Feeding contributes about 80% cost of production, and good nutrition is reflected in the bird’s performance, production and health. Poultry feed formulations vary depending on whether you are raising chickens for meat or eggs, vary according to age, environmental condition etc.
There are 6 basic nutrients which chicken needs protein, carbohydrates, fats appropriate amount vitamins and minerals, and water. Deficiency of one of it will hamper production hence they are essential. Almost all starter and grower ration have 18% to 20% protein. This formulation is for growth and development of bones, muscles, immunity and internal organ. The amount of protein in their diet is very important, less and more both are detrimental; it helps them to produce feathers, meat and eggs as well as to grow.
Feed Ingredients –Feed ingredients for Poultry are easy to get and they are available to us.
Corn and soybean meal – Usually the most plentiful sources of energy and well-balanced protein, thus it is extensively used.Now a days the major issue is with pricing of ingredients hence substitute to replace part of it is been used.
Balancers and Concentrates – For preparing the poultry feed, concentrates and balances are special supplements which are prepared by the commercial poultry feed companies.
Salt –Added as source of sodium & chloride and to enhance taste. Generally 0.2 to 0.5% is added to most poultry diets.
Lipids e.g. OIL (up to 5% of the diet) – May increase energy utilization.
Yellow pigmentation – Use as much yellow corn as possible plus good sources of xanthophyll, such as alfalfa meal or corn gluten meal, for the yellow coloration of the shanks, feet, skin, and egg yolks.
Feed additives are used for a variety of reasons – e.g., antibiotics (to stimulate growth & control diseases), Probiotic (to improve performance), anti-parasitic compounds (kill pasasites), anti-oxidative (stop oxidation and release of free radicles), toxinbinders (protection from mycotoxins) and anticoccidials (protection from coccidiosis)
Fish Oil – Fish oil is a dependable source of Vitamin A and D. Mainly it is used in chicken feed and laying hen’s feed. Fish oil is very effective when green pasture and sunlight is not adequate.
Chick feed must be enriched with protein and concentrate to ensure rapid growth and good health. Feed the chicks twice a day so that feed consumption will me more.
And after their two or three weeks of age, give them dry mash with self-feeders (when all the chicks can eat) and ensure a constant supply of fresh and clean water according to their demand. Add some dry cracked wheat with dry mash till they reach three to four weeks of age. While feeding wheat make sure make sure you are adding enzyme xylanase to combat its detrimental effects