6 steps to increasing broiler feed intake
Making small management changes on poultry farms and tracking their effects can help increase feed intake and maximize profitability, according to a leading nutritionist.
Writing in WattAg.net, Ioannis Mavromichalis, Ph.D., said creating ideally balanced diets to maximize feed conversion can be difficult — and expensive — in practice on commercial units.
But by using a six-point toolkit, producers can use management techniques to encourage greater feed intake and enhance productivity.
1. Pellets and crumbles
Birds eat more nutrients when offered pelleted feed, as they need to eat more compacted feed to feel full. Reserve crumbles for starting chicks
Birds consume more and digest it better when raised on rotating on-off lighting programs. A common program is two hours of light, which initiates a feed consumption cycle, followed by two hours of darkness.
3. Water availability
Anything that causes a reduction of water intake will reduce feed intake. Make sure all birds have access to clean water.
Contrary to popular belief, birds do have a sense of taste. Consider palatability when formulating a new diet.
5. Anti-nutritional factors
Certain anti-nutritional factors taste bitter and can inflame the gut, which can cause birds to stop eating. Consider replacing anti-nutritional doctors with more innocuous ingredients.
6. Balanced diets
Consult a qualified nutritionist to formulate a balanced diet — even if you buy complete feed.