Poultry farmers should invest a substantial amount of time concentrated on chicken feed components which offer high quality nourishment to their flocks. Modern methods of farming have introduced the capability to boost the nutritional elements of poultry ingredients together with additives and supplements. This is fantastic for both the farmer and the feed maker or manufacturer. High-quality feed additives improve the general economics of feed for both producers and manufacturers.
A number of the most common additives comprise of pellet binders, moisture optimisers, and grain and feed conditioners. For farmers, the advantages of poultry feed additives are two-fold: (1) more shelf-life and preservation of feed, and (2) improved nutrition that boosts the value of poultry.
Chicken Feed Ingredients
The seven basic chicken feed ingredients
- Cereal grains
- Cereal byproducts
- Fats and oils
- Protein meals
- Miscellaneous raw ingredients, such as tubers and roots
- Minerals and vitamins
- Feed additives
Key nutrients which have to be provided to flocks through poultry feed components include amino acids that are included in proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Fats, oils, and protein foods include the remainder of a chicken’s nutritional energy requirements.
Cereal grains make up the most of chicken feed components. It is a cost-effective ingredient which can help fulfil energy requirements for chickens. Unfortunately, cereal grains are highly prone to mould, bacteria, and rot that can harbor mycotoxins which can affect development and the health of the chickens. Thanks to the preservation properties of feed additives, cereal grains can be utilised as components in chicken feed without even going bad during prolonged periods of storage.
Key components that require to be given to your birds’ chicken feed ingredients consist of amino acids that are included in minerals, vitamins and proteins. Fats, oils, as well as healthy protein meals make up the rest of a poultry’s nutritional energy needs.
How Supplements Improve Health and Performance
Supplements assist in increasing the efficiency and health of chicken by elevating the dietary output supplied by the feed itself. Supplements can conserve poultry farmers and feed producers significant expenses by extending and increasing yields shelf-life. These enable a simpler transport procedure and lead to less wear and tear on production equipment.
Common additives and supplements:
- Toxin binders
- Mold inhibitors
- Direct fed microbials
- Organic minerals
- Feed conditioners
- Pellet binders
- Digestive enzymes
- Feeding effectors
- Anti-stress agents
Improving Chicken Feed Ingredient Value
Effective supplements will make feed processing more profitable for livestock feed manufacturers by boosting the overall value and nutritional qualities of the feed they produce and sell to farmers and bulk buyers. These nutrient-rich supplements can assist stressed-out and ill birds go back to optimum health. Another advantage of supplements is that they are simple to use and can restrict metal contamination through chicken’s fecal waste.
When Good Chicken Feed Goes Bad
Mold, bacteria, and rot all ruin chicken feed nutrition, rendering whole supplies useless. Mold is especially expensive to eradicate. As it develops, it absorbs the nutrients inside feed. Chickens that consume moldy feed will likely be exposed to mycotoxins that can cause significant health problems, based upon the portions consumed. When”best practices” are utilized, mold may still grow on the feed.
Using additives or supplements as a mold inhibitor is highly recommended. This may minimize the risk of mycotoxin production in feeds and grains and protect against degradation of the nutrient content of the feed. There’s no set formula for which ingredients have to be utilised in poultry feed, the general guideline is that nutritional necessities need to be met. To provide optimum levels of nutrition, supplements should be considered. Additives and supplements play an important role in the value of poultry feed components. They have the ability to not only inhibit the growth of harmful organisms in chicken feed, but to improve the nutrients consumed by chickens .
Yoghurt and cheese are all fermented foods we humans consume on a regular basis, but did you know that you can ferment your chickens feed too- and they will love you for it!
Fermenting chicken feed has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, and according to poultry experts, for good reason.
So, now you’re asking what is this fermenting business and how can I jump on the bandwagon – well we have all the answers!
What is fermenting?
Fermentation has been used for many years as a means of preserving and enhancing some particular foods.
The fermentation process involves using naturally occurring bacteria to partially break down the food- improving its enzyme content and increasing its levels of vitamins B, C and K. This helps to make the food easier to digest and gives its usable protein content a major boost. It will rid of all the bad bacteria, leaving only the good bacteria behind!
Why should I ferment my chicken feed?
Fermented foods are great for our health – they normalise the acidity in our stomach, provide digestive balance, aid in the absorption of nutrients and neutralize toxic compounds.
In chickens, it has been found to have similar effects- aiding with their digestive and intestinal health as well as increasing their egg weight, shell weight and thickness.
Fermenting preserves all the important vitamins in your chicken feed grains, and also creates new vitamins such as folic acid, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin- all which help promote better overall health in your chickens!
As fermented feed becomes more dense and rich in nutrients, it becomes more filling- so a little goes a long way! Compared the amount of unfermented feed your chickens would eat, they will generally eat about half this amount of fermented feed- yet get more nutrients! (This also means you will have less chicken poop on your hands!)
Because it has the consistency of a ‘mash’ there is less spillage, and chickens won’t scratch through and throw it out of the feeder, so there is less waste- your wallet will thank you!
So by fermenting your chicken feed, you will have tastier and stronger eggs, increased hen health, lowered feed costs, and less poop- what are you waiting for?
How do I ferment my chicken feed?
There are a few things to consider before you rush into the fermenting process- firstly, how many chickens do you have? If you only have three of four hens, you might want to make your feed in a tupperware container, glass jar or small bucket. If you have a larger flock, plastic food grade buckets, ceramic containers or a bucket should do the trick. No matter what you’re using, make sure they have a lid!
Be wary to not use metal containers as the high acid content of the fermented feed can sometimes interact with the metals and cause contamination of the feed.
Next, you need to decide what ingredients you want to ferment. You can ferment pretty much any feed that you currently give your chickens- pellets, scratch, seeds, egg shells and whole grains are all great!
You are now ready to embark on the fermentation journey!
1. Fill your container about halfway with your chosen feed- remember that the grains will expand, so be sure to leave enough room relative to the size of your container.
2. Then add enough dechlorinated water to cover your grains by a couple of inches.
3. Stir the mixture at least once or twice a day, and add water as necessary to ensure that the water level stays above the feed. Make sure that you put the lid on properly each time after opening, and soon the magic will happen!
You soon should start to see bubbles form on the surface of your liquid, and it may emit a slightly sour smell- this is lacto-fermentation in action! The water may also appear a little cloudy and foamy- this is all very normal, and you can simply stir your mixture to get rid of it.
Lacto-fermented feed should never have a rotten or unpleasant smell- this indicates an overgrowth of yeasts or moulds in the feed, and so it should be discarded of, and you will need to start the fermentation process again.
If your grains are always completely covered by water, and your container is always sealed properly, you shouldn’t have an issue, and the fermenting process should be a breeze!
Within three to five days your feed should be fully fermented-yay! This will be made evident by the presence of small bubbles and the sour smell.
When it comes to feeding, scoop or spoon out an appropriate amount for your flock. Try and scoop from the bottom of the container to get a real mixture of all the ingredients.
You can choose to press out some of the liquid, strain it, or simply add it to their feeder as is- all work equally well!
When you remove feed, be sure to add the same amount back into the container to replace it. Stir thoroughly, add more water to completely cover the feed, then seal the lid back on- letting the fermenting process to continue!
While you may not feed your chickens fermented feed every day, it is definitely something to experiment with given the health benefits for your girls.
Have you ever fermented chicken feed before? We would love to know your tips and tricks and do’s and don’ts. Please share it on the comments.
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:-
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:-
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.
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.