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Broiler Management Guide


CRF Broiler Research

The initial research efforts of CRF were done with broilers. In the 50 years since, CRF has conducted over 500 experiments with broilers and broiler breeders. Nutritional areas have included; protein/amino acids, vitamins/minerals, energy, feeding programs, enzymes, ingredient evaluations, and the influence of breeder nutrition on progeny performance. Strain cross information has generally been included in most of the experiments. Medications, equipment evaluations, problem solving, physical characteristics of feed and birds, and management techniques are some of the other areas researched. There are two (2) basic sides to nutrition. One is the nutrient needs of the birds by age, sex, health status, and management. The other side is the nutrient content of the diet (ingredients), which are digested and utilized by the bird.

The history of CRF broiler research has been to evaluate nutrition in terms of strain cross, health status, and feeding programs. CRF has used internal facilities such as Bridgeville, Hershey, and Talmo as well as university facilities and private research facilities. Battery cages, grow-out batteries, floor pens (96 pens), and modern broiler production houses have been used to conduct experiments.

Nutrition

Water:

The most important nutrient you supply your birds is water. Do you know your water? Water is the single most important nutrient. Water is consumed in greater quantity than any other nutrient. Life ceases quicker from lack of water than with a lack of any of the other nutrients. It is so easy to take water for granted. We have an abundance of clean water available throughout the world. Water treatment facilities are a vital part of our communities. However, much of agriculture does not have municipal water available for animal production. There has been a consistent drop in water tables for the last several years. Without the existence of an agency as an oversight of water quality, it becomes an individual responsibility to see that birds and animals under our care have clean, potable water. So, do you know your water?

Water is defined as a tasteless, odorless liquid, present in all organic tissues and in many other substances. It freezes at 32 degrees F. ( 0 C.) and boils at 212 degrees F. ( 100 C.) Water is used as the standard of specific gravity and of specific heat. Water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen has an atomic weight of 1 and a valence of +l. Oxygen has an atomic weight of 16 and a valence of -2. Therefore the formula for water is H2O. Water has the ability to be a carrier for a large number of substances. The ability of water to hold materials in suspension is of vital importance. Water is probably the most unique, non-living substance.

Birds should have free and convenient access to water. The amount of water required varies with age, environmental temperature, and type of feed, health status, status of reproduction, diarrhea or high urinary output, due to high protein or salts intake. A reliable estimate of water need is twice the amount of diet consumed. A bird consuming ? lb. of feed per day would need ? lb. of water. A gallon of water weighs slightly more than 8 pounds.

Water requirement is also dependent on water quality. Our natural water resources are extremely variable. Poor quality drinking water is often responsible for less than optimum performance. Water quality should be tested before you "buy the farm" or obtain birds. At least once a year have your water analyzed. Spring is an excellent time of year, because of possible runoff from rains, which may occur and alter your water quality. A change in the level of your water table can result in a change in water quality.

A livestock suitability water analysis is an economical management tool. Shown below are elements analyzed for the livestock water analysis. These are not all the elements you will find in water and not all the minerals, which can give birds problems. These are the more common ones that can be of concern.

The analysis and interpretation provided here is by A & L Agriculture Laboratories.

Elemental Analysis (ppm)
Rating
Nitrate (NO3)
Magnesium (Mg)
Calcium (Ca)
Sulfate (SO4)
Sodium (Na)
Chloride (Cl)
No problem
0-45
30
50
75
30
0-70
Chance of problem
45-100
0-60
50-80
75-150
30-50
70-150
Likely problem
100-200l
60-90
80-100
150-300
50-150
150-300
Avoid
>200
>90
>200
>300
>150
>300

When minerals are dissolved in water, water is able to conduct electricity. By measuring this conductivity, the total amount of dissolved solids can be calculated. This measurement can be expressed in parts per million (ppm) of dissolved solids as a means of measuring water quality.

Effects of Total Dissolved Solids
Content of Water (ppm)
Comments
>500
Not recommended for human consumption
<1000
Should present no serious problem
1000-3000
May cause diarrhea
3000-5000
Will cause diarrhea and temporary refusal
1000-3000
Unfit for birds

Acidity and alkalinity are measured as pH. Values below 7.0 are acid and values above are alkaline. Most water supplies have a value between 6.5 and 8.0. This range is considered safe and should cause no problems. Acid water will corrode pipes. Municipal water is usually at pH 8.2. Organic compounds such as chlorinated hydrocarbons, herbicides and pesticides are of concern but not a usual health threat. Chemical analysis for these compounds is expensive.

