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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.