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How to Make Your Own Chicken Feed

With the rising cost of poultry feeds, farmers rearing chickens are increasingly finding it difficult to make profit from poultry keeping. While it is difficult for farmers to formulate feeds for hybrid chickens such as broilers and layers, they can do so for their indigenous chickens or dual-purpose breeds such as Kenbro under intensive management system. This can be done using the PearsonSquare method.

However, this is only possible if farmers have the right quality of ingredients or raw material for formulating feeds. The Pearson Square method relies on the Digestible Crude Protein (DCP) as the basic nutritional requirement for feed. The most common ingredients used are whole maize, maize germ, cotton seed cake, soya beans, sunflower or omena (fishmeal).

Example 1: Feed for Layers

Assuming that the farmer wants to make feed for their chickens using the Pearson Square method, they have to know the crude protein content of each of the ingredients used in feed making. The farmer may use whole maize (8.23 % DCP) Soya (45 % DCP) Omena (55 % DCP) and maize bran (7 % DCP) Sunflower (35 % DCP). To make a 70 kg bag of feed for layers, a farmer would require the following ingredients:

  • 34 kg of whole maize
  • 12 kg of Soya
  • 8 kg of omena
  • 10 kg of maize bran
  • 6 kg of Lime (as a calcium source)

Each category of chickens has its own requirements in terms of nutrition. For example, feed for layers should have at least 18 per cent crude protein. If one were to formulate feed for layers, then they would have to calculate the percentage of digestible crude protein in each of the ingredients to ensure that the total crude protein content is at least 18 per cent to meet this nutritional requirement. To find out if the feed meets this standard, a farmer can do a simple calculation as follows:

  • Whole maize = 34 kg x 8.23 ÷100 = 2.80 kg
  • Soya bean = 12 kg x 45 ÷ 100 = 5.40 kg
  • Omena = 8 kg x 55 ÷ 100 = 4.40 kg
  • Maize bran = 10 kg x 7 ÷ 100 = 0.70 kg
  • Lime = 6 kg x 0 ÷ 100 = 0.00 kg
  • (Total crude protein 13.30 kg)

To get the total crude protein content of all these ingredients in a 70 kg bag, you take the total crude protein content of the combined ingredients, divide by 70 and multiply by 100 thus, (13.30÷70) x 100 = 19.0 %. This shows that the crude protein percentage in the above feed formulation is 19.0 % which is suitable for layers. Before mixing the feed, whole maize including the other ingredients has to be broken into the right sizes through crushing or milling to make it palatable for the chickens. Add 250 g of table salt on every 70 kg bag of feed.

Feed for chickens meant for meat.

Chickens meant for meat production require feed with a higher content of DCP. From the first to the fourth week, the chicks require feed with a DCP content of between 22 to 24 per cent. From the fourth to the eighth week, the chicks require feed with a protein content of 21 to 22 per cent crude protein. To attain this requirement, farmers can formulate feed using the same method given above. To make a 70 kg bags of feed, they will need to have all the right the ingredients in the proportions given below:

  • Whole maize = 40 kg x 8.23 ÷ 100 = 3.20 kg
  • Omena = 12 kg x 55 ÷ 100 = 6.60 kg
  • Soya beans = 14 kg x 45 ÷ 100 = 6.30 kg
  • Lime = 4 kg x 0 ÷ 100 = 0.00 kg
  • (Total crude protein 16.10 kg)

To determine if a 70 kg bag of feed has adequate crude protein content for birds meant for meat production, the same methods is used: (16. 10 ÷ 70) x 100 = 23 %. The feed given in this example has a total crude protein content of 23 % which is adequate to feed chicken in this category. In every 70 kg bag of feed, add 250g of table salt.

Ration for kienyeji chickens

Indigenous chickens are less productive in terms of egg and meat increase. They may not require intensive feeding and management. For this category of chickens, farmers can constitute feeds with a DCP of between 15 – 16 %. They can use the following formulation to make feeds for the indigenous chickens:

  • Whole maize = 33 kg x 8.23 ÷100 = 2.70 kg
  • Maize or wheat bran = 14 kg x 7 ÷ 100 = 0.98 kg
  • Omena = 7 kg x 55 ÷ 100 = 3.85 kg
  • Soya = 7 kg x 45 ÷ 100 = 3.15 kg
  • Lime = 5 kg x 0 ÷ 100 = 0.00 kg
  • (Total crude protein 10.68 kg)

Percentage of total crude Protein in the ingredients = (10.68 ÷70) x 100 = 15.25 %.

For farmers rearing hybrid layers and broilers, it is advisable to buy already constituted feeds from reputable companies that sell quality feed. The main reason is that it is very difficult for farmers to constitute micronutrients such as amino-acids, trace minerals, fat and water soluble vitamins that these breeds of chicken require for proper growth.

To be sure that their feed is of the right quality, farmers can send a sample of the constituted feeds for testing and advice to KARI Naivasha, which has modern equipment for testing feed quality. A sample costs Ksh 1,000 to test. Send samples by courier to the following address: KARI Naivasha P.O. Box 25, 20117 Naivasha, Tel. 0726 264 032. Results are ready within a day.