken seriously, water intake should be taken important. When planning to establish a farm, the source of clean water to serve animals on the farm should be highly considered.

In summary, chickens needed to be served sufficient and cool water, and it must be free from any forms of contamination. The water must be from a clean and healthy source and must be served with clean water troughs. If chickens are starved of water for a very long time, they die and that will be a loss to the farmer. Water must be available for chicken at all times, except in situations where there is need to withdraw water from them. Birds such as broilers and layers are very sensitive to water and it is a factor that determines their production and performance.

 

 

 

 

Brooding Secrets Any Poultry Farmer Should Know

What is Brooding in Poultry Production?

Brooding is defined as the management of chicks from one day old to about 8 weeks of age, and it involves the provision of heat and other necessary care during chicks’ early growing period. Brooding units are designed to house chicks from one day old until they no longer need supplementary heat (0-8 weeks). Growing pens are used from the end of the brooding period until the broilers are sold or the pullets moved into permanent laying houses (up to 20 weeks). Laying pens or cages are used for pullets and hens from the time they start laying until they are culled and sold at the end of the laying period (up to 78 weeks).

Natural Brooding

The natural method of brooding is used on farms where only a few chickens are raised each year. Depending on her size, a hen will brood 15-20 chickens. The broody hen will provide all the warmth required by the chicks. Before placing the chicks with the hen she would be examined for her good health and free from lice, tick and other ectoparasites.

Artificial Brooding

Artificial brooding can be defined as the handling of newly born chicks without the aid of hens. It is accomplished by means of a temperature-controlled brooder (foster mother). Artificial brooding has several advantages over the natural method, which are:

  • Chicks may be reared at any time of the seasons.
  • Thousands of chicks may be brooded by a single person.
  • Sanitary condition may be controlled.
  • The temperature may be regulated.
  • Feeding may be undertaken according to plan.

Brooding temperature is the temperature inside the poultry where the chicks are roaming. It is a very important variable that every poultry farmer should look closer as it could affect the growth and health of the chicks. To reduce stress and mortality, the brooding temperature should be checked always so that we will know if the temperature is just enough for the chicks.  This article will guide you to have a good understanding whether you have provided the optimal environmental temperature for your chicks.

 

brooding of chicks
Why brooding is important

The essentials of a good brooder are:

A dependable mechanism for controlling temperature and regular supply of fresh air, dryness, adequate light, space, easy disinfection, protection against chick enemies, safety from fire, and economic in construction.

Management of Chicks in the Brooder

  • Adjust the temperature as per requirement of the chicks. In case of oil heating, see that there is no defect in the stove or lamp. Chicks should not have access to the heated parts of the lamp at any cost.
  • Avoid a damp poultry house. You can use a deep litter system.
  • Discourage litter eating by the chicks, scatter mash over egg case flats when the chicks are first taken out of their boxes.
  • Provide balanced standard mash.
  • Keep provision for the entrance of fresh air.
  • Provide clean, fresh water in front of the birds at least twice daily.
  • Chicks, after 3 weeks old may be provided chopped green grasses (to increase Vitamin A intake)
  • Clean the brooders including feed hoppers daily.
  • Follow a regular vaccination program.
  • Avoid overcrowding as this will lead to slow growth and mortality.
  • Keep the brooder in such a place that cold wind and rain does not get in.
  • Daily inspect the condition of birds and their faces for any sort of abnormality.
  • Keep in touch with any veterinarian for the help at the time of need.
  • It is always advisable to check the fittings, temperature control, feed and water trough arrangement before shifting the chicks in the brooder.

How To Know If Your Brooding Temperature is Optimal

The best indicator how to monitor the perfect temperature inside the brooding area is easily known by the behavior and movements of the chicks with regards to heat.  A general indication that the conditions in the brooding area is optimal is when you see that the chicks are scattered evenly and comfortable. Thus, you will not need to alter the temperature and humidity.

Below are illustrations on the chick behavior according to the brooding temperature conditions:

perfect brooding chick behavior
Chick behavior on perfect environmental conditions. Note that the spacing between them are uniform.

 

brooding chicks behavior when the environment is too cold
Chicks form in cluster of groups when environmental conditions are too cold.
The behavior of chicks when environment is so hot
The behavior of chicks when environment is so hot. They will spread out away from heat source and will be panting.
chick brooding temperature
Chick brooding temperature

 

 

HOW TO START YOUR BROILER POULTRY FARMING BUSINESS

poultry farm business

Have you ever wondered why almost all restaurants in the world offer poultry or chicken meat? From the most famous fast-food chains like McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) to 7 Star Hotels like the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab in Dubai.  All of them offer a common product bestseller – “foods derived from chicken meat”.

