Alternative poultry feed ingredients are the “big hope” for poultry farmers and livestock keepers who want to lower the outrageously high cost of poultry feed and other livestock feeds in general.
This is because there isn’t enough corn and soybeans to feed animals the way they used to. But it’s unlikely that this will happen because of things like anti-nutritive factors and the fact that these ingredients are hard to get. But research into these other ingredients has helped to fix some of these problems.
Over the past few years, the constant rise in the cost of feed ingredients has become a pain for many poultry farmers though at HTS Farms you can get affordable livestock feed. The hope that feed prices will go back to normal has become a pipe dream. Because of this, many chicken farmers have been forced out of business, and others are fighting to stay in business any way they can.
Also, the price of almost all of the things that go into chicken feed, especially corn, soybeans, phosphorus, and vitamins, has gone way up. Several things have been blamed for the current crisis, and their effects have been debated. However, it is clear that the massive diversion of feed ingredients to biofuels, the decrease in crop yields, and the rise in demand for animal protein in developing countries have all played a role.
But whenever the price of feed ingredients goes up, the most common way for farmers to deal with it has always been to learn how to make feed and use different feed ingredients. Because of this, people are very interested in these kinds of ingredients right now.
Also read: How to make broilers grow faster
What else could be used as Alternative Poultry Feed Ingredient to feed chickens?
Let us see what Nicholas M. Dale (an Extension Poultry Scientist) have to say;
Exactly what constitutes an alternative ingredient is an open question. To some in the feed industry; any energy or protein source other than corn, soybeans meal, and fat is taken to be an alternative.
A better working definition of an alternative ingredient would be;
- That has not previously been used regularly
- Whose nutrient composition has yet to be fully defined, or
- For which maximum level of inclusion is unclear. Each of these points is deserving of comment.
The nutrient composition of most alternative ingredients has been studied and is accessible for those interested in considering their use. However, as an initial step, samples from potential suppliers need to be evaluated to confirm nutrient profile.
Risks and limitations of Alternative Poultry feed ingredients
Almost every ingredient has a “Achilles’ heel” or some part of its makeup that needs to be looked at by a nutritionist before it can be used. We can talk about some of these alternative poultry feed ingredients’ anti-nutritive factors or contents.
Cassava /Cassava Pulp
In Africa and Asia, it is common to feed animals the roots and other parts of the cassava plant. Thailand, which is the third-largest producer of cassava, uses almost all of it to feed animals and make starch. Cassava pulp, a fibrous byproduct of the second business, has been used to feed cattle and pigs.
Researchers at UNE tested this product as a replacement for maize in layer diets. They found that 15% cassava pulp can be added to layer diets without hurting egg production or quality, except that the yolk colour was lighter when cassava pulp was in the diet.
Supplementing layers’ diets with products that have xylanase and phytase activities (Danisco Animal Nutrition, UK) made it possible to increase the amount of cassava pulp to 20% and keep egg production at the same level as the maize control diet.
This could be tannins for sorghum, MIU (moisture, impurities, and unsaponifiable), and possible residues for feed fats, and mycotoxin contamination for corn. Along with figuring out the nutrient content, this is a big part of what determines the maximum amount of alternative ingredients that can be used.
Cottonseed meal has a chemical called gossypol in it that can change the colour of the inside of eggs. So, it can’t be used in feed for laying hens. Sources of cottonseed meal with low amounts of gossypol can be used successfully in broiler diets and feeds, but the amount of total and available lysine in these sources will likely limit how much they can be used.
Peanut meal is also low in lysine, and there is a chance that it could be contaminated with aflatoxin. But if you buy peanut meal from a reliable source, it can be a useful ingredient because it is high in energy, protein, and arginine, which is an essential amino acid.
Taro Cocoyam Meal
Cocoyam (Colocasia esculenta) products are cheaper sources of carbohydrate than grains or other tuber crops. It has a high caloric yield per hectare, a low cost of production, and isn’t too easy for bugs and other pests to get into. People say that cocoyam has a starch content that is easy to digest because its particles are small.
Cocoyam can be used as food for both people and animals, but there are some things that need to be taken into account, such as how it is stored and whether or not it has antinutritional factors. There are things in taro cocoyam that make it less healthy to eat, like oxalates, phytates, tannins, and saponins.
Abdulrashid and Agwuaobi (2009) found that cocoyam meal can replace maize as a major source of energy in the diets of broiler finishers at 25% (raw sundried) and 50% (boiled sundried).
Vellingiri and Muthiah (2010) looked into whether velvet beans could be used instead of soybeans as a source of protein in chicken feed. Based on their rough analysis, they found that velvet beans had a lot of crude protein (273.2 g/kg DM), fat (60.61 g/kg DM), neutral detergent fibre (84.3 g/kg DM), and ash (56.04 g/kg DM).
Soaking velvet bean seeds in a 0.2% sodium bicarbonate solution and then putting them in an autoclave made a big difference in the levels of antinutritional compounds like tannins (84%), L-Dopa (79%), phytic acid (87%), raffinose (93%), stachyose (83%), verbascose (73%), haemagglutinating activity (84%), trypsin inhibitor activity (77%), and -amylase
They came to the conclusion that replacing up to 40% of the protein in soybean meal with velvet bean meal, which is equivalent to adding up to 15.7% and 11% of velvet bean meal to poultry feeds for the starter and finisher phases, respectively, led to better growth in broiler birds without causing any harm.
But there are a lot of possible feed alternatives in different countries that haven’t been standardised and need more research to find out how useful they are and where they fall short. Also, new sources of any ingredient should be sent to a lab for testing before they are bought and used in a formula, and any limitations should be thought about.
Of course, they also need to be easy to get and last a long time if they are to be used as alternative feed ingredients.
Recommended: How to choose the best broiler breeds
Nevertheless, it’s questionable whether significant savings will be realized from the use of alternative ingredients. Although special relationships can sometimes be developed between supplier and feed manufacturer, prices of ingredients of similar nutrient content almost always rise and fall in tandem.