Feed conversion ratio (FCR) is the main parameter used to evaluate broiler performance. The better the FCR value indicates the optimal broiler feed intake and the efficient feeding system so as to provide profit to the farmer. Feed costs are the largest cost in broiler production (about 70%). Therefore, breeders need to carry out proper feed management.
Feed and Constituents
Feed is a mixture of two or more feed ingredients arranged in such a way that they contain nutrients according to the needs of livestock. The feed is used by broilers as a source of energy & protein to grow and develop and to carry out their metabolism. The raw materials for the ration consist of :
1. Energy source raw material
Raw materials for energy sources are feed ingredients that contain metabolic energy (EM) above 2,250 kcal and crude protein (PK) less than 20%. Raw materials for energy sources can be obtained from grains such as corn, bran, wheat, barley, or sorghum.
2. Protein raw material
Raw materials for protein sources are feed ingredients that contain crude protein (CP) of more than 20%. The source of this protein consists of animal protein (derived from animals) and vegetable (derived from plants). Examples include soybean meal, fish meal, and meat bone meal (mixture of meat and bone meal).
3. Mineral source raw material
Most of these raw materials contain various minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, and NaCl. Examples of raw materials for mineral sources include stone flour, shellfish flour, bone meal, dicalcium phosphate (DCP), mono calcium phosphate (MCP), and salt.
4. Feed Supplement
Feed supplements are additional ingredients in the form of micro-nutrients such as vitamins and amino acids. The addition of feed supplements in feed serves to complement or increase the availability of micro-nutrients, which often contain less or not according to standards in rations.
Addictive substances are additives that are non-nutritive (not including nutrients), for example, enzymes, hormones, and food coloring agents. The content of enzymes and hormone functions to improve the process of digestion and absorption of the ration, while the content of the colorant and aroma of the ration functions to improve the physical appearance of the ration so as to increase the appetite of chickens.
Types of broiler feed
Generally, broiler rations are divided into 2 types, namely starter and finisher rations. The starter ration was given at the age of 1–21 days, while the finisher ration was given at the age of 22 until harvest. The difference between the two feeds is their nutritional content.
In the starter stage, broilers undergo very fast cell division so they require more protein intake to support these cell division. Whereas for the finisher phase, broilers need lower protein, because in this phase the cell enlargement (hypertrophy) stage will be more dominant than the cell division stage (hyperplasia).
Not always high protein rations give optimal results. Even if it is excessive, it can interfere with the metabolism or health of the chickens if given at an inappropriate age. For example, the use of rations starter in the finisher phase, the excess protein will be removed from the chicken’s body in the form of feces and can cause problems with increasing levels of ammonia.
Quality feed requirements
In order for optimal broiler nutrition, there are 6 ration requirements that must be met :
- Shape according to physiology or age of chickens
- Has high digestibility
- Attractive colors and aromas
- Complete nutritional content as needed
- Low anti-nutritional content
Broiler Feed Intake Habit and Standards
Feeding for broilers is done ad libitum, that is, continuous feeding. DOC need to learn to find a feed mound with attractive colors and mounds so that they are easy to find. Under normal conditions, the ratio of feed consumption: drinking water in broilers is 1: 2. Target body weight, feed intake, and FCR can be seen in the appendix.
Factors affecting feed intake
Broiler feed consumption is influenced by many things, and are summarized as follows :
1. Feed Factor
A feed with an attractive aroma and color will be preferred by broilers. Broilers are more attracted to red or orange feed.
The texture and size of the feed also affects the broiler feed intake. The starter and finisher broiler feed forms are available in the form of mash (flour), crumble, and pellets. Crumble form feed has a smaller grain size than pellets so it’s easy to eat and is preferred by chicks.
In addition, the composition of feed raw materials also affects the broiler feed intake. Feed that contains too much grain than protein causes broilers to eat selectively and not eat wheat or throw it away.
2. The Livestock Factor
Based on livestock factors, feed intake is influenced by age, health condition, post-vaccination, and genetic strain. The need for feed intake is different for each broiler age (can be seen in the attachment). In addition, healthy broiler feed intake will be more than infected or sick broilers.
3. Environmental Factor
Cage temperature and light greatly affect the feed intake. In hot weather, chickens tend to drink more than they eat to lower their body temperature. Lighting can also stimulate increased metabolism and growth and increasing eating behaviour. Generally, continuous lighting and broilers is only during the brooding period.
The broiler must have easy access to the feeding area so that the broiler body weight is uniformly distributed. Remember, during the brooding period, still add manual place for chicken ration. From the age of 14 days and up, all automatic equipment has been used. Equipment for eating in closed house cages is divided into 2 systems, namely :
- Main feeding system
- Feeding line system
A. Main Feeding System
The main feeding system consist of a hopper with a capacity of 800kg of feed and a connection pipe to each hopper feeding line. Cage operators simply fill the feed into the 800kg hopper and the feed will be automatically distributed to each hopper feeding line. The main feeding system facilitates the filling process in a closed house cage because it’s only done in one place.
Generally, the main feeding system is in a special room. This special room also functions as a transit point for feed. Main feeding system is optional (not mandatory).
B. Feeding Line System
Feeding line system is a pipeline that distributes feed in closed house cages.
Automatic Feed Distribution Mechanism
The electric motor will move the auger which is in the feeding line so that the feed form the feeding hopper will be distributed to each feeder pan. The last pan feeder (located close to the electric motor) is equipped with a feeding sensor, so that when the last pan feeder is full, the feed will touch the feed sensor and turn the electric motor “off”.
Grill Opening Pan Feeder
Each pan feeder has a scale opening (grill opening). The bigger the grill opening number, the more feed will be accommodated in the pan feeder. Setting the scale of the grill opening used depends on : (1) Feed intake, (2) Population, (3) Number of pan feeders, and (4) Type / brand of pan feeder.
Height of Feeding Line
The height of the feeding line is adjusted according to the reach of the chicken (at the height of the chicken breast). All feeding line heights in one floor must be the same. The height of the feeding line can be adjusted using a winch / pulley.
Maintenance of Feeding line System
To prevent the growth of bacteria or fungi on the feed equipment, carry out regulator maintenance on the feeding line system. Clean the pan feeder by wiping or spraying with Medisep disinfectant solution during the cleaning preparation of the cage.
Flush the feed pipe line before each chick in using feed. This flushing aim to remove the remaining feed left in the pipe. Close all pan feeder outlet holes, except the pan feeder hole that wast last opened and a collection sack was installed. Put 25kg of feed into the hopper of the feeding line and turn on the drive motor. Leave it until all the feed is put into the collection sack.
 Info Medion Edisi November 2014: Mengenal Ransum Ayam.
 Info Medion Edisi Mei 2014: Penggunaan Ransum Starter dan Finisher.
 Data internal Medion: Formulasi Ransum (Formulator/HS/III/2017/001 dan Formulator/HS/IV/2016/011)
 Materi training internal Medion: Tata Laksana Ransum Ayam 1, September 2012
 Broiler Signals. 2015. Netherlands. Roodbont Publishers. Marteen de Gussem.
 Factors That Affect Feed Intake of Meat Birds. 2006. International Journal of Poultry Science
 Konsultasi Info Medion: Pakan pellet vs pakan crumble
 Heat Stress and Feeding Strategies in Meat-Type Chickens. 2011. Research Gate.
 Managemen Pakan Ayam Broiler: www.agrinak.com/2016/03/manajemen-pakan-ayam-broiler.html