When preparing for a new season and considering feed options, Keepers Choice recommend a checklist on several aspects of your feed to ensure birds are grown to be strong, fit and healthy.
How should a keeper choose?
A simplistic choice could be made on lowest price per tonne, but this could be a false economy both in terms of the feed not supplying sufficient nutrients to achieve the aim of maximum number of good quality birds, and a higher intake and use of feed resulting in a greater overall cost.
1. Energy Level
Energy is required by the bird for both maintenance of the body and for growth. Furthermore, energy content of the feed influences feed intake. As energy content increases, feed intake will reduce as the bird meets its energy requirement. This is very important for the value of your feed.
A low energy feed will be cheaper than a higher energy feed, but the birds will eat more, therefore overall feed cost is likely to be higher.
2. Protein Quality
The Crude Protein content of the feed can be achieved in many ways. It is important to have feeds that have been formulated with good quality materials and which achieve the desired levels of digestible amino acids.
If this is not the case, part of the nutrition will be wasted and there will be an energy cost to the bird which could result in increased feed intake without any benefit to the birds – and at greater cost to the keeper.
3. Mineral Nutrition
The feeds need to have targeted levels of Calcium and Phosphorus. For optimum feed quality, the levels of these minerals need to be optimised to meet the needs of the birds. This will result in good skeletal development, giving birds with strong legs and wings.
4. Vitamin Package
A good supply of vitamins is essential to ensure the birds are suitably supported to grow well. Ensuring high levels of vitamins has a multitude of positive effects on the birds. From simply allowing the birds to develop and grow well, through to supporting the immune system and thus keeping the birds healthy.
Again, it’s possible to have cheaper feeds with lower vitamin levels, but overall performance of the birds is likely to be affected, whilst utilisation of the other nutrients in the feed will be reduced.
5. Raw Materials
Whilst most feeds on the market will be broadly similar in terms of the materials used to make up the rations, there will be some areas of differentiation and it is worth looking at material declarations to ensure a good proportion of high quality whole products are used, with an absence of lower quality by-product materials.
6. Physical Quality and Palatability
Although important for birds of all ages, this is particularly important for birds in the first few weeks of life, when intakes are low, a good quality crumb or pellet that is attractive to the bird can help to maximise nutrient intake and drive the bird on.
Making the Right Choice
When making a choice on feed, it is worth looking beyond the headline price and giving some consideration to the quality of the feed. It is important to spend some time reflecting how the feed could benefit the birds and what the overall cost of nutrition is once the intake of feed is considered.
With the price of some feed materials particularly high, subtle changes, for example on energy levels, could save a considerable amount of money, in some diets up to £20.00 per tonne. This is not a route Keepers Choice have gone down or wish to go down. Keepers Choice is formulated to a robust specification and not to a price – this gives confidence and peace of mind to customers and to those on the sales side. A little bit of time spent in this part of the preparation can pay dividends in the season ahead.
Please contact Keepers Choice to discuss your feed requirements on 01508 470661 or email@example.com or head to the website for more information.