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Planning to go big scale? Get it right with feed mill

By Dr Watson Messo
Farm chicken in a barn, eating from an automatic feeder. Animal abuse, living in captivity, food production and industry concept.

Three weeks ago, on October 11, we celebrated World Egg Day in Thika town. Why was Thika town picked to host the event this year?

I guess most of the layer poultry producers are in this region and equally true most of the feed mills are found here. As small farms fold, large farms are emerging, completely equipped with a feed mill and a fleet of transport to distribute any excess feed production to nearby depots.

One farmer in the region asked me to talk about feed mill cleaning and sanitation and why it is important to put this programme in place for all millers to adhere to. Today, I will talk about this critical aspect: 

Feed mill design

A good feed mill unit must have a receiving area for raw materials, processing area and a store for finished products. A completely separated room for feed additives like premixes and minerals is also neccessary.

This will make it easy during cleaning and sanitation as the operations continue undisturbed. These segments must be sealed, with good air filters, dust collectors and must also be rodent and bird-proof.

The roof should be leak-proof while the walls and floor should be made of continuous material with no cracks. These should be cleaned every week and kept dust-free.

Selection of raw material

Some people think second grade or rejected raw materials are a preserve for animals. Far from it. Animals equally perform best if they are given first grade ingredients.

Select the best raw materials with no traces of mould, with low moisture content (less than 12 per cent), no discolouration, avoid rotten or smelly materials. Given that maize is the bulk of raw materials, ensure it is tested for mycotoxin levels.

All materials should be off-loaded and spread on the floor for inspection and only clean materials can be allowed to be bagged again for storage in new gunny bags.

Storage of raw materials/ingredients

The store should be thoroughly cleaned once a week with a suitable 7.5 per cent Glutaraldehyde + 4 per cent formaldehyde disinfectant and allowed to dry.

Raw materials in clean or new gunny bags must be placed on top of pallets and kept one meter away from the walls to enable proper cleaning.

Pests must be excluded using polythene bags or appropriate and approved pesticides. The room must be properly ventilated with strategic rodent baits placed along the walls on the floor and checked every week for rat activity. All unused stock must be removed and disposed of-site.

Feed mill area

This is the most critical area in the plant as all raw materials, finished products, premixes and other additives interact with each other during milling.

Once per week or as frequently as possible the machines can be switched off and the rotating parts cleaned and sanitised regularly to avoid clogging with oil and dust.

To do this, use wet cloth immersed in 12.5 per cent Glutaraldehyde. Internal working spaces must be dusted and removed.

Watch out for rodents and their feacal dropping to avoid any contamination. Once in a week, fumigate the entire rooms using 7.5 per cent Glutaraldehyde at 1 liter/1000 cft.

Feed mill management

The external surrounding should be cleared of vegetation and debris while workers should be provided with showering facilities and clean clothes and foot wear.

You must put in a good rodent baiting programme and building must be bird proof. Finally, train all workers on bio-security and basic food safety measures.

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