Purity of water refers to the presence (positive) or absence (negative) of bacteria presumed to be coliform. Water positive for coliforms should not be used as a water source without chemical treatment. Drinking water contaminated with coliform bacteria may cause diarrhea and can lead to serious health problems. The most common sources are runoff from feedlots, seepage from septic systems and faulty plumbing.

Water treatments are available in several kinds depending upon the problem. There are water-softening devices where sodium replaces calcium and magnesium. Chlorinating will destroy bacteria levels. Filtration will remove some organic and mineral particles. De-ionizing resins remove most all minerals from the water but are expensive. Water lines can be a source of lime, slime, rust and algae. They may also have a load of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Effective cleaning and sanitizing agents are vinegar, chlorine, iodine and ammonia.

Sampling water requires some preparation. A clean bottle, sterilized if being checked for purity, is needed. The sample needs to be kept cool and transported to the lab as fast as possible. Water should be let run to be sure that a representative sample is obtained. For coliform bacteria samples, sterilize the tap with a flame before drawing the water sample. The laboratory has special water sample bottles, which simplify the process.

Energy:

A constant supply of energy is necessary for all birds to sustain life. Energy for all the birds systems comes from the feed they eat or their body stores. The oxidation, combustion, of nutrients is the process by which organic matter in the feed is converted to carbon dioxide and water with energy released to drive the life-sustaining reactions.

  • Fats and Oils:
    These are the most concentrated sources of energy. On a per unit of weight basis they
    have more than twice the energy which can be derived from a similar amount of
    carbohydrates (CHO) or protein. The energy is readily available to the bird whether
    growth or reproduction is the criteria measured. Fats and oils provide an essential fatty
    acid, linoleic acid. There are some physical properties which benefits. Because fats are
    applied as liquid there is a reduction is loss due to fines and dust. There is a general
    palatability improvement with fat addition.
  • CHO:
    Carbohydrates are organic compounds composed of Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen
    (CHO). They make up 3/4 of the dry weight of grains are a large part of the bird ration.
    They serve as a source of heat as well as energy in the bird's body. They can be
    transformed into fat, adipose tissue, and stored in the body. The insoluble and indigestible
    CHO from the structural portion is called fiber. The soluble and digestible CHO portion
    is labeled nitrogen-free extract (NFE). Glucose is stored in the liver as glycogen. The
    glycogen then regulates the level of glucose in the blood.
  • Protein:
    Protein is digested by a series of hydrolytic enzymes such that amino acids can be
    absorbed from the intestinal tract and used to form body proteins. A large number of the
    amino acids can be converted to CHO and provide energy for the body. A few amino
    acids are ketogenic and form ketones, which can be used for energy.

Protein (Amino Acids):

Amino acid requirements have been defined for each specie as well as age and function within each specie. Protein nutrition has defined precise amino acids levels but the ingredients available do not fit the precise bird needs. It is the level of the limiting amino acid, which determines how much the bird produces for growth, tissue replacement, feathers, eggs, and other amino acid needs of the body. The digestibility of amino acids from an ingredient is not 100%, which is another factor in formulation of diets. Genetic changes cause a change in amino acid requirements. Today the amount of waste and manure production has become regulated by governmental agencies.

Minerals (Macro & Trace):

Macro-minerals are defined as those inorganic elements required by the bird as a percentage of the diet. Calcium and phosphorus are required for the skeleton. Sodium, potassium, and chloride help maintain the osmotic and pH relationships in the body. Trace minerals are listed in terms of parts per million (ppm) and function within the body processes. Poultry research has worked out digestibility and interaction data between the inorganic elements. Here again, environmental factors indicate that excretion of excess or indigestible minerals, such as phosphorus, copper, and zinc, can have a negative effect on the environment.

Vitamins:

These are organic compounds, which are essential for health, growth and maintenance of the body. While they are needed in minute amounts, they must be supplied in the diet to avoid a deficiency disease or metabolic syndrome. There are a number of substances and conditions, which can interfere with vitamin absorption. Mycotoxins, cocci, and organisms, which cause enteritis, will result in failure of vitamin absorption and therefore a "vitamin deficiency".

