Feeds take about 70% of the poultry farm expenditure. Therefore, farmers have been cautioned to take keen interest in the quality of feeds and the feeding practices.
“The more appropriate you spend, the higher the profits,” he said. Therefore, farmers must get knowledge on sourcing quality feeds
and how best to feed their birds to maximise the feeds taken,” Yohan Verhoek, a nutritionist and Koudjis’ representative in East Africa,
Management of feeds
The training focused on feed management and how to get more out of the feeds. One of the areas of focus was what good feeds are.
“Good feeds vary from each animal/bird, depending on the size and type,” Verhoek explains.
Feeds should have the right composition to match the requirements of the birds to grow well. They should be adjusted to the requirements, which is changing with development. They should have the right balance to optimise growth and efficiency to give predictable results.
To have this, buy the right raw materials, store them correctly by protecting them from rains, excessive temperatures, moulds, deterioration, rodents, insects and wild birds,” he adds.
Feeders and placement
Make sure the number of feeders is sufficient to ensure uniform growth.
Chicken should not move more than two metres to find feeds. Chick feeders should be 1:40-50 according to size and you must increase the number of feeders as your birds grow.
“For example, in broilers; at day 14, each bird eats 60g of feeds a day and by day 36, eats 196g. Therefore, providing more feeders will ensure uniform growth and feed efficiency,” Verhoek advised.
Always make sure your birds have sufficient feeds and water all the time. Do not fill the feeders because rodents will be attracted by the feeds.
In the early days, provide feeding plates and adjust the feeder heights regularly as the birds grow and make sure feeders are empty at least for an hour a day.
Dr Geoffrey Mukama said unlike in broilers, where the main aim is to get as much feed into the chicken to get higher growth, for layers the target is to maintain production. So, the feeds are not only for daily production, but also for fertility.
To get the best intake of feeds, you need water. Put the feeds into feeders when the lights are off such that by the time the lights are switched back, the feeds are already there.
Layers feed three times a day (40%, 20% 40%) and you should always check the feed intake of your birds. Your feeders can be empty at one time, but they should not be empty for more than an hour.