By Herbert Musoke
Feeds take up about 70% of a poultry farm’s expenditure. Therefore, farmers have been advised to take a keen interest in the quality of the feeds and the birds’ feeding practices.
“The less you spend, the higher the profits. Therefore, farmers must know how to spend less on feeds to maximise profits,” Johan Verhoek, a nutritionist and Koudijs representative in East Africa, said. This was during the second day of the farmers’ master classes on livestock. The five-day classes are organised by Vision Group with the support of the Embassy of the Netherlands, KLM Airlines, Koudijs Nutrition BV and dfcu Bank. This year’s master class focusing on poultry rearing is televised live on Bukedde TV1 from 10:00am to 11:00am, with a repeat on Bukedde TV2 at 10:00pm. The classes will end tomorrow. One of the areas of focus was what good feed is. “Good feed depends on the size and type of animal/poultry,” Verhoek explained. Feeds should have the right composition to match the requirements of the birds for proper growth. It should have the right balance to optimise growth and efficiency to give predictable results. “Buy the right raw materials and store them correctly. Protect them from rains, excessive temperatures, moulds, deterioration, rodents, insects, and wild birds,” he added.
FEEDERS AND PLACEMENT
Verhoek advised that a chicken should not move more than two metres to find a feed. The chick-to-feeder ratio should be 1:40-50, according to their size. You must increase the number of feeders as your birds grow. For example, in broilers, on day 14, each eats 60gm of feed a day and by day 36, they eat 196gm. Therefore, more feeders will help achieve uniform growth and feed efficiency.
The aim with layers to is maintain egg production. So, the feeds are not only for daily production, but also for fertility. Verhoek said one needs water to get the best feed intake. Put feeds into feeders when the lights are off. Layers feed three times a day (40%, 20% and 40%). Your feeders should be empty once a day, but they should not be empty for more than an hour. Feed first and collect eggs regularly because when birds see more than five eggs, they will think of hatching. Reduced feed quality will result in fewer eggs and more mortality, and inadequate feeders will result in bigger variation in egg sizes and fewer eggs.