In order to achieve maximum productivity in poultry farming business, below are the recommended feeding practices to encourage success in the poultry farming business:
The success of raising poultry depends very much on adequate feeding of the birds. Feed is offered to poultry at all times (ad Librium) or controlled (restricted).
i. The Unrestricted /ad Librium Feeding Program
Feed must be available to the birds at all times. This practice is commonly referred to as ad Librium feeding. This method of feeding allows the poultry to consume feed to appetite or want. Birds raised for meat (broilers) are preferably fed ad Librium
Advantages of the Unrestricted/ad Librium Feeding Program
1. More uniform body weight attainment at maturity.
2. Feed management technique is less complicated as compared to the feeding regimen in feed restriction programs.
3. Birds that feed themselves at will are less stressed up.
Disadvantages of the Unrestricted/ad Librium Feeding Program
1. Birds overeat and increase feed costs during the rearing period.
2. Meat type (broiler) breeders tend to overeat and grow excessively, thus compromising production efficiency and profitability (more small/peewee eggs prolapse, etc).
3. Overweight broiler breeders are prone to prolapse, reduced fertility, hatch ability, and reproductive failures.
ii. The Restricted/Controlled Feeding Program
Feed is supplied to the birds in limited quantity and/or quality. The strains of birds must be grown on a controlled feeding program to limit weight, particularly with broiler breeder strains.
The female feed intake may be adjusted to delay egg at sexual maturity to maintain desired body weight and reduce prolapses.
If the birds are overweight, some form of feed restriction may be imposed. It is advisable to start the restricted feeding program from 6 weeks of age, although some breeders recommend earlier ages (2–3 weeks of age).
Advantages of the Restricted/Controlled Feeding Program
1. Reduction in the cost of feeding the birds during the growing period.
2. Feed restriction results in later maturing birds that lay larger eggs in the initial period.
3. The birds are less fat, thus protecting the birds from breeding problems due to excess fat.
4. It leads to the production of more hatchable eggs during the laying year.
Disadvantages of the Restricted/Controlled Feeding Program
1. Management of the restricted feeding program is more complicated than ad Librium feeding.
2. Birds may be more uneven in body size mainly because of the differential feed intake of “boss” vs “timid” birds.
3. It is more troublesome to feed the birds because they fight among themselves in a bid to get at the feed.
4. Increase in cannibalism and mortality problems.
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