How To Improve Feed Conversion Ratio In Poultry

How To Improve Feed Conversion Ratio In Poultry

In poultry production, the Feed Conversion Ratio(FCR)  an estimated measure of how well a bird utilities feed intake to generate live weight. While the ideal FCR should hover around 1.6 and below but there are instances where a given flock might have a higher FCR thus suggesting poor feed conversion. In such a situation there are various ways a farmer may explore in order to have an improved FCR. Major area of focus in this regard will be to balance the ratio between energy and amino acids, and (or) by improving nutrient digestibility among many others. In this article we share some of the basic steps to take so as to ensure your broilers make the most out of the feed they consume.

Always Keep A Healthy Flock

Sick birds do not grow, and consequently they have a disappointing FCR. Maintaining a good health profile of your flock is beneficial because in sick birds most of the nutrients consumed will be directed towards fighting off the given disease. On the contrary,healthy birds direct all the energy consumed towards the development of muscle proteins, which results in gradual increase in body weight. All in all, poultry diseases may well be labelled as the most devastating ‘robbers’ of FCR points. The situation becomes worse if such diseases are ignored or go unnoticed.

Monitor Feed Quality

The FCR is often negatively impacted by the quality of feed given to the respective bird. While in most cases, quality may be defined by the balance between energy nutrients and amino acids feed may also become contaminated without you noticing it. There are instances where feed may develop molds which tend to dilute valuable nutrients and produce mycotoxins as by products. In such instances the feed will become toxic and unpalatable thus affecting how the feed will be digested and converted into meat.

Uncleaned storage bins and feeder pans have a greater chance of contaminating feed with molds. There are instances where these mold may develop as a result of higher relative humid and warm environmental temperatures. Hence it is highly advisable inspect the quality of feed when you notice a poor FCR. Some farmers may opt to adding a mycotoxin binder and a mold inhibitor to help curb the development and subsequent spread of molds in feed.

Avoid Feed Spillage And Wastage By Using Proper Feeders

In some cases poor feeding equipment result in excessive feed wastage thus reducing the actual amount of feed that gets ingested by the birds. Farmers are urged to avoid purchasing cheap feeding equipment in favour of cutting production costs. Cheaper feeders are often less efficient in the long-term.

Feed may also be wasted as a result of poor placement within the growing house. Birds should never have a crowded fight to eat nor should they be bored by attempting to reach for feed. Hence ensure that feeders are properly installed and managed to allow for a sufficient number of birds/feeder and the cleaning process. Feed efficiency is immensely enhanced if these factors are attended to promptly.

Monitor Your Light Management Program

Birds should never be exposed to 24 hours of lighting, they continue to eat and never have time to allow for a complete digestion of ingested feed. Farmers may adopt a 1(one) hour light and 1(one) hour darkness program as a means to stimulate feed digestion as the birds rest in darkness. This has a tremendous potential to improves feed efficiency as birds will have more time to process ingested feed without walk aimlessly throughout the day.

A well controlled lighting program also requires that all the birds in the flock have easy access to feed when they have the time to “refill” during light hours. To achieve this farmers must careful allocate and place their feeder to allow for this. Further to this, they should be constantly monitoring the feeder height and ensure that birds can access feed without much of a struggle. Feeders should always be placed at a the same level with the back height of the birds.

Monitor Proper Body Weight Development Towards Marketing Age

For birds to be sold on the open market, feed efficiency is compromised with each day the birds continue to grow outside their target age. Usually at 5-6 weeks of age birds would have accumulated a greater body mass and this requires both energy and amino acids to maintain each day. It is thus advisable that birds should be cleared off as soon as they reach target weight and also establish early if you will reach the target weight within the desired time frame. However, there instances where birds reach market age but fail to meet the desired weight. To avoid this, it is advisable to constantly monitor how birds are performing in terms of muscle development and weight gain. Where results suggest otherwise early on, you should put in place proper contingency measure that will guard against incurring loses.

The above are some of the factors to consider when seeking out ways to improve the FCR of your poultry. Remember, feed takes up a huge chunk of all costs associated with broiler production hence every possible effort should be put in place to ensure that it is utilized efficiently.

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