This however implies that broiler poultry farming business, ‘if done right’ would be an all-time very profitable business in the world.   Thousands of success stories have evolved on this business criteria with the owners having sufficient wisdom of how to efficiently raise poultry, best management skills and a better poultry farming business plan.  This article will outline how to start the business, and the broiler poultry farming business plan.

Bill Gates, the richest man in the world wrote an article on his personal blog, “Why I Would Raise Chickens” saying that poultry farming is a viable investment which can give income for the common people.  He regards poultry farming business as an excellent and profitable business. Thousands of chickens are being donated to charity by the Bill Gates Foundation as a means of helping the poor community to earn money by starting poultry farming business.

Broiler chicken farming is a lucrative business, providing income for millions of people, but there are some essential things you need to do before you venture into the business. You have to decide on the size of your poultry farming business project i.e. the number of broiler chickens you want to keep per cycle; location of the poultry farming business e.g. a chicken farm , and your target market. These choices will be affected by the amount of capital you have, and the size of your target  market.  If you do not have a lot of capital, you can always start small and grow your broiler farming business overtime, remember, Rome was not built in a day. You also need to carry out market research (Who are you going to sell the broiler chickens to? At what price?) and write a broiler poultry farming business plan before you venture into the broiler production business.

What you need

LAND, HOUSING AND EQUIPMENT

The kind of housing you need and the size of the land will depend on the size of your poultry farming business project. When choosing the location for your poultry farming business, you have to balance the need for proximity to the market, with the cost of land, labor costs, security, and a good water supply. Your broiler poultry farming business plan should take into account all the costs of running the business.

When you are planning to construct a broiler chicken house, you have to select a site which is well-drained with plenty of natural air movement. Broiler Chickens cannot adjust well to temperature extremes, so it is very essential that the hens be housed, cared and provided with an environment that will enable them to maintain their thermal balance. You need to reduce temperature fluctuations, and this can be achieved by  having the broiler chicken house oriented on an east-west axis to reduce the effect of  direct sunlight on the sidewalls during the hottest part of the day. Good temperature control will enhance feed conversion and growth rate, making your poultry farming business more profitable. 

 Broilers chickens need sufficient space for them to grow well, they should not be crowded, otherwise they may suffocate to death and that will lead to a loss in your poultry farming business.  Each broiler chicken requires about 0.1 square meters of floor space. which translates to 10 hens per square meter. So the size of the poultry house will depend on the number of birds to be reared. Your housing can be barns, chicken runs or hutches, and the cost of construction will depend on the materials used, and the size of the broiler poultry house. You also need poultry farming equipment which includes feeders, drinkers, lighting system and waste disposal system. The cost of equipment should also be take into account in your broiler poultry business plan.

DAY OLD CHICKS

You should purchase your day old chicks from a reliable accredited hatchery or company where the parent stocks are well managed. The success of your broiler poultry farming business will partly depend on the type of day old chicks which you buy. Broiler chicks from different hatcheries vary greatly in terms of quality, and thus will be a determining factor in the success of your poultry farming business venture. You should assess the quality of the chicks by checking whether they are clean, dry, have bright eyes, are active and alert, and should not have any deformity on the body.

Buy your stock from accredited hatcheries which have a comprehensive history of vaccination and health management programme for the breeding flock. If you are new to the poultry farming business, you should enquire from other farmers to hear where they buy their chicks from, as they will usually have experience with various hatcheries. When you have purchased the day old chicks, you need transport them carefully to avoid mortality, as the day old chicks are tender and must be handled with care. The costs of the chicks should be properly accounted for in your broiler chicken business plan.

FEED AND NUTRITION

To be profitable in the poultry farming business, you have to minimize the costs and the mortality rate, as well as optimize the target weight of the broiler chickens. Broiler chicken stock feeds are formulated to provide the protein, energy, vitamins and other nutrients essential for health and efficient growth of the birds.  Just like with day old chicks, the type of broiler poultry feeds you choose will have a great impact on the profitability of your poultry farming business.

