Poultry feed formulation is both an art and science; a science in the sense that you have get the empirical side right and an art because you need to understand your poultry feed ingredients and use what is locally available. You have to use the right ingredients and mix them in the right proportion.
That requires understanding the nutritional needs of the chickens at every growing stage and then formulating a poultry feed that will meet their growth needs.
The feed formulation should both be accurate and economical so as to help the poultry flock hit their genetic potential of productivity without necessarily stretching your budget.
You need to understand each of the feed ingredients that you will in the feed formulation in terms of their nutritional composition, the nutritional constraints, ease of processing as well as the availability of these poultry feed ingredients in your locality. Poultry feeds account for 70% of the production costs so the economical side of poultry feed formulation must be looked at very closely.
In some cases where a certain raw material is not readily available at an affordable pricing, you will have to substitute it with another. You have to ensure that the raw material that you will be using as a substitute must nutritionally complement the one that you are replacing, otherwise you are going to meet the nutritional needs of your kienyeji chickens or commercial chicken breeds.
Poultry feed formulation is generally a very delicate process. Any slight mistake is going to have a serious impact on the feed utilization and long term productivity of your flock. This can be a serious issue where you have a large flock numbering in their thousands and their yields are going down considerably due to poor quality feeds, while the cost of feeding is remaining largely constant.
In commercial production systems, this will be characterized by decreased egg laying performance along with poor growth and underweight birds.
We have written widely on poultry feed formulation over the years. Please refer to the numerous articles, tips and guides that we have covered in this area:-