Poultry feed formulation can be regarded both as an art as well as a science. For successful and accurate poultry feed formulation, you need good knowledge of the poultry feed ingredients, a little bit of innovation as well as patience.
A good poultry feed formulation should include information on the amount of each of the ingredients that should be added to the poultry diet. There should also be information on the concentration of the various ingredients used in the poultry feed formulations.
The composition of the nutrients used in the poultry feed formulation will show whether the poultry feed is adequate for the class of chicken it is to be used on. Layers require a certain nutrient composition and the case is the same with broilers. The formulation of chicks will be different from that of growers or birds that are at the point of lay.
A lot of the poultry feed formulations will also show the amount of energy in the poultry feeds. This is shown here in terms of the metabolisable energy. Formulated poultry feeds will also show the amount of proteins used in the poultry feed as well as complete information on the minerals and the digestible amino acids used in the poultry diet.
Typical digestible amino acids used in the poultry feed formulations will include methionine, a limiting amino acid as well as various essential amino acids. There are a host of poultry feed formulation databases available that contain information on the various digestible amino acid contents in the various poultry feed ingredients that you can use in your poultry feed formulations.
The Process of Poultry Feed Formulations
Poultry feed formulation is also called least cost formulation because you have to mix the right ingredients with the nutrient requirements in the most economical manner. To do this successfully, you need to have an in depth grasp of a number of factors such as the nutrient requirements of a certain class of poultry, the nutrient components of the ingredients used in the poultry feeds, prices of the ingredients as well as the digestibility values of the ingredients you are using to formulate the poultry feeds.
Using this knowledge, you can apply a feeds formulation mathematical formula in order to derive the various ingredients that need to be included in the poultry feeds. This information also includes the proportion in which these ingredients need to be added the poultry feed. Of course in a large mill, the whole process is computerised and might not be challenging like in the case of someone trying to mix the feeds in their backyards.
The formula for mixing the ingredients is generally simpler if you are only using a few ingredients. But if you using a lot of ingredients, it gets a lot more complex. You can also purchase the various feed formulation packages that are available in the market currently for the various classes of poultry.
Large feed mills may have the resources to produce more precise poultry feeds. For example, they can create small amounts of test diets that can be tested in laboratories to ensure it meets the right quality standards before it is produced en masse. The tests generally determine if the poultry feed has the right chemical composition required for the class of poultry that it will be used on.
But with the right knowledge of poultry feed formulation, you can still mill poultry feeds in your backyard without constructing mammoth poultry feed mills.
As a poultry farmer, you only buy the finished formulated feeds and may not be aware of the process that goes into formulating the feed for optimal poultry performance. The process of quantifying and mixing the various ingredients to make a well finished poultry feed is a science in itself but what does it really entail?
Poultry feed formulation can loosely be defined as the process of quantifying the numerous ingredients that will go into making the poultry feed. It is an exact science that must be carried out with the highest precision. Poorly formulated poultry feed will have an adverse impact on the health and performance of your poultry and the chickens can be quite unforgiving once you make a mistake in the feeding.
The disparage ingredients used in poultry feed formulation will be combined and mixed to form a single uniform feed used to feed various types of chickens at various stages growth. There is no single formula for all chickens. Each poultry feed must be specially formulated for a particular chicken taking into account their production characteristics as well as nutrient requirements.
The Cost of Feeding is Very High
The cost of feeding your chickens will be the single largest cost that you will grapple with. Because of that, farmers are always very cost conscious when it comes to feeds. Feeding costs will account for anywhere between 65% and 70% of the total production costs in your chicken farming venture. Making a simple mistake in the poultry feed formulation may prove very costly for the farmer over the long run.
When it comes to poultry feed formulation, there are three important things that you need to grasp well. These are:-
- Know the nutrient requirements for the class of poultry that you are formulating the feeds for be they layers, broilers or breeders.
- Understand the feed ingredients used in the poultry feed formulation in terms of the composition of the feeds ingredients as well as the various constraints that each of the feed ingredients poses in terms of processing as well as the nutrient component.
- Understand the cost of the ingredients as well as their availability.
The bigger poultry production concerns generally have a department that is involved in the poultry feeds formulation and production. They generally have a feed mill where they produce their own feed mill for use and for sale so as to offset the cost of poultry production.
Small poultry farming operations will often rely on formulated feeds that is sold in the local agrovets as well as on the consultant nutritionists to help them better understand the nutritional needs of their poultry.
For success in poultry feed formulation, it is important that the poultry feed formulation be as accurate as possible. Once the poultry feed has been milled, it is generally very difficult and very costly to correct any mistakes that were made during the poultry feed formulation. Accuracy must be ensured before the milling process has begun.
