Poultry farming is a lucrative business, but it can also be expensive, especially when it comes to feeding the birds. In Kenya, the cost of feed accounts for about 80% of a poultry farmer's expenses, so finding ways to reduce this cost can help improve profitability and sustainability.
Here are a few strategies that poultry farmers in Kenya can use to cut down the cost of feeds:
Formulate your own feeds
One way to reduce the cost of feeds is to formulate your own, rather than purchasing premixed feeds from a commercial supplier. This requires a good understanding of the nutritional needs of your birds, as well as access to ingredients like grains, oilseeds, and protein sources like soybean meal or fish meal. Formulating your own feeds can also allow you to customize the nutritional content to meet the specific needs of your birds.
Use locally available feed ingredients
Instead of relying on expensive imported feed ingredients, the farmers should consider using local ingredients that are readily available and cheaper. For example, in Kenya, maize, wheat, and sorghum are common grains that can be used in poultry feeds. Other local ingredients that can be used include sunflower meal, groundnuts, and cottonseed meal.
Supplement with home-grown feed
In addition to using commercial feed ingredients, consider supplementing your birds' diet with home-grown feed. This can include kitchen scraps, insects, and plants like grass, which can be grown as a cheap and sustainable source of feed.
Practice feed management
This can be by storing feed correctly to prevent spoilage, using correct feeders and waterers that minimize waste, and using feed additives like enzymes and probiotics to improve feed utilization.
Consider alternative protein sources
Protein is an important component of poultry feed. It is also one of the most expensive ingredients. Alternative sources of protein can be used to reduce the cost of protein in poultry feeds. For example, insects like black soldier fly larvae or crickets are a cheap and sustainable source of protein. Other alternative protein sources include fermented soybeans, duckweed, and algae.
Use feed additives wisely
Feed additives like antibiotics and growth promoters can help improve the health and growth rate of your birds, but they can also be expensive. Use these additives wisely and only when necessary, and consider using more natural alternatives like probiotics or essential oils.
Negotiate with feed suppliers
If you are a large-scale poultry farmer, you may be able to negotiate a bulk discount on feed purchases. It is also helpful to shop around and compare prices from different suppliers.
Determine how much feed your birds will need based on their growth rate and nutritional requirements, and then set a budget for feed purchases. By sticking to this budget and shopping around for the best prices, you can save money on feed costs.
Note: Engoho Kuku Farmer supplies high-quality feed making machines in Kenya. They also train farmers on how to formulate feeds.