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How to make feeds for layers and Kenbro

I have a parcel of land that is close to the lake which supplies cheaper fish meals (ochonga). I can grow maize, soya beans, and sunflower all year round. If I have a miller mixer machine, can you recommend I prepare my own feed for layers? What is the process? Buying commercial feeds is expensive.

[Ogot Ja Saradidi]

Dear Mr Ogot, poultry feed is one of the single most important farm inputs in the production of meat and eggs. For some time now, the feed prices have increased more than six times. For that reason, it makes economic sense for large-scale farmers, like you to make their own feeds. Here are some tips.

Feed formulation

Any good formulation must involve a judicious selection of raw materials or feed ingredients that will supply in adequate amounts the nutrients that a bird requires at every stage of its life. Every raw material has nutritive value, content, or composition and they tend to vary. It helps to know the nutritive value of all the raw materials (maize, fish, sunflower cake, rice germ, cottonseed, soya beans). There is no ‘BEST’ formula in terms of raw materials used, what is important is to select the ingredients based on availability, price, and quality of nutrients. Cereals and fat are rich in energy supply both in amount and costs while oilseed and animal-protein meals are the preferred source of amino acids. Let’s look at the two most important ingredients.

Energy sources (maize, oats, wheat, barley, sorghum, rice bran)

Maize is commonly used in feed formulation for an energy source because it is cheap, readily available, and the best source of metabolisable energy. The use of wheat is limited because of the price and the fact that it cannot give the yellow colour in the chicken meat. Extensive use of wheat's predominant diet may lead to fatty liver and kidney disease in broilers and must be capped at 50 per cent of the cereal grains. 

Protein supplements

Note that many factors will influence the amino acid composition of cereals and protein supplements, it is therefore important to know the composition of these raw materials from proximate analysis tests before coming with a formula. The number of amino acids available to the bird will always be lower than the quantity contained in the raw materials. The available raw material includes cottonseed meal, this must be processed properly to reduce toxicity which causes discoloured egg yolks and poor growth rates in broilers. The total protein content should be in the range of 18-22 per cent in the finished feed. Another popular source is Soybean meal. It should be moderately heated to reduce antinutritive factors like trypsin inhibitor and again not overheated destroying protein quality. If you decide to use animal protein sources like heated blood meal and fish meals, note that fish meal may cause off-flavours in fast-growing meat birds and gizzard erosion and hence poor growth rates.

Minerals & premixes

It’s a mixture of vitamins, trace elements, other feed supplements like methionine, Lysine, and mycotoxin binders. There are layer, broiler, and chick premixes available in the market and must be portioned according to the type of bird and stage of growth. To establish the quality of the feed, have it tested in established labs.

[Dr. Watson Messo, [email protected]]


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