Mixing our own feeds using conventional ingredients in the Philippines
For those trying to make sense of prices - 1USD - 44PHP
Not long after our first chickens, I became aware of the disparity in the cost of raw ingredients versus complete feeds. We have a company , D'Jade Marketing, in Bacolod that has a delivery route to all the small feed suppliers and agrivets in Negros Occidental. They offered free delivery of all their feeds and ingredients. This was a great service as we are over 100km from Bacolod and local prices are quite high.
I have a human healthcare background and used my limited knowledge as a base for researching the nutritional requirements of various animals. I looked at hundreds of articles and papers on the net. I then spoke to D'Jade and found out what was available to develop the CocoPoultryFarm feed recipes.
The website Feedipedia. org has an amazing amount of information on the nutritional content of most ingredients. It discusses advantages and limitations of ingredients and was invaluable in setting up ratios of various ingredients.
Things I have learned (and mistakes I have made) along the way have brought us to where we are now. We are confident that we are supplying good nutrition to all our animals.
The most important thing to understand about mixing your own feeds is that if you do it incorrectly, you will get poor results. This may be seen as low egg production, poor pig growth or even death of animals. My tables in this essay show a few nutritional needs but the list is much longer. What I have found though, is if I keep within the limits of each feed type and balance the needs listed, I meet all the other requirements.
Before I talk about feed any further, we need to understand water. Water is critical. Water requirements are related to feed consumption and to the air temperature. Without adequate water, animals simply eat less.
Poultry are unable to sweat as a means of regulating body temperature. Their method of heat control involves increasing the respiratory rate (panting) to expel surplus heat, which results in the release of large amounts of moisture from the bird that must be replaced or the bird will become dehydrated. They will consume 12% more water with each degree centigrade above 30C.
A weaned piglet will consume 2 liters per day where a lactating sow can drink as much as 22 liters per day.
Water quality is important to consider as it can have an impact on the volume of water consumed. Foul odors or tastes, for example, may discourage animals from drinking. Depending on the cause, poor water quality can affect herd health, possibly leading to animal death and economic loss to the producer.
Assess water quality at both the point of use and the source. The contamination of watering devices by dust, spilled feed and fecal matter can lead to the growth of slime. Eventually slime organisms die and decay, creating foul odor and/or tastes.
Fresh, clean water in adequate volumes is imperative.
The ingredients - some of which I discus in great detail and others just a quick summary.
Corn Meal (We buy Tahop de Oro brand from CDO through DJade)
The maize grain is a major feed grain and a standard component of livestock diets where it is used as a source of energy. Other grains are typically compared to maize when their nutritional value is estimated. Maize grain is palatable and suitable for all livestock. It is the most valuable energy source among cereals. It has a high starch content (about 65%), about 4% oil and a low fiber content (10% NDF)
In poultry, maize is appreciated for its highly digestible starch, low fiber and relatively high oil content, resulting in high metabolizable energy values. It is fed at high levels in broilers and laying hens. Maize oil is a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic acid). In poultry, white and yellow maize have equivalent energy, protein and mineral. Yellow maize contains more carotene and cryptoxanthin which are beneficial to yolk pigmentation.
It is of utmost value for growing and fattening pigs, for sows and breeding stock, provided that its protein, vitamin and mineral deficiencies are counterbalanced by appropriate feed supplements (with proteins able to correct the amino acid imbalances of the maize).
Maize grain can be fed whole or ground to pigs. If ground, medium-sized particles will be preferred. Yellow maize contains poly-unsaturated fatty acids and may cause soft fat in pigs as well as yellower fat (due to cryptoxanthin) that may be considered undesirable
Rice bran is a good source of B vitamins and is fairly palatable to farm animals. The oil has a marked softening effect on body fat and on the butterfat in milk. With attention to the oil content, rice bran is a valuable feed for all classes of livestock. The oil in full-fat rice bran can become rancid during storage due to the presence of a lipolytic enzyme that becomes active when the bran is separated from the rice. Rancidity rapidly increases the free fatty acid content. It is important to use as fresh as possible a product.
Because of its chemical composition and particularly high lysine and methionine content, full-fat rice bran is often used as a basal diet in pigs. Recommended inclusion levels of full-fat rice bran range from 22% to 60%.
Recommended inclusion levels for full-fat rice bran in laying hen diets range from 7.5% to 40%.
Goats, particularly castrated male goats are susceptible to kidney stones. The high Phosphorous content in rice bran concerns us and we do not use it in our goat feed supplement. High phosphorous levels can be offset in most animals by providing a correct Calciumhoshorous ratio. Ensuring a correct salt content will also ensure adequate hydration and will flush out any residue but we like to play it safe, We lost a Nubian buck to kidney stones.
Copra meal is a common feed ingredient, particularly for ruminants. Its crude protein content is 20-25% of dry matter (DM) with relatively high quantities of cell wall constituents (NDF more than 50% DM, ADF about 30% DM). Its cost relative to protein content is excellent but requires amino acid supplementation from soy and or fishmeal inclusion.
