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.
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 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.