The Complete Guide to Poultry Feed

Feeding constitutes the fundamental and major managemental concern in poultry production. Since major expenditure (60-70%) in poultry raising is Poultry Feed cost. Efficiency in feeding therefore it is one of the key factors for successful poultry production.

More than 40 nutrients are required by the poultry. They can be arranged into six classes according to their chemical nature, functions they perform, and the with which they are chemically determined.

These groups of nutrients are water, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins.

Carbohydrates and fats are the principal sources of energy.

Fats are the concentrated form of energy and yield 2.25 times more energy than carbohydrates, on a weight basis. Fats are also the source of essential fatty acids, i.e. linoleic, linolenic, and arachidonic acids.

The requirement for protein is essentially the requirement for amino acids. The essential amino acids for poultry are arginine, glycine, histidine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, cystine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Out of these, the ones critical in practical diets are arginine, lysine, methionine, cysteine, and tryptophan.

Minerals and vitamins do not supply energy but they play an important role in the regulation of several essential metabolic processes in the body. The minerals and vitamins that are critical in practical poultry diets arc as follows :

Minerals: Calcium, phosphorus, sodium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, and zinc.
Vitamins: Vitamin A, vitamin D3, vitamin E. pyridoxine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin, folic acid, B12, and choline.

A balanced ration is the one that will supply different nutrients in the right proportions according to the requirements for maintaining and various productive functions. The nutrients required by poultry must be supplied in rations through the ingredients available in sufficient quantity economically.

Also read What to feed Chickens at different ages?

Feed Ingredients

Conventional poultry rations usually include many kinds of cereal like maize, rice, wheat, oat, barley; and a few cereal byproducts such as wheat’ bran or rice polish, animal and vegetable protein sources like fish-meal, meat-meal, soybean-oil-meal, groundnut-cake, etc. According to their availability. The whole ration is fortified with adequate minerals and vitamins either in chemically pure or through ingredients known to be rich in these nutrients.

With the cost of feed soaring high and the availability of conventional ingredients becoming scarce, intensive and continuous efforts are being made to determine the nutritive value of agro-industrial byproducts to replace more costly ingredients in poultry rations. The following are some of the common feedstuffs used for making poultry rations in this country.

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Conventional Poultry Feeds

1. Maize: It is highly digestible and contains very little fiber. It is used as a source of energy and is low in protein, especially lysine, and sulfur-containing amino acids. The yellow varieties are a good source of vitamin A and xanthophyll. The latter is responsible for the yellow skin in certain breeds of fowl.

2. Barley: Barley is not very palatable because of its high fiber content and should not constitute more than 15 percent of the ration.

3. Oat: Oat is not very palatable because of its high fiber content. It should not constitute more than 20 percent of the ration. Because of its manganese content, it may help in preventing hock disorders, feather pulling, and cannibalism.

Conventional Poultry Feeds
Conventional Poultry Feeds

4. Wheat: Wheat can be used for replacing maize as a source of energy.

5. Wheat bran: It is bulky and quite laxative on account of its high fiber, manganese, and phosphorus content.

6. Pearl millet: This is a very useful feedstuff, similar to wheat in its nutritive value.

7. Rice: Broken grains of rice can be used for replacing maize.

8. Rice polish: This is a very good substitute for cereal grains and can be used up to 50 percent of the ration. Because of the high oil content, it is likely to become rancid on storage under warm conditions.

9. Deoiled rice polish: Energy content of deoiled rice polish is low because of the removal of fat, but it is rich in protein and ash content.

10. Sorghum: The feeding value of sorghum is similar to that of maize. But it has a higher protein content, quite palatable and may be used in place of maize. Sorghum-meal is a good source of some amino acids, but costlier than other oilcake.

11. Groundnut-cake: It is quite palatable and is widely used as a source of protein in poultry rations. It contains about 40 percent protein.

12. Fish-meal: Fish-meal is one of the best poultry feedstuffs as a source of animal protein. Its composition varies widely depending upon whether it is made from whole bony fish or fish cannery scraps. Most Indian fish-meals contain 45 to 55 percent protein. The presence of fish scales reduces its feeding value.

13. Limestone: Limestoneisasourceofcalcium.Itshouldnotcontain more than 5 percent magnesium.

14. Oyster-shell: Oyster-shellcontainsmorethan38percentcalcium, and is a good substitute for limestone. It is quite palatable.

