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Monday, 4 July 2016


In a simple term nutrition in poultry production and livestock production in general implies the provision of nutrients through feed and water to the birds and other livestock. In this discussion, our focus will be on poultry production.

Nutrition may also involve the development of feed formula and the eventual formulation of animals/poultry feed.



Feed formula? Feed formula is the ratio or proportion in which the feed raw materials or ingredients are to be mixed to provide all the needed feed nutrients in required quantity and quality. This is a specialized and scientific exercise handled by nutrition experts. Feed formula (compounding) literally mans the assemblage and mixing of feed ingredients or raw materials using the ratio or proportions as contained in the feed formula. In this case any person who can understand and read the units on a measuring weight scale can formulate animal feed if given a feed formula.


Nutrition can be right or wrong, that is adequate or inadequate. Right (adequate) nutrition MEANS PROVISION of adequate quantity and quality of feed which contains the required nutrients in a balanced proportion at the right time. Right nutrition requires regularity in feeding time to meet up with the naturally scheduled production process.

Wrong nutrition on the other hand implies feeding inadequate quantity and quality feed which may not contain required nutrient in balance ratio. Also regularity in feeding of good feed is wrong in livestock production because the nutrient may be present when it is not useful in production process. For example if enough albumen is not secreted and deposited on the yolk at the magnum before it leaves the magnum and maybe little quantity of yolk was deposited around the oven after ovulation, small-sized maybe laid by advanced layers.

Underfeeding or starvation will result in stopping of egg production. Inadequate quantity can lead to differential growth and development of chicks and pullets and also boilers. Differences in development and size of laying hens leads to production of many sizes of eggs in a laying flock. Egg colour is not left out. Poor quality feed can produce many egg colours from one breed of birds.


Having discussed the practical feed administration to poultry, it is important to discuss the nutrient and feed requirement of poultry at the ordinary farmers level.

The vital information needed by a poultry farmer on nutrition will be discussed. The nutrient required by birds which their feed must contain includes

1)    Carbohydrate (energy)

2)    Crude protein (amino acid). Ten essential ones include methionine lysine and arginine etc.

3)    Minerals. Ten essential ones include calcium, phosphorus, sodium etc.

4)    Vitamins. Ten essential ones include vitamin A, D3, K, B1 etc.

5)    Water. Water produces oxygen broken down.

Each of the nutrients mentioned above has quantity which the poultry feed should contain. For the time, nature and purpose of this article, published in Agricultural Gist, we shall discuss the carbohydrate (energy) requirement per kilogram feed. The protein and vitamin/mineral requirement will be discussed on percentage basis for every 100% of feed production. Values that are mention here are within recommended range.

The protein and vitamin/mineral requirement will be discussed on percentage basis for every 100% of feed production. Values that are mention here are within recommended range.

Nutrient                   Chick        Growers      Layers      Broilers    Broilers     Turkey    Turkey
                                 mash         mash           mash        starter       finisher      starter     finisher        
Carbohydrate           2810          2700           2700         3000         2950          2900       3200
 (energy)                   Kcal/kg     Kcal/kg      Kcal/kg     Kcal/kg    Kcal/kg     Kcal/kg   Kcal/kg
Crude protein           18-22%     16.5%        16.5%        22-24%    20-22%     28%         18%

Vitamin premix        0.25%        0.25%        0.25%        0.25%      0.25%       0.25%      0.25%

Water: water is provided at all time of feeding


The different poultry mash and their constituent nutrients could be formulated from the following raw material group.

GRAINS (energy food): maize, sorghum, wheat millet etc

GRAINS BY-PRODUCTS (energy food) maize offal (i.e. product of pap production) sorghum offal, rice bran, wheat bran, wheat offal, brewer’s dried grain etc.

ROOT AND TUBERS (energy food), and their by-products: cassava root meal, yam peels, cassava peels potato peels, yam flour sieving etc.

PLANT PROTEIN/OIL SEEDS: soya bean cake or soya bean meal, groundnut cake, palm kernel cake, beniseed meal, cotton seed cake bambara nut offal, African bread fruit, rubber seed cake etc.

ANIMAL PROTEIN ND BY-PRODUCTS: bone meal, meat meal, meat and bone meal, fish meal, oyster shell meal, blood meal.

RAW/CRUDE MINERAL: bone meal, oyster shell meal.

VITAMIN AND MINERAL CONCENTRATE: this is prepared by feed and chemical companies and available at feed raw material shops and feed mills.

POULTRY FEEDING: in this section, Agricultural Gist, an online leading agric website will treat some of the information that was not covered in our earlier discussion under right and wrong nutrition. Simply defined, poultry feeding implies provision of feed and water to birds or chicken.

Poultry mash is prepared and fed to birds according to age and production requirements as follows;

1)    Chicks mash is fed to pullets chickens from 0-8 weeks of age

2)    Growers mash is fed to growing/developing pullets from 9 weeks to unset of laying (about 20 weeks) for economic reasons, growers mash maybe fed up to 4 weeks from unset of laying.

3)    Layer mash is fed to laying hens when laying is properly established

4)    Broiler starter is fed to broiler chicks from0-4 or 6 weeks of age.

5)    Broiler finisher is fed to broilers being prepared for sales from5-7 weeks to table sizes depending on target customers.

6)    Turkey starter mash is fed from 0-8 weeks

7)    Turkey grower is fed from9-20 weeks

8)    Turkey finisher from 20 weeks to curling. Where turkey feed is not available, broiler feed could be used.


Broilers are fed ad-libitum (making feed available at all times of the day). For layers, ad-libitum feeding is done for the first 4 weeks of life. At week 4 hundred pullets will eat 4kg (2 small plastic drinkers) of feed per day. From week 5, the daily ration per hundred birds is increased by ½ kg (4 cigarette cups) every week till the 20th week when the hen must have started laying. From laying, the hen are fed ad-libitum.


Split feeding is recommended to avoid feed waste and encourage feed intake. Two times feeding of the daily ration at 9a.m and 4 pm is recommended with 70% of feed in the morning. Feeding regime in broiler production should be adopted for turkey.

WATER:  water is supplied at all times of the day.

Note: water starvation or shortage is more dangerous than food starvation.


Feeding regime in this discussion refers to how much or quantity of balanced feed to give to each bird from day old to laying which covers  minimum period of 504 days or 72weeks or 18 months before they are culled.

Layers are given three types of feed from day old to laying period as follows;

Chicks starter mash (22% cp) from 1-8 weeks during brooding and early growing stage.

Grower’s mash (17.5% cp) for 8-20 weeks or 22 weeks (unset of laying)

Layer mash (16.5% cp) during laying.

Te quantity of each of the three types /grade of feed mentioned above required and given to the birds increases on weekly basis to meet the desired growth and development needed for good laying.

Any mistake or lapses during the growth phase may not be corrected during the laying period.

Therefore adequate feeding is necessary.

For More Info Call/Whatsapp Mr Ekex @ +2347039482540 or Email @


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