Most broiler chickens are sold to the market when they are six weeks old. Each bird will consume about 4 Kg of feed from 0 to 6 weeks. At this age, they will have an average of 2.2 KG to 2.5 KG. The broiler chickens are given a specific type of feed depending on the stage of production. There are 3 types of broiler poultry feeds, which are Starter feeds, Grower feeds, and Finisher feeds. The chickens also require enough water for efficient growth.  You will also need a broiler stress pack/vitamin supplements which  can be used to promote growth of commercial broilers and chicks, and also to combat stress during periods of high temperature, after vaccination and as an aid in recovery from disease to boost performance of the stock. All the feed costs should be included in your poultry farming business plan. 

MANAGEMENT AND LABOUR FOR BROILER POULTRY BUSINESS

The number of farm workers you need will depend on the size of your poultry farming business project. If you are running a small poultry farm business e.g. 100 birds/cycle, you and your family may be enough to take care of the birds, but if you are rearing 2000 birds per cycle, you will need full time employees to manage the poultry farm.  There is need for good technical knowledge of broiler poultry farming rearing techniques for success in the business, and good management skills.

CAPITAL FOR BROILER POULTRY FARMING BUSINESS

The amount of capital required for the broiler poultry business depends on the scale of the project. You can get a loan from the bank, or funding from investors, to use as capital to start your poultry farming business. If you plan to raise capital from investors and a loan from the bank, you need a good poultry farming business plan. If you don’t have access to investors and bank loan, you can use your personal savings and start small, and grow your business overtime. Broiler chickens are very profitable, so if you reinvest the profits you get, you can quickly grow. Even if you are not planning to get a loan, you should still get a broiler poultry farming business plan to guide you in starting and operating the business.

MARKET FOR BROILER CHICKENS

The market for broiler chickens is very huge and is ever increasing. The annual global demand of broiler chickens is 90 million tonnes. That’s a lot! You can supply your broiler chickens to individual households, butchers, schools, restaurants, companies, supermarkets, organizations, events, abattoirs etc. You can sell your broilers as live birds or you can slaughter and freeze them and sell them as dressed chicken. The broiler poultry farming business plan ought to include a proper marketing plan to use in your poultry farming business.

The export market is also very huge! As you grow your broiler production business you will be able to export the meat to other countries.  The largest importer of broiler chickens is the Gulf Cooperation Council, which is a political and economic alliance by six Middle Eastern countries which are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Currently, the top producers of broiler chickens are United States of America, Brazil, China, European Union, India, Russia, Mexico, Argentina, Turkey, Thailand and Indonesia. The largest importers of the meat include the previously mentioned Gulf Cooperation Council, Japan, Mexico, European Union, Iraq, South Africa, China, Hong Kong and Philippines. 

Watch Video 

HOW TO START A POULTRY FARM BUSINESS

Visit https://poultryfeedformulation.com for more information…Poultry Farming Business is a very profitable business, and many people are making money all over the world by farming the birds. However, to build a successful, sustainable broiler poultry farming business, you require sufficient knowledge of how to efficiently raise the birds, good management skills, and a good poultry farming business plan. This illustrated video is a simple guide on how to start a poultry farming business. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Posted by Poultry Feed Formulation on Tuesday, April 10, 2018

 

Important Factors to Keep in Mind When Making Your Own Poultry Feeds



As we have stated severally in numerous other articles, poultry feeding is the single largest cost in poultry production. It accounts for between 65% to 70% of the total cost of production. That is where many small scale farmers and larger commercial enterprises are now opting to formulate their own poultry feeds.

Poultry Feed Formulation: Milled Poultry Feed
Milled Poultry Feed

If you have all the ingredients and equipment ready for poultry feed formulation, there are certain important factors that you need to keep in mind before you begin formulating your poultry feeds on a massive scale. These include the following:-

  • If you will be making homemade poultry feed rations, it is important to start with experimental trials of the poultry feed formulation. You can do this by isolating some of the chickens and feeding them formulated rations and then observing them to see any changes in performance. If the feed rations are ok, the broilers will still grow fast and you will not see a drop in layer performance. Make sure you do the trials before introducing the poultry feed rations to the entire poultry flock.
  • When formulating poultry feeds, you need to be extra careful with the quality of raw materials or poultry feed ingredients used in the poultry feed formulation. Chickens are generally highly sensitive to feed that is contaminated with mycotoxins that are generally found in numerous raw materials, particularly the grains. Avoid using rotten maize to make poultry feed at all costs!
  • Purchase high quality fishmeal from very reputable sources. Avoid buying fishmeal from the open market as these might be contaminated.
  • Ensure that you have mixed up all the micronutrients such as amino acids and probiotics before you mix them up with the rest of the poultry feeds.
  • There are milling machines with mixers and pelletizers that are used for processing and mixing the ingredients of the poultry feed. If you are doing a homemade poultry feed formulation without the right sets of machinery, you can use a drum mixer to mix the ingredients of the poultry feeds. Avoid using shovels as they are unlikely to give you an optimal poultry feed ingredients mixture.
  • Avoid using spoilt or rotten maize or corn at all costs. Such raw materials can be dangerous as they might carry mycotoxins that may be passed over into the human system when you consume poultry eggs or poultry meat.
  • Pool together with other small scale poultry farmers in order to buy and divide some of the ingredients used in poultry feed formulation such as pre-mixes and amino acids among others.
  • To improve on the poultry feed quality, make sure that the feed that you have prepared has been tested to determine if it has optimal amounts of ingredients. There could be lab facilities in your locality that can offer poultry feed testing services.

