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Feed Efficiency in Livestock: How to Improve FCR of your Poultry Farm

March 12, 2021

In livestock farming FCR, Feed Conversion Ratio is a measure of efficiency in converting feed into increased body mass. One of the easiest ways to calculate FCR is to divide the weight gained by feed intake of the chicken. Apparently, a kilogram of feed intake by a bird doesn’t mean a kilogram of weight gain because 100% retention of nutrients is not possible because of some unavoidable biological waste. FCR is the most important parameter affecting the economics of livestock farming market and 1:1 seems to be the most efficient one. Farmers look for cost effective ways to generate desired FCR values, taking different measures. Higher the poultry feed costs, lower the profits. Hence a lower FCR means higher profit. FCR when simply put is a measure of how efficiently an animal converts feed to desired output. Desired output could be different for different livestock animals. For example, eggs for laying birds, meat from broilers, etc.

Factors Affecting Feed Conversion Ratio-

  • Animals with great genetics tend to have the natural ability to produce output from a lesser feed than other animals.
  • Younger animals grow faster than adult animals, giving them a lower FCR. With this, farmer can increase his profit by processing his birds before it reaches the adult age.
  • Animals that are fed a particular diet that meet only their nutritional requirements will give lower FCR.
  • Well-being of your livestock plays a great role in FCR. A better surrounding and good treatment habitat will always result in higher outputs.

Improving Poultry FCR and Reducing Feed Costs

Poultry’s FCR is first determined by chosen genetics and rearing conditions. It is important for the poultry house to indicate the amount of feed that has been eaten. Once the feed arrives at broiler farm different methods can be used to improve the feed efficiency.

Here are some tips to ensure broilers consume the most out of every feed-

  • Avoid Hot Spots in Feed Farming

Feed infested with mould is not only unpalatable but also toxic and harmful to poultry. Moulds consume valuable nutrients and produce toxic mycotoxins proving fatal for your livestock. Silos must be periodically inspected and thoroughly cleaned.

  • Use Feeders That Don’t Waste Feed

It is common misunderstanding that buying low cost feeder will minimize feed wastage and reduce overall cost. However, the low cost could sometimes be an alluring factor leading us to something less efficient in the longer run. Feed consumption shouldn’t be treated as an opportunity to beat boredom or as a hurried activity where birds fight to eat. A correct placement of feeder and drinker is an adequate way of feeding.

  • Ensure Your Broiler’s Good Health

It is an obvious fact, that a healthy bird’s produce will always be better than an unhealthy bird. It is always worth repeating that sick birds do not grow as much as healthy birds do. Sick or sub-clinical affected bird do not eat as much as healthy bird and that is usually what results in lower FCRs.

Overall, lower FCR means lower feed costs. If you want to reduce your cost of production, always start with lowering your FCR. It is needless to say not all of the pointers will be effective on your farm, but these guidelines help in creating a more efficient and healthy farm investing in high quality feeds to ensure lower FCR might seem costly in immediate times, but for the longer run, it only proves to be beneficial for the farm.