In general, growers choose 1 of 2 accepted methods to feed broiler breeders during the production period.
The recommendations below for the second feeding option are best for mechanical community nest systems with wide egg collection belts. Always try out new concepts in one house and have controls to be able to compare. Lighting programmes are key to successful feeding during production. Consider the information below based on your specific housing type:
There are clear advantages to late-morning feeding, including the fact that most of the egg production of the day has already occurred, see Table 1. Over time, as flocks get older, some egg production will shift gradually to the afternoon.
With mechanical nests there should be two 25cm wide central belts with a divider in the middle on which the hatching eggs can accumulate for 6 to 7 hours without negative consequences for breakage or hairline cracks. This concept is used in large operations with egg packers. When eggs are collected on the egg table at the end of the house normally 3 to 4 hours of eggs are accumulated on the egg belt system. With manual nests egg collection needs to start maximum 3 hours after the light programme starts.
Some companies delay feeding even more and go to early-afternoon feeding. Most of the metabolic heat production of the birds happens then in late afternoon when temperatures are lower.
Understanding the concept:
To conclude, there are essentially 2 ways to schedule feeding in the production period. Each company will need to determine what works best under local conditions and evaluate the benefits of both programmes.
Author: Ing Winfridus Bakker