Its nutritive value is inferior to that of the other major oil meals, notably soybean meal, groundnut meal and cottonseed meal. Unlike those by-products, copra meal is often obtained from mechanical extraction only and its oil content is generally quite high
A particularity of copra meal is its high non-starch polysaccharides content, and notably its levels of mannan and galactomannan (25-30%), which are known to have antinutritional properties in monogastric species.
Copra meal can absorb up to half its own weight of molasses, which can be a useful property in compound feed manufacturing
Copra meal is poor in essential amino acids, notably lysine and sulfur amino acids. Lysine may be partly destroyed by the heating during oil extraction. Amino acid supplementation may therefore be required and can be achieved by using high value feed ingredients such as fish meal and soy meal.
The high oil content of copra meal renders it susceptible to rancidity and the product should not be used after prolonged storage. Rancidity makes copra meal unpalatable and animals can start rejecting it even when there are no obvious signs of the rancidity
Copra meal is a valuable feed for ruminants and can be used as a protein supplement for grass-fed animals, either alone or in combination with other protein sources. While theoretically inferior to other common oil meals due to its lower protein content, it is often a better feed resource than other local products such as cocoa by-products. It is as effective as cottonseed meal for growth performance despite having half of the protein content, suggesting that the protein quality of copra meal has a higher biological value than that of cottonseed meal.
Copra meal is often used as a protein supplement for grass-fed goats. Supplements containing up to 75% copra meal have been used successfully in goats fed Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum). Furthermore, supplementary diets consisting of 50% copra meal and 50% leucaena (ipil-ipil) hay increased daily gain and diet digestibility.
Copra meal may be an economical and valuable local feed for pigs that can be used to partially replace costly imported feeds such as soybean meal. However, the high fiber content of copra meal restricts its use in pig feeding. The slow rate of passage of fiber through the digestive tract results in decreased feed intake, lower availability of organic matter, protein and energy in the diet and poorer growth performance.
The low concentration of essential amino acids, combined with the depressing effect on amino acid digestibility, makes amino acid supplementation necessary (particularly lysine, methionine+cystine and threonine) if high levels of copra meal are to be. Maximum recommended inclusion levels are about 20-25% of the diet, but optimum should be nearer 10%. This level of inclusion yielded a gain of 500 g/d in growing pigs in a Tanzanian study.
Inclusion rates higher than 50% depress the feed conversion ratio, but if growth performance at such rates is considered acceptable, the low cost of copra meal may decrease the cost per kg live weight. Feeding pigs on copra meal has no deleterious effect on meat quality parameters such as fatty acids or dressing percentages. It also produces firm fat in pigs
Copra meal can be a valuable raw material in poultry diets, because of its availability at relatively low cost in some contexts. The amino-acid profile is not optimal for poultry due to a relative lack of lysine and sulfur amino-acids. The energy value of copra meal is low because of the high fibre content though it can be increased by the high content of residual oil in expeller meals. Energy values can be estimated by combining the values of defatted copra meal and copra oil. There appears to be a difference between the ME value of copra meal for young chicks, and for older birds and hens.
The low feeding value in poultry is also partly due to physical properties of copra meal. The high water holding capacity and bulk tend to decrease intake, particularly in young animals. There is a significant effect of copra meal on the DM content of excreta. This can be a problem for both sanitation and quality of poultry litter.
For optimal performance in broilers, copra meal should be limited to 10% of the diet, with no more than 5% in the diets of young animals. Copra meal can be used efficiently in layer diets. In layers, it can be recommended to limit incorporation to 15%.
We buy copra meal directly from the Dumaguete Copra Mill. This way we ensure we are getting the freshest product at a reasonable price.
Fish meal is obtained by cooking, pressing, drying and milling fresh raw fish or fish trimmings. Fish meal is an excellent source of highly digestible protein, long chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) and essential vitamins and minerals.
Natural phenomena such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation affect the fisheries along Central American Pacific coasts, leading to seasonal scarcities and increased prices. Due to these factors, the fish meal market is volatile and prices often shoot up.
Fish meal has a high biological value in poultry, not only as a protein source but also as source of minerals, such as P and Ca, and trace elements such as Se or I.
Fish meal has a high biological value for pigs. Protein of fish meal is of good quality: it has a high methionine content and the protein is highly digestible. Its contents in vitamins, n-3 fatty acids and minerals are very valuable for pigs. Levels of incorporation vary from 5 to 10% in piglet feeds to about 3% in feeds for finishers or sows.
Fish meal is expensive but the high protein and lysine content make it worthwhile to boost protein levels.
We do not use in goat feeds as we limit Phosphorous intake.
Soybean meal is the most important protein source used to feed farm animals. It represents two-thirds of the total world output of protein feedstuffs, including all other major oil meals and fish meal. Its feeding value is unsurpassed by any other plant protein source and it is the standard to which other protein sources are compared.
Soybean meal is major protein source for all types of poultry, due to the amount and quality of its protein and amino acids. A diet based on maize and soybean meal provides a good balance on all essential amino-acids but methionine, This can be offset by the inclusion of rice bran.