How to Make Your Own Chicken Feeds

Poultry feeding is the single biggest cost in poultry production. It is estimated that poultry feeds account for between 65% to 70% of the total production cost. That is a significant cost.  This article will tell you on how to make your own chicken feeds and increasing your profits as a result.

how to make your own chicken feeds
Poultry Feed Pellets

To cut down on the cost of production or to be simply self-sufficient in their poultry farming enterprises, many farmers are now moving towards growing their own poultry feeds or at least formulating their own poultry feeds. There are lots of advantages associated with formulating poultry feeds on your own and you can generally take this to any level that you wish. Some farmers have grown their poultry farming enterprises to the level where they have now become poultry feeds suppliers for other poultry producers.

If you know how to make your own chicken feeds or can grow and mill your own poultry feed, you won’t have to spend money on buying poultry feeds on a regular basis and that can lead to significant cost reductions in the poultry farming enterprise.

Besides, formulating your own poultry feeds gives you greater control on the kind of nutrition that you are feeding your chickens. As a poultry feed miller, you will have an idea of the bulk ingredients used in formulating the poultry feeds as well as the composition of the poultry feeds. You won’t have to worry about the quality and composition of the poultry feeds that you are giving your chickens.

Poultry feed formulation is also great for farmers who would wish to avoid using certain ingredients such as the genetically modified corn and soya.

The main challenge when it comes to making your own poultry feed is knowing the right kinds of ingredients to use in the poultry feeds and adding these in the right proportions. There is a concept called least cost feed formulation and this gives you plenty of options when it comes to formulating your own poultry feeds. There are numerous options for ingredients that you can use to create custom mixes for poultry feeds at the lowest prices possible.

Here is a look at some of the grains that you can use in poultry feed formulation and the proportions in which these grains should be mixed to give you optimal rations for your poultry feeds.

Ingredients to Put in Your Poultry Feeds

So what are some of the ingredients that you should use in formulating your poultry feeds? And in what proportions should these be mixed? Various poultry nutrition experts have their ideas on what the ideal poultry feed recipe should be like. There is no universal formula for making chicken feeds and in many cases, you will have to customize the poultry feed formula to suit your local geographical conditions. There are some ingredients that you can grow easily in your backyard while some you’d rather purchase. Some are cheap while others are fairly costly to acquire.

It is important to carefully study the ingredients that have been used in the commercial poultry feeds for you to get  a clear idea of the main percentages that you should aim for. Birds will only grow at an optimal rate if you have the right amount of the ingredients, be they the proteins or the carbohydrates. If you are a little lower in the nutritional requirements, your feeds will still be safe for the chickens to consume but they may not grow as fast as desired.

When making your own poultry feeds, you must make sure that you strike the right balance for all the macronutrients that are required in the poultry feeds including the carbohydrates, proteins and fats and the micronutrients required in the poultry feeds such as the enzymes and vitamins. A little trial and error might be necessary before you can strike the right balance for your poultry feeds.

Below is a list of some of the ingredients that you should factor in when preparing your chicken feeds. The information that we have provided below is just a general guidelines but at the end of the day, your custom poultry feed mixes must include what is best for your needs.

Ingredients for the Main Poultry Feeds

These can include the following:-

  • Alfalfa meal: This is high in protein
  • Corn: This is the mainstay for poultry diet
  • Field peas: This is a protein source and can be a substitute for those who don’t want to use soybean.
  • Wheat
  • Barley or oats: should make up less than 15% of the overall poultry diet.

