You now understand the importance of having accurate daily data on your animals’ weight gain as well your feed and water intake. Now, it is time to take the necessary steps to correct and/or improve your feed cost. To do so, you must equip your buildings with the appropriate tools that will help you achieve your production goals. Here are a few that we think are essential to any poultry farm.
First, a quality and robust bird scale is arguably the most essential piece of equipment to own to know the weight gain of your birds on a daily basis. But, is it important to properly calibrate your scale in order to have the exact weight of your birds and to keep it at an appropriate height. Too often it is miscalibrated and does not show the right data, therefore skewing your production results and not allowing you to optimize your outputs. It is recommended to use one bird scale for every 5,000 birds.
Also, equipping your bins with bin scales (load cells) is also essential to have a get feed conversion rate. They allow you to accurately weigh your bins and have precise data on your daily feed consumption. Again, it is important to properly calibrate your bin scales, since if they are not, you will never be sure how much feed you have left in your bins. So, we advise you to calibrate them at zero before each feed delivery, or at least at the start of each flock.
Another tool needed to get a good conversion rate is an intelligent controller to have live and remote access to everything that is going on in your farm. This allows you to have personalized daily feed and water consumption reports, and also sends you alarms when there are any problems in your buildings. These reports make it possible to monitor the weight of your birds and the amount of water they consume on a daily basis. In fact, birds drink on average 1.8x the amount of feed they eat. So these reports are a good way to find out if there is a problem with your birds’ feeding. Below is an example of a feed consumption report from an intelligent controller.
Feed consumption report
Water consumption report
Finally, another product essential for your production is a water meter, which allows you to accurately read and analyze your water consumption in real time. As mentioned above, a bird drinks on average almost double the amount of feed it ingests. So, a water meter is a good indicator to properly assess your feed consumption. Be sure to check the accuracy of your water meter on a regular basis. In other words, if you will a tank with 20 litres of water, your water meter should also show this amount.
As mentioned in the previous article, other farm management points are important to consider in order to optimize your feed conversion, and therefore your results. Among others, there is the temperature of your building, the humidity and Co2 level, ventilation, and many more. There is a wide variety of probes and sensors on the market to monitor these elements and support your production needs.
Keep in mind that collecting data is essential to continuously improve flock results. Feed conversion if a simple and proven concept for this. That’s why we firmly believe in it and think all producers here and elsewhere can benefit from it. We hope that this series of articles has opened your eyes to the possibilities and advantages that feed conversion can bring to your production and that these learning will be useful in the future!
Jacques Damphousse is a well-known poultr Agricultural technologist from Quebec, Canada, with many years of experience in the field. Among other things, he worked as a production manager in a broiler farm for 25 years, the 8 years as general manager of a poultry mill. With all this experience under his belt, Jacques has been able to develop his knowledge as well as methods to optimize production results, including with feed conversion which he teaches his clientele of producers.