With diets on the winners’ stand also in the service of table egg production

With diets on the winners’ stand also in the service of table egg production

The increasingly strict animal protection, animal welfare and food safety regulations and, last but not least, the demand for sustainable development encourage service providers in the animal nutrition and genetic sector to embrace continuous innovation also in the commercial egg production sector. Maximum utilization of the genetic potential of commercial laying hybrids capable of high performance makes it possible to meet the nutrient requirements of the birds as precisely as possible. Since the egg is considered a food of complete value, the saleability of which is greatly influenced by aesthetic and composition parameters, to turn out an end-product of outstanding value is extremely important for the producers.

This is why we have developed our SILVER-GOLD-PLATINUM commercial layer diet range that meets all the demands of our partners. Out of the different parameters of egg production, nutrition impacts the number of eggs laid, the egg mass, the egg-shell thickness and the colour of the egg yolk.

As the feeding technology used during pullet rearing substantially affects egg production, adequate nutrient supply of the birds already from day-old age is extremely important. Through nutrition, the body mass at the start of production can be influenced. Nutrition combined with an adequate lighting program affects the time of sexual maturation, the feed intake capacity of young laying hens, and the persistence of egg production. Although maximum productivity is influenced by both the rearing and the production cycle, because of the birds’ development rate the two phases have to be separated also from the aspect of nutrition, as the principles are different.

During pullet rearing the highest possible uniformity of the flock is extremely important, and the feeding program must be adjusted to the actual liveweight of the birds at all times. Continuous weight control is of outstanding importance, as in flocks having too low weight at the start of egg production have insufficient feed intake capacity; thus, the weight of pullets will decrease at the onset of egg production, resulting in lower egg weight and higher mortality at later stages of laying. It is similarly important to avoid overconditioning, as overconditioned birds are known to have a shorter useful lifespan.

Taking all these into consideration, our new SILVER-GOLD-PLATINUM diet range have been developed so as to contain nutrients optimal for the pullets’ age throughout its life. Our diet ranges come with precise feeding recommendations specifying the amounts to be fed and the expected day of life at the change of diet.

Main points during pullet rearing:

  1. The starter diet range has been expanded, enabling us to meet the nutrient requirement of the birds more accurately.
  2. All three diet ranges are made from the same, highly digestible and carefully selected raw materials, which makes it easier to change between the ranges and control the weight gain.
  3. Using the ideal protein principle, age-adapted ileal digestible amino acid levels have been adjusted with optimum energy levels.

We paid great attention to optimizing the calcium and phosphorus levels, so as to enable the bird to prepare for the period of intensive egg production.

The onset of egg production represents the start of a new period in the birds’ life. Carefully controlled and professional feeding is of outstanding importance on the commercial layer farms as well.

The energy requirement of hens is determined by their breed (genetic line), the actual liveweight, the ambient temperature and the intensity of egg production. If the ambient temperature is within the birds’ thermoneutral zone, the hens are able to modify their feed intake depending on the energy content of the diet. For this reason the energy level of the diets should be set and controlled carefully.

The protein supply is another important factor in the period of egg production. Not only the protein content of the diet should be taken into consideration: the supply of essential amino acids is much more important.

Like the energy requirement, the amino acid requirement of laying hens is determined by the level of egg production and the hen’s liveweight. It is important to know, however, that hens are not able to adjust their feed intake to the amino acid levels of the diet; this is why it is important to set age-adapted ileal digestible amino acid levels at optimum energy levels on the basis of the ideal protein principle.

The goal of our customers is to maximize their profitability, for which it is extremely important to select a diet having suitable price/value ratio. We often see that customers are looking for a diet of lower price, rather than considering the maximum profit that can be achieved with a given feed. Experience shows that not the least expensive diet (of the lowest energy content) results in the lowest cost per hen, since increasing the energy density of the diet will reduce the daily feed intake of laying hens, and – to a certain level – improve the feed conversion ratio (FCR).

I would like to share with you my own example. As a young farmer winning a prize in 2015, in July 2016 I started production with 1800 18-week-old Tetra SL LL birds kept in battery cage system. Due to its favourable price we started with the Silver range and continued to use it up to week 24 of life. The production percentage was adequate (98%), but the daily feed intake was around 130–132 g and the body weights did not increase properly either. On the advice of Gábor Gyurcsó chief consultant, we changed to the premium-category Platinum commercial layer 1 diet of higher price and better content, and the birds’ body weight normalized already after one week. What came as the biggest surprise for me, however, was the daily feed intake, which fell to 114 g and still the body weight gain was adequate. For 1800 laying hens, this change corresponds to 28 kg feed per day and more than 10 tons per year, which results in savings in the range of a million Forints in my flock…I would like to add that during that time my flock was struggling with a very severe poultry red mite infestation, resulting in 5% mortality. After two treatments our production level at 33 weeks of age is still above 95%, the body condition of the birds is starting to normalize, and thanks to the TS (‘Poultry Red Mite STOP!’) supplementation to be presented later, scratching stopped completely.

Poultry red mite infestation causes a huge problem for poultry producers. Unfortunately it is almost impossible to eliminate the poultry red mite from the intensively producing layer flocks. This parasite causes irritation to hens, transmits different diseases and impairs the absorption of nutrients, resulting in poorer feed conversion and eventually causing severe economic losses.

Bonafarm-Bábolna Feed Ltd. has developed a supplement called TS (‘Poultry Red Mite STOP’) that can be mixed in the feed. This supplement chases the mites away from the hens to areas where it can be killed with a proper acaricide. All three diet ranges and our complete premixes are available with this supplement. Based on my personal experience I strongly recommend this supplement to all producers. Some days after starting to use it the intensive scratching of hens almost completely ceased. Simultaneously with this, treatment with an acaricide must be started.

When developing our SILVER-GOLD-PLATINUM diet ranges, in addition to the high quality it was extremely important for us to take into consideration the recommendations of the breeding companies, to minimize the use of by-products and to set a favourable sales price. It is our goal to meet the long-term demands and increase the profitability of our customers with our product developments. The Bonafarm-Bábolna Feed brand name is a guarantee for continuous development and good results.

Let’s fly high together!

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