In poultry production, formulating the feed or diet in a balanced way is crucial to the economy of the production, and the ability to formulate effective feeding requirements for your birds depends on your knowledge of the nutritional requirements of poultry and the attributes of the nutrient sources.
It is, therefore, worthy of note that, the criteria used in establishing nutrient requirements for poultry include growth, reproduction, feed efficiency, poultry health, and quality of the poultry products.
Poultry diets should therefore be composed of a mixture of feedstuffs such as cereal grains, soybean, animal by-product meats, fats, vitamins, and mineral premixes.
This is because it is only with this underlined feedstuff and water that will provide the birds with the energy required for the birth’s growth, reproduction, nutrients, and health.
However, the feeding formulations and requirements for chicken vary greatly according to the purpose for which they are have been developed.
For instance, the chicken reared for the sole aim of laying and production of eggs have a small body size, while the broilers which are bred for their meat have rapid growth rates and large body size, so their feeding formulation will differ greatly in accordance with their purpose.
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Notwithstanding the differences in growth and body sizes of the birds, poor quality feed invariably leads to slow growth, low egg production, diseases, and death.
A lot of farmers make the mistake of trying to ration the feed given to their birds, due to probably the rise in the market price of the feeds, or the high consumption rate of the birds daily, weekly and monthly.
They try to reduce the consumption ratio of the birds which in most cases, usually end up with birds who are large yet the weight is nothing to write home about, and sometimes, when it gets to the market, they are rarely able to make good markets.
Just like feeding is important for humans, it is also important for poultry birds and should be given due consideration.
FACTORS FOR FORMULATING POULTRY FEEDS
1. Nutritional value of raw materials
The nutritional values of raw materials varies from time to time, this is because the nutritional value of feeds for the young birds differs from that of the full-grown ones.
The raw material is purchased based on the price, availability, and most importantly the nutritional value of it needs to be fully accessed to be sure that the desired quantity is fed to the birds.
2. Amino Acid, digestibility and energy levels
Generally, to ensure optimum performance, it is necessary to consider 90% of digestible amino acid while formulating feeds.
Not only does digestible amino acid helps to deliver better results, but it also economizes the cost of feed for equal performance.
Farmers should be made to understand that, the energy content of feeds determines the feed intake of the bird, and the relationship between energy and digestible amino acid if duly maintained will help in adjusting the crude protein levels in the diet, which will reduce the cost of feed without compromising performance.
For feed formulation, farmers need a knowledge of feed, and poultry. The formulation should always indicate the amounts of each ingredient required to be present in the diet and provide the necessary concentration of nutrients in the diet.