Most of the time, poultry feeds prepared by oneself are usually costlier because it is likely to be richer. However, how rich your poultry feed will be is usually determined by the quality of your poultry feed formulation and the faithfulness of your poultry feed-mill as some feed-mills are known for quality.
There are many poultry feed-mills around. The most important thing you should look for in a poultry feed-mill is their reliability, faithfulness and efficiency. However, it is better you consult an expert or an already existing farmer around you to put you through.
How to Make Your Own Chicken or Poultry Feed
Feed formulation is the process of quantifying the amounts of feed ingredients that need to be combined to form a single uniform mixture (diet) for poultry that supplies all of their nutrient requirements. Since feed accounts for 65-75% of total live production costs for most types of poultry throughout the world, a simple mistake in diet formulation can be extremely expensive for a poultry producer.
Feed formulation requires thorough understanding of the:
(a) nutrient requirements of the class of poultry (e.g., egg layers, meat chickens or breeders);
(b) feed ingredients in terms of nutrient composition and constraints in terms of nutrition and processing, and
(c) cost and availability of the ingredients.
Most large-scale poultry farmers have their own nutritionists and feed mills, whereas small operations usually depend on consultant nutritionists and commercial feed mills for their feeds. It is therefore essential that formulations are accurate because once feeds are formulated and manufactured, it is often too late to remedy any mistakes or inaccuracies without incurring significant expenses.
Feed formulation is both a science and an art, requiring knowledge of feed and poultry, and some patience and innovation. Typical formulations indicate the amounts of each ingredient that should be included in the diet, and then provide the concentration of nutrients (composition) in the diet.
The nutrient composition of the diet will indicate the adequacy of the diet for the particular class of poultry for which it is prepared. It is common to show the energy value in metabolisable energy (kcal or MJ ME/kg feed) and protein content of the diet but comprehensive information on concentrations of mineral elements and digestible amino acids are also provided.
Digestible amino acids often include not just the first limiting amino acid, methionine, but also most of the ten essential amino acids. A number of databases are available to provide information on the digestible amino acid contents of various poultry feed ingredients.
Although in India most of the poultry feed manufacturing companies have their own formulation but their basics are same. Here I have tried to give a generalized picture of the poultry feed formulation.
Feed formulation is the process of finding the optimal combination of feed ingredients that meets the specified nutritional requirements for specific types of poultry. Feed formulation is an applied field of nutrition where nutritionists apply their knowledge to produce a balanced diet.
Many pieces of information should be incorporated prior to feed formulation to maximize the efficiency of formulation. Information like nutritional requirements, feedstuffs composition, nutrient availability and costs of available feedstuffs are essential elements for effective feed formulation. There are several techniques used to formulate poultry feeds.
Hand formulation was practiced for long time before the emergence of modern computers with the capability of solving complex mathematical problems in 1950s.
Simple diets with a very few ingredients and nutrients could be formulated (balanced) using hand formulation techniques such as simple equations or Pearson’s square. Usually, these simple techniques are used to meet the requirements of two nutrients utilizing only two feed ingredients.
The price of feed is not taken into account when using these techniques because it is difficult to achieve the cheapest feed here. Nowadays, the availability of personal computers and feed formulation software have eliminated the need to formulate feeds by hand calculation.
Formulation of 50 kg bag (broiler feed)
Broilers have different feed requirements in terms of energy, proteins, and minerals during different stages of their growth.Therefore, it is important that farmers adapt feed rations to these requirements for maximum production. Young broilers have a high protein requirement for the development of muscles, feathers, etc.
As the broilers grow, their energy requirements for the deposit of fat increase and their protein requirements decrease. They require high protein content in their starter rations than in the grower and finisher rations. Broilers should have a feed that has between 22 – 24 per cent digestible crude protein, DCP.
