Avoiding Feed Wastage

Do you know that birds can waste a lot of feed? Your carelessness can also contribute to that. Below are some helpful tips that will help you avoid this costly wastage:

  1. Debeaking: Debeaking or beak trimming has to do with cutting off the sharp points of the lower and upper beak. It helps to prevent cannibalism, feather pulling and feed wastage. Un-debeaked birds can waste 5 times the feed debeaked birds will waste.

Debeaking is a delicate operation that must be done by trained operators. Error can result in birds having difficulties with eating and drinking. This will eventually lead to unevenness in the flock (lack of uniformity).

  1. Use the right feeder: In both round and straight feeders, feed wastage can be prevented by:
  • Using feeders that have a lip (see Fig below)
  • ensuring that the feeder is not more than 1/3-1/2 full
  • Feeder depth should be at least 7cm deep.
  • Hanging the feeder so that the base is at the same level as the bird’s back (see diagram below).
Feeder raised to avoid feed wastage

Fig 1: Hang the feeder so that the base is at the same level as the bird’s back Source:(Aviagen Limited, 2002) P. 86

A lip catches spilled feed and directs them back into the feeder. As the birds grow, continue to adjust the feeders’ height so that the base coincides with the bird’s back level.

A straight feeder with lip and a rotating stick

Fig 2: A straight feeder with lip and a rotating stick Source:(N. van Eekeren, A. Maas, H.W. Saatkamp, & M. Verschu, 2006) P. 23

For straight feeders like the ones shown above, a rotating stick above the feeder will prevent the birds from perching on the feeder and contaminating the feed with droppings.

Hanging round feeder

Fig 3: Source:(N. van Eekeren, A. Maas, H.W. Saatkamp, & M. Verschu, 2006)P. 25

  1. Get Rid of Rats: In a year, a rat can eat 12kg of feed and waste 3 times as much. They also spread diseases. So make sure your feed store and poultry house are rat proof. Place mechanical traps at strategic positions to catch them.
  2. Don’t Overfeed: Over feeding is not a good thing because it can make the birds fat and unhealthy. This is true especially for laying hens. A fat hen is a poor layer. To prevent over feeding, you can use a feeding chart as a guide. The chart will show you how much to feed base on age. You can find a sample guide for Isa brown and Hyline layers here. You mustn’t follow the chart exactly because it’s just a guide.

Feeding Space Requirement

To minimize difference in growth rate and body weight, ensure that all the birds can eat at the same time by providing enough feeders. The number of feeders needed depend on the type of feeder and the age of the birds. The table below shows the feeding space requirement for different birds and feeders. You can work out the number of feeders you’ll need from the data the table provide.

Feeder space requirement for straight and round feeders

Fig: 4 Source:(N. van Eekeren, A. Maas, H.W. Saatkamp, & M. Verschu, 2006)P.24



Works Cited

  1. Aviagen Limited. Download Ross_Broiler_Manual_09.pdf. Aviagen.com. [Online] Nov. 2002. http://en.aviagen.com/assets/Tech_Center/Ross_Broiler_Manual_09.pdf.
  2. N. van Eekeren, et al. Downlad AD4.pdf. Journeytoforever.org. [Online] 2006. http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/AD4.pdf. Agromisa: 90-8573-069-4.
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2 comments to Avoiding Feed Wastage

  • How debeaking chicks minimizes feed wastage. Can someone explain this I dont understand.

    • FarmersJoint

      Debeaked birds won’t waste much feed because they no longer have full control of their beak. Rather, you will see them gulping feed like turkeys. Unbeaked birds will try to select specific ingredients from the feed mix. You will see them throwing the feed left and right in search for it. That’s much explanation I can give. I hope it help.

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