An unbalanced poultry diet can not only lead to loss of production but also disease and death within your coop. With feed by far the greatest cost factor for a chicken farmer, a wrong blend can mean money down the drain.
Stephani Barker, Monogastric Technical Advisor at Meadow Feeds, says minerals can be divided into macro and micro minerals. She offers valuable tips in a technical article on Food For Mzansi and an interview on the Farmer’s Inside Track podcast.
“Minerals comprise the inorganic component of the diets, and they are broken down into macro and micro minerals. Macro minerals are important components of tissue in the body, and they have both structural and metabolic roles,” she explains.
Following the guidelines
Not only can deficiency in important minerals like calcium lead to debilitating skeletal defects in chickens, but a mismatch in the amounts of specific minerals in the feed can cause problems because of their interaction in the bird’s body.
“One of the most important interactions to note would probably be calcium and phosphorus. They both have important roles […] in skeletal development. They interact with one another before and after absorption from the digestive tract. That’s what makes it quite tricky,” she explains.
“And if there’s an excessive amount of one it will affect the utilisation of the other. So, a common practice in poultry diets is to feed calcium and phosphorus in a two-to-one ratio, and this is to prevent issues with calcium and phosphorus not being balanced.”
In this episode, Barker also discusses:
- The important role of calcium in the diet of both broilers and layers;
- Symptoms to look out for that could point to dietary deficiencies in poultry;
- The key information to share with a nutritionist is to formulate the ideal diet for the circumstances.
Want to know more? Listen to the full episode of Farmer’s Inside Track.
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