The following guidelines can help the farmer to make the right feed at each stage of growth:
• 7.2kg of whole maize
• 11.9kg of maize germ
• 9.5kg of wheat pollard
• 7.2kg wheat bran
• 4.3kg of cotton seed cake
• 3.4kg of sunflower cake
• 2.1kg of fishmeal
• 1.4kg of lime
• 2.5kg of soya meal
• 45g of bone meal
• 10g of grower PMX
• 5g of salt
• 5g of coccidiostat
• 5g of Zincbacitrach
Broiler starter feed (1-4 weeks)
• 28.6kg of whole maize
• 8.6kg of fishmeal
• 10kg of soya bean meal
• 2.9kg of lime
• 70g of premix
Amino acids to add
• 35g of lysine
• 35g of threonine
Preparing of layers chick mash (1-4 weeks)
Chicks require feed with Digestible Crude Protein (DCP) of between 18 to 20 per cent. Amino acids are important nutrients in all feeds in order to make a complete feed for all animals. For hybrid chickens, the addition of amino acids is very important to maintain a balanced diet for fast growth
(50 kg bag of chick mash)
• 22.5kg of whole maize
• 6.5kg of wheat bran,
• 5.0 kg of wheat pollard,
• 12 kg of sunflower (or 12 kg of linseed),
• 1.1 kg of fishmeal
• 1.25 kg of lime
• 30g of salt
• 20g of premix
Amino acids to be added
• 70g of tryptophan
• 3.0g of lysine
• 10g of methionine
• 70 g of threonine
• 50g of enzymes
• 60g of coccidiostat
• 50g of toxin binder
To make a 50 kg bag growers feed (1 to 8 weeks), it is very necessary that pullets or young layers should be provided with a feed having a protein content of between 16 and 18 per cent. Such feed makes the pullet to grow fast and prepare for egg laying.
Note: Layers’ feed should never be fed to chickens younger than 18 weeks as it contains calcium that can damage their kidneys (they can develop kidney stones), which interfere with egg production and also shorten their lifespan. Grit (sand) should be provided to growers that are not on free range to aid in digestion.
70 kg bag layer mash (18 weeks and above)
• 24.3kg of whole maize
• 8.6kg of Soya
• 5.7kg of fishmeal
• 7.1kg of maize bran, rice germ or wheat bran
• 4.3 kg of lime
• 180g premix
Amino acids to be added
• 70g lysine
• 35g methionine
• 70kg threonine
• 35g tryptophan
• 50g toxin binder
Note: Layer feed should contain a Digestible Crude Protein (DCP) content of between 16-18 per cent. Calcium is important for the formation of eggshells (Laying hens that do not get enough calcium will use the calcium stored in their own bone tissue to produce eggshells). Layer feed should be introduced at 18 weeks.
• When making home made feed rations, it is important to do experimental trials. Isolate a number of chickens, feed them and observing their performance. If the feed rations are right, the broilers will grow fast and the layers will increase egg production (at least 1 egg after every 27 hours).
• Farmers should be very careful with the quality of feed ingredients or raw materials. Poultry, especially chickens are very sensitive to feeds that contain mycotoxins which are present in most of the raw materials. Never use rotten maize to make chicken feed.
• Buy quality fishmeal from reputable companies. If omena(silver cyprinid) is used the farmers must be sure of its quality; most of the omena in the open-air markets may be contaminated.
• It is very important to mix all the micronutrients (amino acids) first before mixing with the rest of the feed.
• For mixing, farmers are advised to use a drum mixer (many welding artisans can make one). Never use a shovel to mix feed because the ingredients will be unevenly distributed.
• Never use rotten raw materials like maize to make feed. Rotten materials might contain mycotoxins which are detrimental to poultry health.
• Small scale families can contribute resources to the making of feed to ensure high-quality feed materials are used and also reduce costs.
Note: To improve on the feed quality, farmers making their own feeds should always have it tested to ensure the feed is well balanced.You can take your feed samples to agro-chemical industries for testing to ensure the feeds are balanced nutritionally.