Agripedia

HOW and WHAT to FEED CHICKENS with

Feeding forms one of the most important aspects of poultry farming. There are many dangerous poultry diseases which are the direct outcome of faulty methods of poultry feeding. Balanced feeding not only keeps the birds immune to various diseases but also enhances their productivity. Therefore, to make poultry farming a lucrative venture, proper understanding of poultry feeding is essential.

Profitability in poultry farming normally depends on three important factors namely:

 (i) a good breed
 (ii) a balanced diet and
 (iii) an efficient management

Feed represents about 70% of the total cost of egg production and 55% of the cost of broiler production. Therefore, efficiency in feeding is one of the key factors for successful poultry production.

A sound feeding program during the rearing of poultry is essential for the production of high quality chicks without much mortality.

How much Quantity to be fed ? [ age –wise ]

Quantity of the mixed ration to be fed depends upon the age groups of poultry.\

ALSO READ : WHY CHICKENS LOSE WEIGHT 

For the chicks of 0-2 weeks :

= Finely broken rice or other small grains or bread crumbs are given as the first feed.

= Skimmed milk or butter milk should be supplied for drinking instead of plain water all the time.

= After a week, chick mash is introduced which is specially prepared with finely broken grains of rice, ragi, cambu, wheat or maize, with aquatic quantities of vitamins, minerals, antibiotic feed supplements and coccidiostat.

After 2 weeks :

= The quantity of chick feed is increased gradually. After 6 weeks, wet mash is introduced along with succulent, well chopped greens like Lucern.

= Some onions and garlic well chopped may also be included.

The quantity required of chick will vary from 10 g to 50 g per chick according to their age (0-8 weeks).

After 8 weeks :

= The chick mash must be gradually substituted by grower mash, enriched with vitamins and minerals including all the essential nutrients for healthy growth at an economical cost. Quantity fed varies from 50 to 80 g per grower per day, according to age (8-20 weeks).

= At about 18th week, specially prepared layer mash fully vitaminised and mineralised is introduced. Plenty of well chopped greens and water is also provided.

= Feeding pellets instead of mash will prove more economical and neat. 80-200 g per bird per day is fed to the bird, depending on its body weight and production capacity.

Proper timing of feeding the chickens ?

Regularity of feeding is also important as the birds will soon learn and expect to have their feed in the punctual time, if they are in good health.

The chicks are fed 5 to 6 times a day in small quantities upto 8 weeks of age.

For the backyard units, the birds should preferably be let out early in the morning (just before sunrise) after providing them with clean drinking water. A little later, some grains about 15 g per bird can be thrown out for the birds to pick. Just before noon, some greens or vegetable pruning or kitchen trimmings can be fed, well chopped and mixed with mash.

Late in the evening, some more grains similar to the early morning feed can be given. This will tempt all birds to return to their right shelter after the day's roaming.

These timings can be changed to suit the individual farmers, but regularity is important in order to train the birds to adjust to these timings.

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