Formulating Your Own Chicken Feed: 3 Ways to Go About It

Feed cost constitutes over 70% of the total cost of broiler and egg production. So you can gain more profit by minimizing feed cost without jeopardizing feed quality. One way to go about this is by producing your own feed. You can do this in 3 ways depending on your expertise, time and availability of equipment. The 3 ways are discussed below:

Feed milling and feed mixing machines

1. Toll Milling: Here, the farmer pays a commercial feed miller to mill the feed for him. The miller will grind the feed ingredients and mix them using their feed formula or the one you provided. The feed ingredients can either be purchased from the miller or provided by you.

Advantages: You don’t need to own very cost feed milling equipment like grinder, mixer, generator etc. You have some control on the cost and quality of feed ingredients. So if you can get these ingredients at cheap rates, you’ll be making more profit. Best still, you may decide to cultivate some of the feed ingredients yourself.

Disadvantages: The miller might use poor quality feed ingredients and the feed might be contaminated by mycotoxins and other feed contaminants.

2. Custom Mixing: Here, concentrates are used as the foundation stuff for feed formulation. The concentrate already contains most of the necessary nutrients. With some concentrates, all you have to do is to mix in maize and wheat offal to produce your own feed. Custom mixing is more suitable for beginners in small-scale poultry feed production.

There are concentrates for all hen categories. For broilers there are starter and finisher concentrates. For egg layers there are starter, grower and layers concentrates. To produce feed using concentrates, maize and wheat offal are added to the concentrate and mixed. The amount of maize and wheat offal to add is specified by the producer of the concentrate. For example, to produce 1 ton of feed with Animal Care® concentrate, you’ll need 500kg of maize, 300kg of concentrate and 200kg of wheat offal or rice bran. Each bag of Animal Care® concentrate weigh 25kg and the layer concentrate cost about N3,100. A 50kg bag of wheat offal is about N2,500 (Prices as of 2013).

Some type of concentrate will allow the farmer to have control over a wide range of ingredients such as maize, protein cakes, offals, bone meal and limestone.

Advantage: Feed quality is assured if the manufacturer’s mixing instruction is followed. If you can buy maize, wheat offal or any other ingredient at a lower price, your feed will be less costly.

Disadvantage: You still need a milling machine (for the maize) and a mixer here. If you don’t have your own machines, you’ll have to pay feed millers.

3. Complete Feed Formulation: Here, the feed is formulated from scratch using advanced mathematical formula. The service of a nutritionist is required here. The work can be made a lot easier by using feed formulation software.

Advantage: With complete feed formulation, you can make use of unconventional feed ingredients like protein-rich leaf meals, maggot meals etc which are usually cheaper than conventional ones.

Disadvantage: A lot of ingredients are involved and ensuring that all of them are available at the required quantity is a big task. Absence of one ingredient can cause unwanted delay in production.

Some samples of feed formulae can be downloaded here: Download Feed Formulae for Various Farm Animals.

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