Nutritional Requirements

Growing

While CRF has conducted many broiler experiments genetics of birds and plants are constantly changing. The availability of more ingredients has allowed more accurate identification of the birds needs. These studies have been on an applied basis rather than basic. This has kept the research on an immediate usage time line. Economics have been a major factor in determining which areas to investigate. Vitamins and trace minerals are relatively inexpensive.

Typical broiler production feeds combine a decrease in amino acids concentrations with an increase in energy density. Higher energy levels do improve feed efficiencies. However, CRF research has consistently shown that improved feed efficiencies are not always coat effective. CRF diets are cost effective and the most economical for growers. Female intakes will be approximately 90% of the males. The higher income from breast meat has spurred both genetic and nutritional studies. These studies have shown that higher amino acid levels and some other nutrients can increase breast meat yield especially for strains bred for higher yield. In order to obtain heavier body weights, there has been a decided effort to slow down early growth rate. This can lead to improvements in bone structure and livability.

Breeders

CRF has conducted broiler breeder research at the Talmo, Georgia facility. In addition to examining nutritional levels, which maximize breeder performance, progeny trials were conducted to ascertain any nutritional imbalances. These studies showed that both breeder nutrition and health program had an affect on progeny performance. Because breeders are fed to achieve specific body weights, it is important that the diets provide needed nutrients for the bird based on the programmed feed intake.

Feeding Programs (Bag & Bulk)

Bag: Broiler Feeding Programs

Feed Name
Time Fed - Weeks
Lbs./Head - Total
Body Weight - Lbs.
52350071 All Grain



Starter or



52360071 Chick



Start-N-Grow (Med.)
0 - 5
4.0
4.5
52351011 All Grain



Grow-N-Finish
5 - 8
15.0
8.0

Bag: Program for Breeders

Purpose: white and/or brown egg production.

  • Hatch - 16 weeks: Chick Start-N-Grow (medicated)
  • 16 weeks throughout egg production cycle: All Grain Poultry Layer Breeder
    or Super Breeder

Bulk: Natural Broiler Starter and Grower Finisher

Complete broiler chicken starter and grower/finisher feed produced from natural grains and ingredients. Vitamins, minerals and other trace nutrients have also been added to meet nutritional requirements.

Nutrient Profiles
SKU#
52230070
52230070
Nutrients
Starter
Grower/Finisher
Protein %
22
18
Keal/lb.
1380
1400
Fat%
4.0
4.0
Fiber%
2.4
2.3
Ca%
.96
.85
A-Phos%
4.75
.35
Lysine%
1.25
.97
Meth%
.54
.40
TSAA%
.92
.72
Vit A
4000
4000
Vit D
1200
1200
Vit E
16
16
All Natural Feed
Yes
Yes
Animal By-Products
None
None
Antibiotic/Hormones
None
None
Feeding Instruction
Live Weight
Starter
Grower/Finisher
4.25 lb.
2.0 lbs.
6.4 lbs.
6.50 lb.
2.0 lbs.
12.0 lbs.
8.0 lb.
2.0 lbs.
17.0 lbs.

Bulk: Natural Layer/Breeder Feeds

Complete chicken layer and breeder feed produced from natural grains and ingredients. Vitamins and other trace nutrients have also been added to meet nutritional requirements.

Nutrient Profiles
SKU#
52570000
52710000
52572000
52573000
Nutrients
Peak
Post Peak
Mid Cycle
Late Cycle
Protein %
18
16.5
16
15
Keal/lb.
1300
1300
1295
1290
Fat%
6.0
5.5
5.0
4.75
Fiber%
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
Ca%
3.85
3.95
4.0
4.10
A-Phos%
.45
.40
.37
.32
Lysine%
1.05
.95
.95
.85
Meth%
.42
.40
.36
.33
TSAA%
.75
.7
.62
.62
Vit A
2550
1700
1700
1700
Vit D
1050
700
700
700
Vit E
10.5
10
10
10
All Natural Feed
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Animal By-Products
None
None
None
None
Antibiotic/Hormones
None
None
None
None

Feeding Instructions

For brown and white egg layers and breeders, Southern States Natural/Breeder Feeds will provide the nutrients needed for producing healthy eggs. Once hens reach 18 weeks of age, begin free choice feeding Southern States Natural Peak/Breeder Feed. Change feeds according to age of hens and level of production. Provide fresh feed, water and coarse particle limetstone to hens on a daily basis.