Nonconventional Poultry Feeds

1. Energy Sources

Deoiled sal seed-meal: It is a byproduct of the processing of sal fruits for oil. The composition of the meal resembles cereals. But its use is very much limited to poultry because of high tannin content and certain other factors.

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Tapioca-meal: It is obtained from the tubers of tapioca. The meal is a good source of energy. Certain varieties contain cyanogenic substances. These can be removed during the processing of tapioca by sun-drying or heating.

Poultry Feeds
Poultry Feeds

Dried poultry waste: Uncontaminated caged layer dropping is generally high in calcium and phosphorus and contains about 10 to 12 percent true protein. If treated properly it can be included in the diet up to 10 percent without any detrimental effect.

Molasses: May be used to replacing real grains up to 4 to 5 percent of the ration. A higher percentage produces loose excreta because of the high mineral content of molasses.

Small millets: Small millets such as kodon and sawan can be used in place of maize up to 20 percent in the ration. Ragi, kambu and cholam, available in southern India, may also be satisfactorily used to replace maize to an extent of 50 percent.

2. Vegetable Protein Sources

Mustard-cake: It is superior to groundnut-cake in protein quality and lysine content. Its use in poultry ration is limited because of the presence of glycosides and goitrogens. Even after treatment, its use should be limited to 5% in chick and 10% in laying hen diets.

Soybean-meal: Soybean contains about 35 to 40% protein and18 to 21% fat The oil may be removed in several ways. ExpelIer processings of the beans yielded a meal that contained 42% protein and 5% fat. Suitable heat treatment improves the protein quality of the meal. It is a high-quality vegetable protein rich in lysine, arginine, glycine, tryptophan, and cystine. The limiting amino acid is methionine.

Sesame-meal: It is a good source of protein supplement and a good source of arginine, methionine and tryptophan, but poor in lysine, cysteine, and glycine.

Cluster bean: It is a by-product in the manufacture of vegetable gum from the seeds of cluster bean plants. It is rich in protein but its use is limited by residual cluster bean gum and due to the presence of trypsin inhibitor.

Sunflower seed-meal: It is superior to groundnut-meal in nutritive value. But because of high fiber content its use is restricted in poultry rations. Compared to soybean-meal it is richer in methionine and arginine but poor in lysine. It is an excellent source of pantothenic acid and niacin.

Safflower-meal: It is a good substitute to groundnut-cake up to 25 percent level in the ration. Lysine deficiency appears to be one of the main limitations in the total utilization of this cake.

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Ramtil-cake: It can replace satisfactorily up to 50 hand100 percent of groundnut-cake in chicks and layer rations respectively.

Cotton-cake: High in protein content but deficient in lysine. It can be used up to 15 percent as a substitute for groundnut-cake. Continuous use causes yolk mottling on stored eggs due to the presence of gossypol in the cake.

Maize gluten-meal and feed: A by-product of maize starch industry is rich in protein and xanthophylls but deficient in lysine, tryptophan, and arginine.

Linseed-meal: It is a good source of tryptophan but contains cyanogenic glycoside and antipyridoxial factor. It cannot be used more than 5% if not processed. The meal can be rendered non-toxic by boiling.

Penicillin mycelium waste: It is a by-product of the manufacture of penicillin. It is a good protein source and contains some residual antibiotic activity. It can be used at levels of 5 percent in the ration.

3. Animal Protein Sources

Blood-meal: It contains 80 percent protein and is rich in lysine, arginine, methionine, cystine, and leucine, but deficient in isoleucine. The maximum dietary level of inclusion is not greater than 2 to 3 percent due to unpalatability and low biological value of its protein.

Liver residue-meal: It is a good source of lysine, methionine, cystine and tryptophan, and an excellent source of riboflavin, choline andvitaminBi2. It can be satisfactorily used to replace all fish-meal.

Silkworm pupae-meal: Deoiled silkworm pupae-meal is a good protein supplement. Because of high fiber content and poor protein digestibility its use is restricted in poultry rations.

Hatchery byproduct-meal: This consists of infertile eggs, dead embryos, killed chicks, and eggshells collected as waste during hatchery operations, and have been cooked, dried, and grounded with or without removal of part of its fat. It contains approximately 25-34 percent crude protein depending upon the material that goes into its making.

Feather-meal: It contains 80-85percent of crude protein and may be used up to 5 percent level in poultry rations.

Poultry byproduct-meal: It is a product from poultry processing plants, and includes heads, feet, and entrails. It must not contain more than 16 percent ash and no more than traces of feathers. The meal may contain 55 to 60 percent protein and 12 percent fat if not extracted.

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