For most chicken farmers, making your own feed or formulating what to feed chickens is cost effective and the best way to prevent loss due to low quality food. Commercial food has lowered in both quality and quantity over the years and the end results have affected farmers in the form of slower chicken growth, less egg production, disease and even death.
It has become easier however, to gather the raw materials for making your own feed, especially after harvest season. Farmers who make their own feed can exert quality control, making sure that their stock gets the best feed possible for growth and health, all while defending against disease, pest and illness. It is not difficult to make your own feed as long as you are mindful of the nutritional needs of your birds.
It is always important to research poultry feed ingredients first and ensure that you are getting exactly what it is that you need for your stock. The feed for breeds can differ and you need to make sure you are giving your poultry the best nutrients possible.
There are many ingredients that can used in poultry feed formulation and they all add different nutrients to the poultry nutrition. Some of these are additives that can be added to increase the potency of the feed you are providing for your birds.
- Yellow maize: provides vitamin A and carbohydrate.
- White maize: provides carbohydrate.
- Rice bran: provides carbohydrate and acts as midlings.
- Wheat offals: provide carbohydrate and act as midlings.
- Guinea corn: provides carbohydrate.
- Palm kernel cake: provides lipids, vitamin, and proteins.
- Coconut cake: provides lipids, vitamins, proteins.
- Bean meal: provides proteins, carbohydrate, lipids.
- Groundnut cake: provides protein, lipids, and vitamins.
- Pigeon pea: provides protein, lipids, and vitamins.
- Bone meal: Provides minerals like calcium and phosphorus.
- Oyster shell and grot: Minerals like calcium and phosphorus.
- Blood meal: Provides protein, minerals like iron and copper.
- Cotton seed meal: Provides protein, carbohydrate, vitamins and lipids.
- Linseed meal: Provides protein, carbohydrate, vitamins and lipids.
- Fish meal: Provides proteins, lipids and vitamins.
- Common salt or salt lick: Provides mineral salts like sodium, iodine, chlorine and so many others.
In poultry feed formulation, the technique that farmers use is called the Pearson Square Method. It involves the determination of the digestible crude protein or DCP. This is the basic nutritional requirement that is required in any kind of poultry feed formulation.
This requires knowledge of crude protein content of all the ingredients for your feed formulation. Below is a list of common feed components that can be used for poultry nutrition with their DCP percentages.
- Fishmeal or Omena has 55% crude protein content
- Sunflow has 35%
- Soya has 45%
- Whole maize — 8.23%
- Maize bran — 7%
- Sunflower — 35%
Once you know this information you must then determine the percentage needed for your specific stock. Feed for layers, for example, needs to be at least 18% crude protein.
Each category of chicken has its nutritional requirement. For example, if we want to make feed for layers, the feed should have at least 18 per cent crude protein. Growers should have between 16-18% crude protein and broilers should have between 22-24% crude protein. This is important to know when you are working on broiler feed formulation, or layer feed formulation.
Using those poultry feed ingredients you would need to calculate the percentage for crude protein in each ingredient to ensure that you reached the correct percentage for your specific type of bird.
For example if you want to make 70kg for layers, you might use the following formula:
- 34kg of whole maize
- 10kg of maize bran
- 12kg of soya
- 8kg of omena (fishmeal)
- 6kg of lime (as a calcium source)
The calculation to make it sure that this has 18% DCP is simple, as shown below:
- Whole maize — 34kg x 8.23 ÷100 = 2.80 %
- Soya — 12kg x 45kg ÷ 100 = 5.40 %
- Omena — 8 kg x 55kg ÷ 100 = 4.40 %
- Lime — 6 kg x 0 kg ÷ 100 = 0.00%
2.80%+5.40%+4.40%+0.00%= 13.30 Total Crude Protein.
Then you should divide this percent by 70kg and then multiply it by 100 to get the percentage in one bag of feed. Doing that equation will look something like this:
13.30 ÷70 ×100 = 19%
With the formula you can see that the feed has 19% total DCP and therefore is perfect layer feed formulation.
To make sure that your poultry is getting the most out of your feed formulation you need to take into account the additional nutrients they may need aside from the crude protein in their diet. It can be supplemented with vitamins, amino acids and minerals, such as the lime in the above example.
It is also crucial to consider the daily feeding requirements for your stock depending on its age and purpose. Certain birds need certain amount of nutrition at different stages of their lives. Meeting these needs will help you to maintain a healthy farm with thriving poultry.
Taking all of this into account is the best way to make sure that you are providing the best feed formulation to your birds on a consistent basis, preventing loss and making sure that they are healthy, happy and illness free. Moreover, making your own feed is almost 50-70% cheaper than buying commercial feed that’s the reason why so many farmers are turning to making their own feed.