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.
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.