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close this bookThe Intensive Poultry Farming Industry in the Sahelian Zone (CDI, 1996, 56 p.)
close this folder2.3. Feed manufacturing
View the document2.3.1. Balanced feeding
View the document2.3.2. Raw materials
View the document2.3.3. The feed milling plant
View the document2.3.4. Quality Control

2.3.1. Balanced feeding

In view of the fact that feed accounts for more than 60% of poultry production costs, birds should be provided with high quality feed.

Purposes of feeding

- Covering the maintenance and production requirements of birds in energy, protein (amino acids: lysine, methionine and threonine), minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium), vitamins and trace elements (iron, copper, zinc, cobalt, manganese, iodine, selenium) so as to optimize production levels at the lowest possible cost.

- The smaller the feed conversion rate (FCR), the more effective the feed.

- Balanced feeding not only makes it possible to achieve high performance in production, it also makes a great contribution to the health of the birds enabling them to better defend themselves naturally against diseases and aggression of all types, especially heat stroke.


It is always more advantageous to pay more for quality feed than to devote one's financial resources to pharmaceutical remedies to help the stock to combat diseases which they might not have contracted if they had been well nourished.

- Eliminate the causes of under-feeding as much as possible, as they reduce birds performance.

· Poultryman forgetting to fill feeders and/or drinkers.
· Inadequate numbers of feeders and/or drinkers.
· Heat stroke
· Defective environmental conditions (insufficient ventilation, excessive birds density)
· Diseases
· During vaccination.

- Do not order your feed at the last minute.

- Keep a record of the date of order, the quantity and type of feed ordered as well as the delivery date and price.

- Check that the type and quantity of feed is what you ordered.

- If you have poultry of different ages in your unit, make sure that the feed is correctly distributed, with no mix-up.

- Feeds should be kept in a safe place under cover; do not pile up new lots on old, as the latter might get out of date. The maximum storage period is two months from the date of manufacture.

- Watch out for rodents and other pests which are not only responsible for wastage but can also contaminate your unit with their droppings.

- Watch out also for theft of feed which will greatly depress your feed conversion rate and your profitability.




Buying or preparing feed

Poultry farmers have two options: either they buy feed from a local manufacturer (or dealer) or they prepare it themselves. The ideal solution is the first insofar as the farmer is able to get supplies from a manufacturer (or dealer) enjoying a reputation for quality and reliability amongst farmers.

Enquiries with a few other poultry farmers operating on a reasonably large scale will usually establish the reputation of any given manufacturer.

It can happen that the farmer has to make up feed for his birds himself, such as when there is no reliable manufacturer in the region or the manufacturer is reliable but, holding a monopoly, he sells his feed at a price the farmer considers prohibitive in relation to the cost of raw materials.

Expected Feed consumption Table





- Broiler

0-2 weeks


0.350 kg

3-4 weeks


0.850 kg

5-8 weeks


3.010 kg

Total consumption at 56 days (about 2 kg live weight)

4.210 kg

- Pullet

0-8 weeks


1.800 kg

9-20 weeks


6.100 kg

Total consumption at 20 weeks

7.900 kg

- Layers (52 week laying cycle)

· Light layer

40.000 kg

· Middleweight layer

44.000 kg

· Heavy layer breeder

50.000 kg

These figures are likely to vary depending on the composition of the feed and environmental conditions.

In practice it will be noted that to finish a broiler, 4 kg of feed and 7-9 litres of water will be required; to finish a pullet, the requirement will be 8 kg of feed and 18 to 20 litres of water; finally, a layer's intake will be about 40 kg of feed and 100 to 115 litres of water.

We should remember that manuals published by breed producers provide tables giving the average daily water and feed consumption depending on the age of the poultry. These tables are very useful for the purpose of mass medication, such treatment usually being given in drinking water over a period of several days, as advised by the vet.

Drinking water

Vital to the bird's metabolism, drinking water must be of good quality. It must meet physical, chemical and bacteriological requirements. Water distributed to poultry must be fresh and not stagnate for hours in dirty, overheated drinkers. This is why distribution of running water with the addition of a nipple system is the most effective method of supplying drinking water. Water consumption rises with ambient temperature; it may be double or triple that of feed, depending on ambient temperature.

The chemical composition of drinking water must meet standard criteria. Water may be brackish (with plenty of chlorides), sulphurous (plenty of sulphate ions), hard (plenty of calcium and magnesium ions), etc. In some cases, the animal nutritionist must bear in mind the particularities of the drinking water when considering mineral supplementation.

The water must be clean in bacteriological terms. Wells are frequently contaminated by bacterial agents of the colon bacillus, salmonella or other type coming from the underground infiltration of animal or human excreta and this can mean that some units are doomed to permanent failure simply because the drinking water is unfit for consumption.

Before setting up a poultry unit on a site supplied by one or several wells, it is advisable to have the water analyzed by a laboratory competent to conduct this type of analysis. A favourable report does not obviate the need for regular testing (perhaps once a year) to check water quality.