Feed trials focusing on meeting bird nutritional requirements, supporting strong gut health, organ and skeletal development and muscle growth, have shown encouraging improvements in leg health, efficiency and reductions in mortality.
The first stages of the specific trial started in January 2022 but was a continuation of work ABN has been looking at on feed quantities during the first 2 weeks of the bird’s life. The initial 12-month commercial scale trial took place across 9 farms of varying sizes and the results of the new feed formulation saw a rise of 32 points in the European Performance Efficiency Factor (EPEF) level from 368 for the average 6 crops before to 400 for the average trial crop.
EPEF figures are based on feed conversion ratios, life expectancy, live weight and slaughter age of the bird. The Feed Conversion Ratio corrected to 39 days was -0.04 lower for the average trial crop at 1.64 compared to 1.68 for the average 6 crops before. Liveweight for the same 39-day period rose +130g and mortality rates fell by -0.76%.
The results have been so successful that the new formulation was rolled out with additional customers from the start of this year and since April, it has become ABN’s standard broiler starter offering.
Brian Kenyon, ABN senior poultry nutritionist, said: “We have been looking at different quantities and product form, as well as considering the nutritional components of the starter diets. We have worked with growers to look at ways of reducing of changing quantities, while also moving birds onto full pellets earlier when the bird performance allows.
“All the results we saw from the commercial scale trial were favourable and went exactly as we had expected and hoped. This is why we were in a position to roll out the new formulation relatively quickly after the trials had finished,” he added.