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A Complete Guide to Poultry Feed Formulation

Poultry feed formulation involves deciding the amounts of different ingredients that are to be combined to form a diet mixture for poultry. This poultry feed is created to serve as a source of all nutrient requirements for poultry birds. Poultry feed is so essential in poultry farm and feeds production that it accounts for anything between 65% to 75% of total production costs of poultry in the world. Any mistakes in diet formulation can lead to the death of poultry birds or make them sickly.

The act of feed formulation is only possible with the understanding of certain concepts; they are:

  • The necessary nutrient requirements of the poultry class like egg layers, breeders or meat chickens

  • The necessary feed ingredients based on their nutrient composition and process

  • The cost and availability of the necessary ingredients.

Feed Formulation Process

Feed formulation is also called least-cost formulation. It involves matching the nutrient requirements of a particular class of animals with the available nutrient contents of the raw materials that are available in the most economical way. Specific mathematical formulas get used to decide the amounts of each ingredient that need to be included in diets for different poultry types. Poultry feed makers only need a few parts for each mixture, and the formulas are simple. However, if there are many ingredients available in varying amounts, the producer may use more sophisticated methods. There are various feed formulation recipes, and they have different functions.

Layer feed needs to have a Digestible Crude Protein (DCP) content of between 16 % to 18 %. Calcium is crucial to the formation of eggshells because laying hens that do not get enough calcium will have to use the calcium they have in their bone tissue to create eggshells. Below are formulas for poultry feed formulation for laying birds.

Source: Poultrymania.com

These are formulas for feed formulation for broilers.

Source: Poultrymania.com

Some farmers and feed mills produce test recipes for inspection in laboratories or using feeding trials. This process helps confirm the potency of the diet and decide the best preparation formula for the accurate and economical formulation of poultry feeds. Large scale feed producers may also test the chemical composition of the available ingredients in their labs. This is why most feed mills today build their Quality Control (QC) laboratories.

Small Scale or Homemade Feed Formulation

For homemade poultry feed formulation, you should do some experimental trials. This process involves isolating a small number of chickens and feed them the feed. Then observe their performance to see if the broilers grow fast and the layers increase egg production. Then you can be sure you have the right feed formulation. Farmers need to be wary of the quality of feed ingredients or raw materials they use in feed formulation. Do not use spoiled maize to make feed because it might contain mycotoxins detrimental to poultry health. You should first mix all the micronutrients or amino acids before mixing them with the rest of the feed. For mixing, research says farmers should use a drum mixer. Be mindful when using a shovel to mix the feed because the ingredients may end up getting unevenly distributed. Small scale farmers can come together and contribute some resources to making the feed to ensure the use of high-quality feed materials while reducing cost.

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