  • Peek Feed: for hens 18 through 34 weeks of age during peak egg production (over 90%)
  • Post Peek Feed: for hens 35 through 45 weeks of age during peak egg production (80 - 90%)
  • Mid Cycle Feed: for hens 44 through 55 weeks of age during peak egg production (over 75%)
  • Late Mid Cycle Feed: will generally be fed from 55 weeks of age until molt or replacement

Management/Nutritional Interactions

Vaccination Programs

Vaccination programs need to be designed on an area or operational basis. These programs need to be combined with good biosecurity. Know the immune status of parent flocks to determine the programs of the broiler progeny. Vaccinations in the hatchery are effective. Some antibiotics provide production advantages by helping to control enteritis and other conditions. Again biosecurity and good management practices are very important.

Preventive Medication

Competitive exclusion products can control salmonellae, necrotic enteritis and other enteric pathogens. Coccididial infections need to be controlled. The main control is a coccidiostat in the feed. Vaccination programs have been developed and are being used as an alternative to coccidiostats. Metabolic diseases generally have genetic, nutrition, management, and disease influences. High-energy diets, excess salt, and marginal phosphorus may increase the incidence of ascites. Low levels of fatsoluble vitamins, especially E have been associated with ascites. High growth rate has been indicated as a factor with ascites and SDS (Sudden Death Syndrome). The use of mash diets and alternative lighting programs have been shown to be beneficial.

Disease

Disease conditions result in a variety of problems, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Nutritional deficiencies which can lower resistance to disease include: vitamins E, A, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid in addition to amino acids and ME intake.

Stress

A primary goal of management and husbandry practices is too eliminate or reduce stress factors. An excess of vitamins, especially vitamin E, have been shown to be justified. There are also some non-nutritive feed additives, which can exert positive nutritional results. These include enzymes that can have a beneficial effect on modifying intestinal microflora. Antioxidants provide protection against nutrient loss in feeds. Mold inhibitors can reduce fungi growth and the production of mycotoxins. Pelleting agents may improve pellet durability and efficiency of feed utilization.

Problem Solving: a guideline for location causes to problems
Problem
Possible Cause
Solution
Early Mortality

Poor chick quality =

Brooding =

Check hatchery and eggs, check chick transport

Adjust brooders

Disease
Metabolic Disease =
Veterinarian: check ventilation, check feed formulation, avoid excess early growth rate
High Mortality

Infectious



diseases =







Leg problems =











Nutrition =

Check hatchery ventilation

Establish cause, consult veterinarian







Check calcium, phosphorus vit. D, adjust lighting programs







Check starter – availability and quality, check water supply

Poor Early Growth

Chick quality =







Environment =

Appetite =

Low nutrient =



intake

Check hatchery







Check temperature & humidity, check lighting and air quality







Check for indications

Feed quality and formulation, feed intake and accessibility, lighting program too restrictive

Poor Late Growth

Infectious disease =

Environmental= conditions

Nutrition =

Environment =

See high mortality

Ventilation, density, temperatures, water

Poor quality fat, excess salt or protein

Insufficient litter, inappropriate litter

Poor Litter Quality

Infectious disease =

Poor growth =

High mortality =

Drinker design and adjustment, high humidity, stocking



density, insufficient ventilation

Enteritis conditions

See growth above

See high mortality

Poor Feed Conversion

Feed wastage =

Environment =

Infectious disease =

Environment =

Check settings and feeder adjustments, allow birds



to clean feeders twice daily

Check house temperatures

See high mortality

House temperatures too high

Poor Feather Cover

Nutrition =











Ascites =







Blisters and burns =











Bruises and breaks=

Check diets for sulfur amino acids, check dietary



sodium level AA







See high mortality







Check stocking density and litter quality, increase



bird activity with feed or light







Check handling and catching

Processing Plant

Scratches =

Green Muscle Disease =

Oily Bird



Syndrome =

Excess light and stocking density, handling procedures



at weigh and catch, check assess to feed and water

Excess disturbing of birds during growth,



poor feed distribution

Check nutritional balance

References

Breeder Guidelines


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