Rational Feeding of Laying Hens
A balanced, full-time feeding of laying hens is the basis of their health and high productivity. When providing the bird with all the necessary nutrients, it can be carried for a whole year.
Complete feeds for laying hens should contain both whole grain and a crushed mixture of cereals, feed additives of plant and animal origin, as well as vitamins and minerals. If we talk about the production of not only marketable eggs, but also the hatching egg, then in addition to the high content of vitamins, compound feeds for laying hens should contain easily digestible complete protein in sufficient quantities.
For feeding birds, mainly three types of feeding are used: dry, wet and combined. The most promising and acceptable type of feeding for laying hens is dry, at full feed. This allows you to increase the use of feed nutrients, reduce feed costs per unit of output.
When feeding chickens, one can distinguish such feed groups as hydrocarbons - this is the grain of cereals (corn, wheat, barley, millet, oats, etc. and waste from the production of flour: bran, flour, dust from grinding, also if possible in the diet they introduce such carbohydrate feeds as root crops and potatoes), protein foods that contain a lot of protein and are divided into feeds of animal and vegetable origin (fish and meat and bone meal, dairy products, bagasse and meal, leguminous crops, yeast, etc.), mineral (shells, chalk, limestone, feed phosphates, cook Single salt, salts of macro- and trace elements), and a number of vitamin feed additives, such as dairy products, herbal and softwood flour, carrot, baker's yeast, fish oil, and others.
The diet is closely related to the physiological processes in the body of the bird. In laying hens, feathers are replaced annually. Shedding, as a rule, begins in late summer or early autumn and lasts 2-4 months, and is associated with a reduction in daylight hours, and is also accompanied by a weakening of the body's immune defense. Because of this, egg production in chickens during this period significantly decreases or even completely stops.
The process and duration of molting in birds can be influenced by providing it with an appropriate mode of dimming (the function of manual or automatic control of the level of illumination) and feeding (vitamin and mineral nutrition).
During molting, juicy feed can be added to the chicken diet and the proportion of protein components, especially of animal origin, can be increased. Also, to improve the replacement of feathers, the diet is enriched with vitamin feed and vitamin preparations are added. In total, during molting, feeding should be less voluminous than at the peak of egg production, but more caloric and diverse. For example, fish and meat and bone meal, skim milk and the like can be added to the diet.
For laying hens, the regime and hygiene of feeding the feeds are of great importance. So, wet feed mixtures must be prepared immediately before feeding and make sure that wet food does not remain on the feed for more than 2-3 hours, which prevents spoilage and does not lead to the development of gastrointestinal tract disorders in the bird. Much attention should be paid to regular and hygienic cleaning of the feed line, especially those that supply wet feed. Before feeding, it is better to crush, crush, or extrude cereal feed, which significantly improves their absorption and utilization of nutrients. Coarse grain size of 1-2 mm is considered the best, very fine grinding with the formation of dust is also undesirable. Dust reduces the sanitary and hygienic indicators of air in a room that has a rather negative effect on the respiratory tract of the bird and leads to the development of diseases.
The mineral feeding of laying hens should be given great attention. It is important that laying hens receive a sufficient amount of calcium. It is the basis for the formation and development of eggs. Therefore, an insufficient amount of this substance in the chicken body can lead to a significant decrease in egg production. Sources of replenishment of calcium in the diet are the addition of chalk, crushed eggshells and limestone. It is very important that these feeds are well chopped before feeding. The eggshell must be subjected to heat treatment before feeding, in order to disinfect it and prevent the spread of pathogens in the herd through feed.
It is also possible to use natural limestones as a source of calcium, however, it should be remembered that their composition may contain impurities of fluorine and arsenic, which are harmful.
Salt is the main source of sodium and chlorine. However, if there is a lot of it in the diet, the bird suffers from thirst, her appetite worsens and poisoning is even possible.
If the bird is constantly kept indoors, it is necessary to take care of the sufficient introduction of vitamins D from artificial sources into the diet. The role of vitamin D for laying hens is very important, as it promotes the absorption of calcium, regulates calcium and phosphorus metabolism and affects the formation of egg shells. If this vitamin is not enough, eggs can form with a refined shell or without it at all - “cast eggs”, “castings”.
To improve egg productivity, it is also necessary to add vitamins E and B12 to the chicken diet. Their content in conventional feed is too low to satisfy the needs of the bird. To enrich the diet with B vitamins, feed yeast can be added to their composition. In animal feed - dairy products, fish and meat wastes contain many essential amino acids, without which the egg productivity of chickens can be significantly reduced. Their use is also very effective and necessary, however, one should remember the appropriate disinfection and high level of industrial sanitation when feeding such feeds.
For laying hens, the feeding regimen is very important. Usually chickens are fed 3-4 times a day. However, poultry feeds can be offered abundantly when they are less energy, and portioned, when the energy content in the feed is higher. At the same time, rational feeding has many more advantages. Thus, an accurate determination of the volume of feed fed allows you to control exactly how much feed the bird consumes, and timely identify possible problems with its health. Thus, it is easier to calculate feed costs per unit of product received. In addition, the exact amount of feed allows you to calculate how fully satisfied the needs of chickens in each of the nutrients.
When feeding egg breeds, great attention should be paid to water management. Moreover, the amount of moisture required depends on the productivity of the bird, its age and weight, ambient temperature, as well as the amount and humidity of feed consumed. With increasing ambient temperature and feeding exclusively dry food, the need for water in birds increases. Of great importance are also indicators of the quality and safety of water used for feeding poultry, chicken watering, as well as in the production of finished compound feeds.
Large poultry enterprises, as a rule, buy feed for laying hens already in the form of a balanced complete feed, however, its composition should also be paid attention to. How much the proposed feed meets the needs of the bird can be estimated by its condition, as well as by the quality of the eggs. If a thin, non-smooth shell is formed, a pale yolk is formed, and the eggs themselves are small in size even in adult laying hens - all this indicates a lack of appropriate nutrients in the diet.
When preparing rations for laying hens, it is necessary to correctly determine the need for nutrients by the age and productivity of the bird, and in the future to select fodder products or the composition of complete feeds that fully satisfy certain needs. Such an approach will help to avoid problems with the health of the bird, accordingly to positively influence the passage of certain physiological processes in it, and also not to lose its productivity and product quality.