Experts on animal feed formulation, such as Akingbola A. and Jeffery Alania, have drawn attention to the immense benefits of having the proper know-how on feeds formulation because it has been discovered that only a few feed manufacturers keep to the correct standards in poultry feed formulations in Nigeria. Many make very poor-quality feeds.
This sad situation has resulted in huge losses for poultry farmers arising from slow growth in chickens, low egg production, diseases, as well as death of the chickens. Formulating your poultry feeds on the farm is therefore one of the best ways to maintain quality. It also cuts the cost of production. Depending on the costs of the raw materials, farmers who make their feeds at home save between 30% to 50% for every 70 kg bag of chicken feed, depending on the source of their raw materials.
The piece of good news is that livestock feed materials are available cheaply, especially after the harvesting season. According to Akingbola, “The common feed ingredients are whole maize, cottonseed cake, soybeans, sunflower, or fish meal. Besides, farmers need to add several other feed additives (micronutrients, minerals, and vitamins) to ensure that their chickens have a balanced feed that meets their daily nutrient requirements”.
An additive like dicalcium phosphate (DCP) is mixed with other ingredients in animal feeds. DCP is mainly designed for breeding purposes (cattle and poultry). It strengthens the skeleton and accelerates the animal’s growth. The following are the DCP values for each of the common ingredients used in feed making: whole maize—8.23%, soybeans—45%, fishmeal—55%, maize bran—7%and sunflower—35%.
Each class of chicken has its nutritional requirement. For example, if we want to make feed for layers, the feed should have at least 18% crude protein. Feed ingredients for poultry diets are selected based on a couple of factors such as nutrient content, anti-nutritional factors or toxins, palatability and cost. Business Day.