Soybean meal is the preferred source of protein in pig diets due to its content of highly digestible essential amino acids (lysine, but also threonine, tryptophan and isoleucine). It is a good complement to cereals that contain lower levels of those amino acids but higher levels of the sulfur amino acids, particularly methionine, that are limiting in soybean meal. Cereal-soybean meal diets are thereby typical in pig farms located in countries where soybean meal is affordable
Newly weaned piglets have trouble digesting soy so we use fish meal in their recipes.
Oyster shells and coral contain about 38% calcium and no phosphorus. Shells that have been ground to a coarse grit seem to be more palatable to laying hens; for other animals the shells should be finely ground.
Common salt contains both sodium and chloride and is also called sodium chloride. Salt is unique in that animals have a much greater appetite for the sodium and chloride in salt than for other minerals. Because most plants provide insufficient sodium for animal feeding and may lack adequate chloride content, salt supplementation is a critical part of a nutritionally balanced diet for animals.
Abnormal behaviors may also be influenced by sodium levels in the diets of other farm animals. For example, tail biting in finishing pigs can be a real problem in high-density confinement buildings. Tail biting begins with the occasional chewing of another pig’s tail. Once a wound has been established, the biting becomes more frequent and intense. Docking the tail at birth has become standard practice to try to avoid this problem later.
A similar problem associated with a salt deficiency in poultry is cannibalism. Cannibalism occurs when birds peck at the feathers, toes, heads, and vents of other birds. If there is bleeding and further pecking, it may result in the death of the bird. Poultry nutritionists often recommend that the diet contain 0.15 to 0.20% sodium to minimize cannibalism.
The amount of water retained is not affected significantly by the dietary salt in a healthy animal but the amount of water consumed and urine excreted increased with increasing levels of salt in the diet. This is advantageous in goats to prevent urinary calculi. Prevention of this condition is much easier and more effective than attempts at treatment. The following are offered for consideration in the development of a urinary calculi prevention program. First, delay castration of young goats as long as possible. Second, clean, cool water is a must. The diet should contain at least a 2:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio (we use 3:1). In a herd where goats have been diagnosed with urinary calculi, adding of 3-4% salt in the ration stimulates water intake, dilutes the mineral concentration in the urine, and helps to reduce the incidence in the rest of the flock. Finally, ammonium chloride should be added to the feed at the rate of 0.5-1.5% of the diet to prevent stone formation.
Vitamin and Mineral Admix
We use Bayer brand Baymix. It is a good all-purpose feed additive that is included at a rate of 1kg/ton in all our feeds. In times of stress we add a water soluble vitamin and mineral supplement to the water of our animals.
Putting it all together
There are two main goals in mixing feeds:
1. ensuring adequate nutrition
2. minimizing cost
Nutritional needs are a priority - there is no point skimping on the ingredients as the long term results will be more costly.
With the use of a complex spreadsheet, we have developed feed recipes. The market price of the ingredients as well as availability can vary. For several months we could not get rice bran, causing us have to adjust our recipes.
To develop a recipe, first I look at our needs. As we don't add anti-caking chemicals, we try and only make enough feed for two weeks and some batches are used every two or three days. We store in blue drums with a screw off lid. This keeps insects and rodents out.
Our delivery is every two weeks and we try to have 7 days worth of ingredients on hand just before each delivery is made.
Our small batches are in 40 liter drums and our large batches go into 200 liter drums.
The next step is to get an understanding on the needs of the animals.
Finally, we tweak the recipe to reach at least the minimum requirements for each animal, paying attention to inclusion limits for each ingredient.
Advantages of home mixing
We pay less than 15 pesos per kilo for layer mash. Our price for pig finisher is 14.3 pesos. Our Quail starter is 21 pesos and our goat feed is 15.5 pesos. If the average cost of raising grower pigs to 90kg is 1000p per month on commercial feeds and the grower takes 130 days to reach market weight, a savings of 750-1000 pesos per pig can be realized. This can represent an extra 25-30% profit.
Home mixing allows us to mix what we need and when we need it. We mix in quantities that are usable and manageable. If we want to "flush a gilt", it's easy to add a cup of fish meal to her diet. If our birds begin to molt, we can increase protein to reduce time not laying.
We control ingredients. There are no additional additives or fillers that we do not know about.
Sourcing ingredients can seem difficult but they are available. If we can get them far south of a major city, then other areas should be able to as well.
Mash only. Some people will only feed pellets. We feel that the heat required in manufacturing pelleted feed negates the advantages.
Accuracy. Smaller batches are more open to error. Time must be spent accurately measuring ingredients. Mixes must be thorough. We mix all the small volume ingredients together first, then add to the rice bran and corn meal.
Time. It takes 2 guys about 6 hours to mix batches that consume the equivalent of 30 x 50 feed sacks. A big part of that is pounding oyster shells.
Home mixing is an excellent alternative to premade feeds. With the correct recipes and mixed thoroughly, considerate savings can be realized while providing precise nutrition to meet your animals needs.