Kelly Akpomedaye
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Alternative feed for broiler chickens, what could be your reason for considering it?

Among several reasons, the major reason for most farmers is to minimize cost of production.

As it is, about 70% of production cost goes into purchasing poultry feed to feed the chickens and with this comes the desire to purchase quality feed that will give you the desired weight and size in the birds you are raising.

alternative feed for broiler chickens

And quality of feed here means that each feed you give to the chicks at different stages of their lives should contain the right requirement of nutrients that the chicks need to grow and perform well.

It is a well-known fact that the cost of poultry feed has more than doubled since 2020 the era of the pandemic. The cost of one bag of broiler feed as at the time of writing this article, is in the range of 7,000 naira and 8,500 naira.

Therefore, the reason why farmers are looking for an alternative feed for broiler chickens, there is a strong need to find cheaper ways to minimize cost so that farmers can maximize profit (make more money per production cycle)

So how can farmers do this

There are two ways farmers can implement alternative feed for broiler chickens:

One way is for farmers to formulate their own feed and the other is to go the route of alternative feeding.

Feed formulation or compounding:

In regards to farmers formulating their own feed I have discovered that the  cost of formulating your own feed is not so different from the cost of purchasing a commercial branded feed.

There are some obvious advantages to formulating your own feed if you can get the formulation right such as better performance from your chicks also the 200, 500 or maybe even 1,000 naira difference per bag could speak volume to your profitability when combine with an excellent performance on your chicks size and weight.

However, if you don’t get it right you will wish you had bought the commercial feed instead.

I could recommend feed formulation if you are into small scale broiler farming, but you must have a good formulation plan if not just go for the commercial feed.

Large scale farmers prefer to go with trusted commercial brand however some do engage a mix of commercial feed and compounding their own feed so as to reduce cost as the case may be.

We at our farmsocio.com/Redorion Agribusiness School are working on a feed formulation plan as well. Once we have been able to test it we will let you our esteemed subscribers know about it.

So, keep your fingers crossed.

Alternative to maize in poultry feed via fermentation:

alternative feed for broiler chickens
A worker holds up fly larvae waiting to be harvested at the AgriProtein project farm near Cape Town, in 2014. Mike Hutchings—Reuters (Source: https://time.com/3825158/farming-flies-south-africa/)

The reason for alternative feeding is same with the reason for compounding which is to reduce cost as well in order to maximize profit but in this case, you make use of plant materials such as grains, rice, rice bran, wheat etc. and you let them undergo a fermentation process.

Another example is growing lava worms from black flies to feed your chicks. I personally don’t know any big farms or any farm in Nigeria doing this at the moment.

Such experiments are taking place in other parts of Africa like in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda and mostly among small scale farmers. However, there is very little research to back their efficacy in chick’s performance.

Also, you have to factor in how consistent you can be in ensuring that your farm capacity (your chicks) gets a daily supply of such alternative feed assuming that you have been able to confirm the result you will get when your chicks feed on them.

Should you experiment with feeding in poultry?

Alternative feed for broiler chickens is basically experimental at the moment mostly because there is no way for you to tell the exact nutrient and calories your chicks are getting from consuming these alternative feeds and how those micro nutrients are affecting their growth rate and performance. Unless you have more than enough working capital, grit for experimentation and are working with an animal nutritionist you can’t just experiment.

One of the key things, poultry farmers look out for when feeding chicks is the feed conversion ratio or FCR and we need that to be on point for maximum profitability.

So basically, you don’t want to feed your chick on feeds that you are not sure of the result you are going to get. When you are starting out as a beginner farmer, experimenting should be the farthest thing in your mind.

That is my advice to you.

You need to grow your business, make some money before you think of experimenting.

Alternative feeding shows promise in cutting cost and in giving chicks the required nutrient they need for growth, however, there is very little research to back it efficacy and consistency in chick’s performance and in business bottom-line.

We hope you have enjoyed the article or found it useful, kindly leave a comment using the comment box below. We would love to hear your thoughts or suggestions.

I am placing a link here to a video on Broiler Chicken Feed Alternatives for Homesteaders.

Also, kindly look out for our feed formulation plan which would be available soonest.

Categories: Poultry

Kelly Akpomedaye

Kelly is an entrepreneur, farmer, digital marketer, writer and founder of Farmsocio.com

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