Things that you should add in the poultry feed

  • Feeding limestone to provide calcium
  • Oyster shells
  • Salt
  • Grit
  • Fish meal to help boost protein or omega 3s
  • Cultured yeast to provide B vitamins, digestive enzymes and minerals
  • Crab meal: Can provide minerals and proteins
  • Probiotics
  • Broad-spectrum mineral supplements
  • Flaxseed: Can be a source of omega 3s

Equipment Need to Make Poultry Feeds

Check out our reviews of the various poultry feed mills that you can use in formulating your own poultry feeds. These machines include grinders, mixers and pelletizers that will help you process your poultry feed in the right format.

You should also consider constructing a storage bin where you can store your processed poultry feeds in excellent shape for a longer duration of time. We have done an article on poultry storage solutions that might help you understand the best kind of storage that you will need for your processed feeds.

How to Start a Poultry Feed Mill



How to Start a Poultry Feed Manufacturing Factory

A poultry feed mill or a poultry feed pellet manufacturing plant is always a profitable business due to the massive demand for high quality poultry feeds. As long as you can differentiate yourself and offer your customers better quality or something unique, you can always have farmers willing to try out your poultry feed products. The most important thing is to identify the market need where the current poultry feed suppliers are under-performing and then make the investments to fill the need.

Here are some of the steps that you can undertake when you are planning to start a poultry mill:-

Carry Out Market Research

Where is the gap in the current poultry feed market in your country? Who are the main players? What do they provide? How can you fill the gap and offer farmers something different? If you are not going to differentiate yourself, you are going to find it hard grabbing the market share from the current market leaders. Get some insight into the current poultry feed market and you will have an easy time identifying loopholes in the market that you can exploit with your poultry feed brands. If possible, you can hire an expert to carry out a feasibility study on the market before you proceed with your investments.

Acquire the Training and Technology on Poultry Feed Formulation

Poultry feed formulation is a science. You must mix the right set of ingredients through a least cost feed formulation in order to come up with the optimal poultry feed that will meet the nutritional requirements of poultry of a particular age and which is also economical to produce.

You need to have a veterinarian background with a focus on poultry feeding to be able to formulate high quality poultry feeds on your poultry mills. Alternatively, you may simply hire a poultry feed formulation specialist who will be in charge of operations at your poultry mill.

Have a Business Plan

Based on your above research and insight, draft a business plan on the form your poultry feed mill will take. What will be the capacity of your poultry feed mill? What will its management structure be? Who will be your target market? How do you plan to source your raw materials? How do you plan to distribute the finished poultry feeds? What will your marketing plan be? How do you plan to secure capital for the poultry feed mill? These are some of the questions that you should answer in your business plan. The poultry feed mill business plan will serve as your lighthouse, guiding you towards your objectives of setting up your poultry feed mill plant.

Get a Good Location

Poultry feed milling plants need to be built in specific locations and you will most likely need a local council clearance before you proceed with the project. It is most prudent to position a poultry feed milling plant in a location with numerous poultry farms as you will have a ready market for your finished products.

A Poultry Feed Mill

Buy the Poultry Feed Mill Machinery

The easiest way to make poultry feed mill machinery is by sourcing them from China. We have outlined in several articles on this website on the type of poultry feed machinery that you should purchase as well as the considerations that you need to keep in mind when sourcing your poultry feed mill machines.

Poultry Feed Pelleting Machine
Poultry Feed Pelleting Machine

Procure Raw Materials and Begin Processing

Sign deals with the raw materials suppliers in your locality and begin processing the first batch of poultry feeds for your requirements. It is always important to maintain a reliable supply line that will ensure that your feed processing line runs at all times.

Different Ingredients Go Into Poultry Feeds Formulation
Different Ingredients Go Into Poultry Feeds Formulation

Brand and Market Your Poultry Feed

There are various ways to brand and market your poultry feeds. Branding is often about product differentiation. Tell your customers why your poultry feeds offer customers a superior advantage. When it comes to marketing, there are various for a that you can use to reach out to farmers. These include agricultural shows and exhibitions, agricultural magazines, TV and radio commercials among many others.

How to Store Poultry Feed: Useful Tips for Poultry Feed Storage



Proper poultry feed storage is essential to ensuring top quality for your poultry feed. It helps protect them from the pests, critters and the mold that may damage the feed, ruin its nutritional integrity or infect it with dangerous toxins that could be potentially harmful to birds and humans.

Industrial Scale Poultry Feed Storage
Industrial Scale Poultry Feed Storage

Poor quality poultry feed will lead to a host of problems including poor growth, malnutrition, high rate of mortality as well as a host of health problems. All of these will have an impact on your poultry farm profitability. Here are some useful factors to keep in mind when it comes to poultry feed storage:-

Consider the Distance of the Silo from the Poultry House

The poultry storage facility should be kept as close to the poultry house as possible for practical reasons. Some poultry farms build the storage area for poultry feeds inside the poultry house. In many poultry farms, however, the feed silos are placed right next to the poultry house to provide for maximum convenience.

