While today poultry farming is a lucrative business worldwide, it too has its own risks especially where food for the same is concerned. Since the yield of the poultry declines with a decline in its health and general well-being, it is extremely necessary to ensure that they are fed properly with stress on their daily requirements of proteins and energy. In poultry farming, thus, success comes from quality feed and a well formulated feeding system.
Nutrients required for poultry feed
Some of the essential nutrients required by the poultry birds for the production of good quality eggs and meat are:
- Water: Water is a very important ingredient of their diet. Lack of water not only hinders them from growing properly, it also results in early moulting of the laying stock thereby minimising the production of eggs.
- Proteins: The growth of a healthy flock of birds depends on the amount of animal protein that they consume. But excess of the same can have a negative impact on their health and well-being. Thus optimum quantities of proteins need to be added to their daily diet. Natural resources like meat meal, liver, milk etc., while being good sources of protein for poultry birds, they are not able to meet the daily requirements and need to be supplemented by the addition of protein concentrates for poultry.
- Carbohydrates: Grains and their products provide the carbohydrates required so that they get their daily dose of energy to keep them active and productive.
- Fats: Even though fats are available in almost all poultry feed ingredients care should be taken to maintain the exact fat ratio required by the birds. Intake of excessive fat contents can lead to indigestion and have an adverse effect on their health.
- Minerals: Poultry birds need minerals in optimum quantity and salt and green foods are a good source of the same. They also require calcium and phosphorous in relatively greater amounts than the rest of the minerals since they contribute to the making of the poultry bones. But an excess of phosphorous can lead to slipped tendons and crooked bones.
- Vitamins: These vital amines play a very crucial role in the proper natural development of the poultry birds. The essentiality and role played by some of the vitamins are:
- Vitamin A which helps to protect the birds against certain infections and colds,
- Vitamin D is required for the prevention of the onset of rickets and leg weakness and is extremely crucial for the growth of the poultry birds,
- Vitamin B complex id needed to bring about an increase in the growth of the poultry flock and also prevents curled toe paralysis which is often seen in young birds but this vitamin should be very carefully added in the required quantities only.
Yellow corn, fish oils, sea fishes, milk, liver, green feed etc., are good sources of these vitamins and should be included in the poultry feed.
Importance of proteins to poultry
Proteins are not only fed naturally to poultry birds but are also given in the form of protein concentrates for poultry. This importance is due to the fact that proteins are a major constituent of many biologically active compounds that are present in the body. Furthermore, it also:
- Helps in the synthesis, rejuvenation and growth of poultry body tissue and
- Plays an important role as hormones and enzymes in the physiological processes taking place within their body.
Hence it is very important to have a thorough knowledge of the amounts of proteins given to individual birds maintained in the poultry. And the correct amount has to be maintained from the time chicks are born so as to assist in their:
- Gut development from the early stages,
- Assist in digestive physiology,
- Help improve growth and
- Increase their natural immunity.
Since poultry birds reared for commercial farming using intensive modern methods feature an intensive growth rate and also need to be highly productive, they need adequate quantities of proteins to sustain them. However, proteins are also extremely expensive to buy yet a very crucial poultry feed ingredient. Thus care should be taken to reduce the wasteful usage of the same and use that optimal amount which is nutritionally and economically viable.
Soybean meal with its well-balanced amino acids is the most preferred type of meal for commercial poultry farming. But being a plant protein, it lacks in a few essential amino acids which need to be supplemented by the use of animal proteins. This helps to bring about a balance in the amino acids in the poultry diet. Of course the need for animal proteins is much more when the birds are young and as they grow old, the amount of animal protein given is gradually reduced and the amount of plant protein is increased.
Proteins are thus a key ingredient in the success of commercial poultry farming since it contributes heavily to the production of healthy and safe chicken meat and eggs. Thus protein concentrates for poultry are very advantageous provided they are administered in the proper dosage.