Poultry International - April 2018 - 30
30 ❙ PoultryInternational
POULTRY PRODUCTION'S REAL FEED COSTS
breeds respond to different dietary nutrient levels to find
economically optimum performance," Enting said.
How much more feed is required to raise slow-growing
"We can't speak to all slower-growing breeds, but we
estimate that our costs will increase about 25 percent," said
Scott Sechler, owner and president of Bell & Evans, a U.S.based organic broiler producer.
The company recently announced the transition of its
entire flock to a slow-growing strain, the Das Klassenbester,
in 2018. The new breed's growth cycle will be extended by
more than 15 percent (47 to 50 days).
"We are estimating that our Das Klassenbester
breed will require between 25 to 33 percent higher feed
conversion to reach the same 5.6 pound average live weight
we see now," Sechler said.
The company estimates it will spend an additional
US$14 million in feed per year, but he believes the cost will
be offset by increased chicken sales.
"Our chickens already receive a high-quality feed,
and that won't change, regardless of the increased feed
conversion," Sechler said, also noting Bell & Evans' flock
is 100 percent antibiotic free. "We've always tried to slow
down the growth of the faster-growing breeds by offering our
chickens a high-quality, well-balanced blend of U.S.-grown
corn and extruded and expeller-pressed soy, along with our
own blend of essential oils like oregano, cinnamon and yucca.
We don't overfeed them or add fillers to plump them up."
Ultimately, Bell & Evans' goal is to "raise a bettertasting chicken," but detractors of the slow-growing birds
cite the environmental impact of heritage strains (longer
life = greater footprint) and the need for additional chicken
production to make up for supply deficits as their downfall
in commercial production.
Driven by the animal welfare movement, California's
Proposition 2/AB1437 and retailer's pledge to only purchase
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www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ April 2018