The Storage Facility

The poultry feed storage facility should meet certain minimum requirements. It should provide shelter from direct sunshine; must be cool and well ventilated; should be able to keep the feed dry and ensure low humidity; must protect the poultry feed from vermin such as mice and rats and insect pests; must keep the poultry feed off the ground to protect it from mold spoilage and ground condensation and finally, it should protect the poultry feed from drugs and chemicals.

The Storage Conditions

Poor storage conditions for your poultry feeds will reduce their shelf life and may lead to the loss of important nutrients like the anti-oxidants, some essential fatty acids along with vitamins. This will in turn hinder the growth of your poultry and lead to higher mortalities in your flock.

If poultry feed is stored in wet area, it will get moldy and stale and will pose a serious health risk for your birds. The worst are the molds that grow quickly on the poultry feed and produce mycotoxins. This mostly occurs during warm and humid weather. The use of moldy poultry feeds inevitably leads to illnesses, performance losses as well as possible mass mortality in your flock.

It is hard to estimate the shelf life of poultry feed in storage facilities, even under the best of conditions. The longevity will depend on the conditions in the storage as well as the composition of the poultry feed.

The local climate will also play a key role in determining the life-span of your poultry feed. This is especially so when it comes to the temperature and the relative humidity of the local area and the housing.

Even with an excellent food storage system, food should only be stored for a short duration of time. The ideal timeframe should be two months after the date of manufacture. By reducing the storage time, you can ensure a faster turnover thereby cutting down on the inventory costs while giving your flock fresh and high quality poultry feed.

The temperature

When storing the poultry feed, you should be wary of the exposure to the sunshine. Radiation from the sun can degrade the quality of the feed through the effect of the greenhouse gases. Overheating may also negatively impact the nutritional content of the food leading to the breaking down and degradation of the proteins or the fats being rancid. Use housing material such as iron sheets that will reflect back most of the heat and radiation thus helping preserve a cool and dry environment inside the poultry feed storage area.

In very hot climates, it is advisable to use insulated bins for poultry feed storage so as to help keep cool and stable temperatures inside the poultry feed storage bin. Another advantage of insulated bins is that they can help reduce or entirely prevent condensation at night when the temperatures fall. Condensation creates humid conditions and is likely to lead to the growth of mold on top of the layers of poultry feed.

How to Boost Broiler Feed Efficiency Beyond the Nutrition



Improving your broiler feed efficiency will inevitably lead to an improvement in the profitability of your poultry production enterprise. Currently, most of the measures aimed at boosting the productivity of poultry farming enterprises mainly focus on creating the balance in feed ratio between the amino acids and energy and by boosting the digestibility of the nutrients in the poultry feed through other means.

Poultry Feed Pellets
Poultry Feed Pellets

However, there are ways in which the feed efficiency can be improved even after the feed has been processed and delivered to the poultry farm. Here are some ways to ensure that your broilers get the most out of their poultry feed:-

Invest in Excellent Storage

Molds and mycotoxins are the single biggest causes of feed losses. They deplete valuable nutrients and may even harbor harmful toxins that may pass down to humans. Moldy food is not just toxic but also unpalatable for the chickens and this is going to have an impact on feed consumption and conversion.

Mold growth will ocvcur mostly in climates that are warm and humid. While you can add mold inhibitors and mycotoxin binders to the poultry feed to control the growth of mold, it is usually not enough. You have to take it a step further. Make sure you inspect and thoroughly clean the silos where the poultry feed is kept. Even empty silos might have some hotspots where the mould is more likely to bloom and these must be cleaned thoroughly and treated with fungicides.

Using Feeders that Don’t Waste Food

Even in cases where you might be giving your chickens the best quality food, feed losses may still occur due to the type of feeders that you are using. If you are using poorly designed feeders, you are likely to grapple with lots of spillage that will lead to significant losses.

Invest in good feeders that minimize the losses as much as possible. Don’t scrimp on poultry feeders only to incur long term costs through poultry feed wastage. The poultry feeders should also be well managed. Make sure that they are placed optimally where the chickens can easily access the feeds, clean them regularly and supply a good number of them so that they are enough for the birds to limit overcrowding during feeding.

