Farm-made Feed for Indian Major Carps


Feed is the major contributor in aquaculture and shares about 50-80% of the total production cost (FAO, 2017). In South Asia mainly three categories of feeding practices are followed in aquaculture. Firstly, the use of industrially produced pelleted feed in intensive culture system; secondly, the use of both industrial as well as farm-made feed mixtures in semi-intensive culture system; and thirdly, the use of farm-made feeds (consisting of a mixture of locally available feed ingredients) in traditional or extensive culture system. In India, generally carps are grown in semi-intensive earthen ponds. Besides this, many of the small and marginal farmers grow carps in back yard ponds that is in extensive system without feed. Many of them are also not aware that fish require feed for growth.

The demand of fish for human consumption is increasing day by day. As the demand is not fulfilled by capture fishery, there is an urgent need to increase the production through the culture fishery. It is found that there is a need to increase the fish production by 3-4 times of present fish production. To achieve the goal of 3-4 times of present fish production growth, at least 70-80% fish should be raised with feeds (Giri, 2017). Keeping in view the high demand of fish, feed based aquaculture is the only solution to overcome the problem.  

Feeding practice as perceived by the farmers:

Feed has got a significant impact on the quality, safety and nutritional value of farmed fish. The feed requirements of fish vary in quantity and quality according to the feeding habits, physiological stages of the species and environmental variations viz., temperature; amount and type of natural food availability in the culture system.

There are three factors to consider in the choice of feed ingredients for aquafeeds, (i) quality - nutrient composition and presence of any anti-nutrients (substances that interfere directly with the absorption of nutrients or contaminants); (ii) quantity – quantum of availability; and (iii) price of ingredients. Also, the other challenges of fish feed management are feed formulation, feed processing, storage, handling and transport.

Carps are omnivorous in feeding habit. Feeding practices for IMC can be divided into three parts. (i) The natural feed: Pond preparation by using Mohua oil cake and lime is very essential to fulfill the requirement of plankton production in pond. Mohua oil cake is essential as it eradicates the weed fishes first but after that it is used as pond manure which helps to produce plankton in fish pond. Apart from using as a fertilizer lime also provides calcium which is very important to fish. Apart from Mohua oil cake and lime there are so many other manures and fertilizers are added to the pond for the production of the natural food. For example, raw cow dung, poultry manure etc. are using as manure and single super phosphate, urea etc. are using as fertilizer.

Majority of the micronutrients get available from the pond. (ii) Farm-made feed: Farmers in our country uses farm-made feed by using ingredients that are available locally to feed IMC. The ingredients that are used by the farmers are discussed below. (iii) Supplementary feed: Along with the farm-made feed, farmers also provide supplementary feed to the ponds to fulfill the nutritional requirements of fishes. The ratio of far-made feed and supplementary feed is about 70:30. Usually, farm-made feeding is done in the morning and supplementary feeding is done in the evening.   

Preparing farm-made feed with locally available ingredients
Preparing farm-made feed with locally available ingredients

Feed ingredients used in farm-made feed:

Feed ingredients sources that are used by the farmers in most of the farms are mustard oil cake, ground nut oil cake, soybean cake meal as protein source. Cereals like rice bran, wheat and its by-product, maize, boiled rice, broken rice and other millets are used as energy source. Some non-conventional feed ingredients used are meat meal, guar gum, poultry by-products etc. Some vegetable oils such as groundnut oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, mustard oil, soybean oil, soy lecithin, palm oil and, of late, rice bran oil are also used as feed ingredients that cater to dietary fat requirements. It is to be noted that, the proportion of ingredients in the feed changes with the changing environment and fish health condition. Hatchery owners also use chick-pea, jaggery, salt etc. as feed ingredients of brooder fishes.    

Mustard oil cake used as a feed ingredient
Mustard oil cake used as a feed ingredient


Farm made feeds are an ad hoc concept for start-ups in aquaculture, where the volume of feed requirement is small and resources and funds are limiting. Farm-made feed is not only cost effective, but can also judiciously make use of available feed ingredients and generate employment and livelihoods. Through farm-made feed omega-3 enriched carps could be produced. The “Fish Feeds” outreach activity provided ample opportunities for research and extension activities towards improving fish production and sustainability by adopting multidisciplinary research in a network mode by the participating institutes with the cooperation of aqua-farmers and feed manufacturers.


  1. FAO, 2017. FAO Aquaculture News Letter, No. 56, April, 2017.
  2. Giri, S. S. 2017. Farm-Made Feeds for Sustainable Aquaculture Development: A South Asian Perspective.

Writers Details:

Soumili Das1, Satarupa Ghosh2 and Prasanna Pal3

1Soumili Das, Ph.D. Scholar, Department of Fishery Extension, Faculty of Fishery Sciences, West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences, Chakgaria, Kolkata-700094, email id- soumili.ext@gmail.com Mob +918240627026

2Satarupa Ghosh, Ph.D. Scholar, Department of Aquatic Environment Management, Faculty of Fishery Sciences, West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences, Chakgaria, Kolkata-700094, email id- satarupasonaibfsc07@gmail.com Mob +919163244104

3Prasanna Pal, Ph.D. Scholar, Animal Physiology Division, ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, Haryana-132001, email id- drpalprasanna@gmail.com Mob +918759512394

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