What Is The Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) in Poultry?

What Is The Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) in Poultry?

Feed conversion ratio (FCR) is an estimated measure of how well a bird utilizes feed intake to generate live weight. The FCR establishes the relationship between the amount of feed that one chicken eats, and the amount of meat that this chicken produces. This helps in assessing the productive capacity of a given bird strain.

An ideal FCR ranges between 1.5 – 1.6

Calculating The Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR)

The formula for finding how well a bird is utilizing the consumed feed is expressed as:

FCR = Amount of consumed feed eaten ÷ Total Live Weight of Bird

It may well be beneficial to note that there is an inverse relationship between the conversion coefficient and the weight of the chicken. The greater the weight of the chicken, the lower the conversion ratio. Lower FCR values indicate higher efficiency. See example below:

If the chicken ate 4 kg of feed, and then its weight at the end of the cycle became 2kg , this means that the conversion ratio 4 ÷ 2 = 2. This is not an ideal FCR and it suggests that a lot of feed was consumed by the bird only for it to perform slightly below average.

On the other hand, the story is different if a bird consumes 4kg of feed, and gave a weight of 2.5kg. For such a bird the conversion ratio becomes 1.6, and the conversion ratio suggests a more efficient utilization of feed by the respective bird.

A lot of factors are at play in the process of consuming and utilising feed to produce live weight. While every farmer wants a more efficient FCR, below are some factors influencing whether or not a respective farmer will attain the desired FCR.

Factors That Affect The FCR In Poultry

  • Wrong medical treatment of the herd using antibiotics, and this affects the natural flora in the stomach and causes an imbalance in it, causing intestinal diseases.
  • The lack of the correct nutritional balance in the feed, such as an increase in the proportion of protein, or an increase in energy, and this may cause some problems in the liver and kidneys.
  • Use of bad feed, mostly containing difficult to digest materials, and thus causes intestinal problems, which leads to weight loss.
  • Infection of the flock with clostridia, coccidiosis etc.

Feed Quality

  • The use of feed that does not contain an adequate percentage of amino acids and protein, which affects the lack of muscle growth, and leads to the lack of meat formation in poultry properly.
  • Using bad feed that contains a high percentage of fiber, or bran, which may cause the herd to suffer from diarrhea.
  • Not using high-energy feed, especially in winter, causes chickens to lose weight, and that takes a lot of energy for heating, rather than building muscle.
  • Using poor-quality feed that contains a high percentage of fungi, which leads to a decrease in the immunity of the herd, and they suffer from diseases of the liver, kidneys, and intestines.
  • Using unclean water for drinking, or hard water, and not changing it on a daily basis, which will cause disease in the herd.

Management methods

  • Feeding space, feeder height and the provision of good quality feed is important. Water management: the provision of adequate drinking space and a source of clean water is essential. A reduction in water intake will lead to a reduction in feed intake and an increase in FCR.
  • Not using a sufficient number of feeders, which causes the feed to not reach some poultry well, and thus leads to a loss of weight.
  • Using feeds that do not contain the necessary vitamins, nutritional supplements, and minerals, such as the absence of premixes in the feed.

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