Another thing that will enhance the feed conversion efficiency is the close placement of drinkers close to the feeders. However, the drinkers shouldn’t be too close that they cause the spoilage of food.

Lighting

Lighting is one of the key factors in poultry feed conversion efficiency. Don’t provide constant lighting. In an environment of constant lighting provision, the chickens tend to over-consume the feed. You have to provide your poultry with optimal lighting in their sheds for the best feed digestibility.

Remember that you are already feeding the birds at the level of their genetic potential so an over-consumption of food is simply wastage as the feed has less time to interact with the digestive enzymes in the chicken’s digestive tract. This will in turn result in the reduction of the poultry feed digestibility.

One technique that is recommended by many poultry experts is a lights on-lights off program if the chicken are feeding at night. This can take the format of 1 hour of light and 1 hour of darkness.  This model allows the chickens to fully digest the feed they have consumed while they are resting. This also helps improve the feed efficiency as the birds will not be walking about all day. During the light hours, the birds also have the time to refill. With this system, however, you need sufficient space that will allow the birds to feed simultaneously. This will need careful placement and feeder management in the poultry house.

Avoid a Heavy Body Mass as Birds Approach Market Age

If you are part of a contract poultry farming venture, then you have to feed your poultry to the very end according to the guidelines laid out in your contract. However, if you are raising poultry for the open market, then you have a little leeway in how you are going to feed your poultry.

The feed efficiency generally gets worse as the birds grow older because they have a bigger body mass to maintain and they will need to take in more energy and amino acids. So you need to find the minimum weight for your market birds that is acceptable in order for you to boost the feed efficiency of your poultry. You can for example, look at the cost per weight gain.

How to Make Broiler Mash: Starter Mash, Grower Mash and Finisher Mash



In the article, we will briefly look at the ingredients and the formula guiding the formulation of the broiler starter mash, grower mash, finisher mash and the post-finisher mash:-

How to Make Broiler Starter Mash

The broiler starter mash is formulated for the farmers who raise for the live markets and sell them at the age of six to eight weeks. The broiler rations must generally include a growth promoter and a coccidiostat. However, these are excluded from the post-finisher broiler mash.

The broiler starter mash should not include any growth hormones or animal by-products in the formulation.

The  broilers should be fed the starter mash from the time they are one day old to 16 days old. The approximate feed consumption for the broilers will vary between 600g to 800g per bird.

The broiler starter mash is generally in the format of mash or crumbles. You should feed the chickens crumbles so as to ensure faster growth as well as more efficient feed conversion. However, if you want to slow down the growth and minimizes the occurrences of the waterbelly, you can feed the chickens the poultry mash.

The table below shows the ingredients used in broiler starter mash formulation and the ration in which these ingredients should be mixed:-

ingredients and their correct proportion in formulating broilers starter
ingredients and their correct proportion in formulating broilers starter

How to Make Broiler Grower Mash

The broiler growers mash is in pellet form.  The broiler grower mash is fed to the chickens from the age of 17 days to 30 days. Just like in the broiler starter mash, the rations in the broiler grower mash contain a growth promoter and coccidiostat but no growth hormones or animal-byproducts. The feed consumption per bird will approximately be 1.5kg.  Below is a table showing the nutrient content for a broiler grower mash formulation:-

ingredients and their correct proportion in formulating broilers grower mash
ingredients and their correct proportion in formulating broilers grower mash

 

How to Make Broiler Finisher Mash

The broiler finisher mash is fed to the chickens from the age of 30 days to the age of 38 days. Every bird will consume approximately 1kg of broiler finisher mash from the age of 30 days to the age of 38 days.  The broiler finish mash is in the form of pellets.

ingredients and their correct proportion in formulating broilers finisher mash
ingredients and their correct proportion in formulating broilers finisher mash

The Broiler Post Finisher Mash

The broiler post finisher mash is fed to the broilers five days before slaughter.  This diet is richer in protein content.

 

 

Poultry Feed Mill Equipment



A feed production mill is a must have if you are planning to make your own poultry feeds at home or in a small industrial plant. Feed milling equipment consists of various components. These include the feed grinding machine, a feed mixing machine, the feed pellet machine, the feed pellet cooling machine as well as a feed pellet packing machine.

Poultry Feed Pellets
Poultry Feed Pellets

Apart from these core poultry feed mill equipment, there are also auxiliary feed mill equipment that make all this function together as a unit. These including the conveying machine or a system of conveyance belts, a control cabinet, dust collectors, storage bins, fire protection equipment and many others. It all depends on how well equipped and sophisticated you want your poultry feed milling plant to be.

