Poultry International - July 2017 - 17
PoultryInternational ❙ 17
we improve feed efficiency beyond genetics?
What is feed efﬁciency?
Before we even attempt to improve feed efficiency, let us define what is and what is not feed efficiency. In practical terms, feed efficiency is the number
of kilograms or pounds of feed consumed per
kilogram or pound of body weight gain. This is the
universal expression of feed efficiency, often termed
feed conversion rate, or rather stylish in American
nomenclature as FCR. But, that's not all. The correct definition is gain/feed, as this is the term used
by modern economics and scientific journals, but we
shall ignore such details.
A more appropriate way of measuring feed efficiency is using the amount of energy consumed
instead of feed consumed. This is because birds will
tend to equalize energy intake when given feeds
of varying energy concentration.
Nevertheless, this more sophisticated definition is not as widespread
as it should be, if only because most
broiler diets contain comparable
(but not equal) levels of energy.
In contrast to other monogastric animals, such as pigs, broilers
do not benefit from finely ground
feed. Birds have a unique capacity to soften up and "grind" their
feed inside their gut, and trials with
finely ground feed do not support
an equal response as that seen in
pigs. In fact, a very finely ground
diet will impede feed intake as the
ﬂoury feed will stick to beaks, making life miserable for the poor birds.
This is not to say that we should be
feeding whole cereals and soybeans
(although there is such a nutrition
program), but for normal feeding
programs, a medium to coarse parJuly 2017 ❙ www.WATTAgNet.com