For more information on how this entire system works during the feed processing, check out our post on the poultry feed production line that explains what happens in every component. If you are going to establish poultry feed production line or milling plant, you will have to purchase all these machine components and install them on your production floor with some technical assistance.

Feed Mill Equipment Basic Operations

The basis operations of poultry feed mill equipments includes the following processes:-

  • Receiving the raw materials
  • Grinding the raw materials
  • Batching
  • Mixing the raw materials
  • Pelleting
  • Cooling
  • Sifting or Screening
  • Packaging the processed poultry feed
  • Warehousing the processes feed

Receiving the Raw Materials

The poultry feed mill is equipped to receive various kinds of raw materials. Depending on the design of the poultry mill, the plant line can receive either a truck or rail delivery and sometimes, it can receive both deliveries.

The various ingredients to be used in processing the poultry feed such as the grains, fats, fish meal, pre-mixes and molasses are delivered to the plant by trucks. The grains and soybean meal are generally delivered by rail.

The dry ingredients to be used in formulating the poultry feeds can be received in bags or in bulk. The liquid ingredients to be used in poultry feed formulation such as molasses and fat can be pumped directly into the storage tank in the feed mill line.

The bulk grain and other solid ingredients can be conveyed via a conveyor or bucket elevator to be cleaned or screen before being stored in the storage bins within the feed mill.

Grinding

The solid grains must be ground in the feed mill by the poultry feed grinder or the feed hammer mill. This is done before the feed is mixed with the other feed ingredients to be used in the poultry feed formulation.

Batching

During the feed formulation, the various ingredients being used to make the poultry feed must be weighed quantitatively, in batches. The quantity of the various ingredients that you will feed into the feed mill scale hopper is to be controlled from a central console. This can be done either automatically or manually with aim of ensuring that you feed in the correct ratio for each ingredient.

Mixing

The mixing is done by the feed mixer in the poultry feed mill. The feed mixing will uniformly mix all the individual ingredients being used in the poultry feed formulation. The mixing time will depend on the property of the feed ingredients being used as well as feed formulation for the particular poultry feed that you are making.

Pelleting

During the pelleting stage, the mixed/blended feed ingredients are fed into the pelleting machine in the production line. The pelleting process involves various stages. The mixture of feed ingredients goes into the pellet mill feeder. This will control the rate at which the feed ingredients mixture mixture will enter the feed pelleting equipment.

The next process at the pelleting stage involves the blending together of the dry mixed materials withs team in order to create a wet mesh. It this wet mash that is fed to the mill pelleting machine. It can be pushed here either through gravity or via a forced feeder system.

Inside the pelleting chamber, the hot and moist mash is forced through a pellet mash dye whereupon it is converted into pellets of the desired size and shapes.

Cooling and Sifting

The pelletized poultry feed are finally cool before packaging. The hot feed mixture is feed into the pellet cooling machine by gravity. The cooling is done in order to get durable and hard pellets. Once the pellets are cooled, they will flow into the screening machine where there is the scalping of the pelleted mash into the fines and mash.

Packing and Warehousing the Poultry Feed

The finished pellets are finally weighed, packaged and sealed. This can be done either manually or automatically. Finally, the packaged feed are warehoused ready for distribution to the market.

Maintaining the Feed Mill Equipment

The poultry feed mill should be maintained well and on a regular basis in order to improve its operational efficiency as well as the quality of the feed produced. Proper maintenance will also reduce the instances of feed contamination during processing.

There are various kinds of maintenance that you can perform on your poultry feed mill. These include the emergency maintenance, routine maintenance, the call-in maintenance as well as preventive maintenance.

The routine maintenance for your poultry feed mill is the scheduled maintenance that you carry out regularly based on a fixed routine. Typical routine maintenance work includes activities such as the lubrication of the bearings, replacing the hammer mill screens, replacing the worn out parts of the poultry feed mill equipment or checking the oil levels in the poultry feed mill gear boxes.

With emergency maintenance work, you will be reacting sudden unplanned breakdowns in the machinery. This must be done immediately in order to get the machine running on schedule.

Call-in maintenance also comes into play in an emergency situation. In this case, the people to do the maintenance are not on site and must be called from outside.

Preventive maintenance for the poultry feed mill machine involves making certain adjustments and carrying out inspections and repairs on the equipment. This involves activities such as repairing the worn out parts before they fail based on observation in order to forestall further damage and ensure the feed mill machine is working smoothly.