|Drinking and feeding systems|
There are several different systems available for delivery and distribution of feed to broilers. Since feed constitutes the major share of total production cost, wastage should be an important consideration in the choice of system.
There are three major systems available:
- Automatic pan feeders: 1 pan per 65 birds; 33 cm pan diameter.
- Chain feeders: 2.5 cm per bird; 80 birds per metre of track.
- Round, hanging tube feeders: 65 birds per tube; 38 cm diameter base.
Automatic pan feeding systems have become the industry standard due to advantages of low feed wastage, ease of height adjustment, preservation of pellet quality, and reliability. As a number of different pan feeder designs are available, feeder heights should be set according to manufacturers' recommendations. Distance between the feeder lines should be not more than 2.5 metres. This ensures that all birds have adequate access to feed. Level of feed within the feeder should be adjusted to a height that minimizes wastage. If possible, the feed supply system should be allowed to empty at least once a day. This eliminates the presence of stale food and therefore reduces the risk of contamination and the growth of micro-organisms.
It is essential that fresh water is available to the broiler flock at all times and that it is free of contamination. The drinking systems chosen must be capable of delivering the water efficiently to all birds with the minimum of spillage. To ensure that the flock is receiving sufficient water, each day, the ratio of water to feed consumed should be monitored. When the ratio of water volume (ml or l) to feed weight (g or kg) remains close to 1.8:1 (1.6:1 for nipple drinkers), only then can it be assumed that the birds are consuming sufficient water. The Table shows water consumption achieved with different drinking systems for broilers at increasing ages. Birds will drink more water at high ambient temperatures. Water requirement increases by approximately 6.5% per degree as temperature exceeds 21ºC. Water consumption will vary with feed consumption.
Nipple systems provide water with lower levels of bacterial contamination than conventional open systems. They have become the standard in modern broiler production.
General recommendations for the management of nipple systems are:
- 12 birds per nipple. This should be reduced to 9-10 per nipple for birds weighing 2.75 kg or more.
- Nipple height should be monitored daily and adjusted as appropriate. At day old, nipples should be placed at chick eye level. From day 2 onward, while drinking, the back of the chick should form an angle of 45º with the floor.
- Litter, under and around the drinker lines, should be level to allow all birds to have equal access to water.
- Drinker lines should be level to a avoid spillage.
- Individual nipples should be checked regularly to confirm that access is available to birds through 360º (i.e. from all directions). Faulty nipples will reduce birds' access to drinking water. Nipples should be activated and checked by hand before placement to ensure all nipples are working.
- Water pressure should be set according to manufacturers' specifications.
- Nipple lines should be flushed and sanitized weekly.
- When whole house brooding is practiced, a minimum of 6 bell drinkers should be provided per 1000 chicks.
- Drinkers should be distributed evenly throughout the house so that no broiler is more than 2 m from water.
- As a guide to level, water should be 0.6 cm below the top of the drinker until 7-10 days and there should be 0.6 cm of water in the base of the drinker from 10 days onwards.
- The height at which the bell drinkers are suspended should be checked and adjusted daily, so that the lip of the bell is level with the broilers' backs from 7 days onwards.
Comparative evaluation of feed conservation in fibreglass and metal silos during summer and winter time
Agritech srl has entrusted the Faculty of Agriculture of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, in cooperation with Cerzoo, the Research Center for Zootechnics and Environment of Piacenza (Italy) with a comparative study on the performance of some own-manufactured fiberglass silos and other silos in galvanized metal, produced by Chore Time. The study covers a period of time going from July 21st 2008 to February 2nd 2009.
Aim of the study
The aim of the study was the comparative analysis of the conservation of bulk feed in mealy form stored in fiberglass and galvanized metal silos during summer and winter time.
1. Storage silos
The study was carried out on a total of 6 silos of 6 ton. capacity each., supplied by Agritech, 3 of which in fiberglass (VTR) and 3 in metal (MET). The silos were installed in pairs (VTR-MET) in the same environmental conditions with regard to the exposure to the sun.
2. Stored feed
The feed selected for the test was commercial compound feed in mealy form, taken from the same production batch, and stored in the silos in the same quantity.
The silos were only loaded by 2/3 of their real capacity in order to reproduce the normal conditions of use in a standard farm, where silos are progressively emptied. To put in evidence eventual effects connected with non-ideal storage and environmental conditions typical of summer, some vegetal oil was added to the main feed as lipidic integration.
The study was carried out from July 2008 to February 2009.
During the 4-month summer test following surveys were carried out:
a) Temperature (T°): using Min. and Max. thermometers, the values of T° MAX., T° MIN. and T° INSTANT in the external environment, the air temperature inside the silos (the empty volume between the cover of the silos and the surface of the feed) and the temperature of the feed (with a thermometer being placed in the first 10 cm of the bulk) were measured on alternate days.
b) The amount of peroxides released over 20 days, based on feed samples taken from the superior and inferior part of each silo.
During the 3-month winter test following surveys were carried out:
c) Temperature (T°): using Min. and Max. thermometers, the values of T° MAX., T° MIN. and T° INSTANT in the external environment, the air temperature inside the silos (the empty volume between the cover of the silos and the surface of the feed) and the temperature of the feed (with a thermometer being placed within the first 10 cm of the bulk) were measured on alternate days.
As far as the summer period is concerned, it was noticed that:
a) There are remarkable differences between the temperature of the air inside the silos and that of the stored feed in relation to the building material of the silos. These differences, that arise from the majority of the surveys, are statistically significant, and they are indicated in the charts by some asterisks corresponding to the date of the survey. As one can observe, the large amount of significant marks proves that fiberglass silos can stand thermal fluctuations and control both the air and the feed temperature better than metal silos.
In fiberglass silos (VTR), instant, minimum and maximum temperatures resulted to be better than in metal silos (MET) in the majority of the surveys.
Particularly, the Authors observed higher MAX. T° of the feed in the upper part of the bulk and of the air inside metal silos, as reported in chart No. 3 Delta T° between VTR and MET.
As reported, these differences reach up to over 8°C in the air inside silos, with registered MAX. T° over 45°C in the metal silos. The temperature of feed in the upper part of silos has reached temperatures between 35°C and 45°C in the metal silos, while in the fiberglass silos the highest temperature never exceeded 35°C (this peak was only reached in three surveys). The temperature deltas (Δ) comparatively registered in the temperatures of the feed stored in VTR or MET silos confirm the better performance of fiberglass silos, with a difference in favour of fibreglass up to 7°C.
b) Regarding the amount of released peroxides registered in the upper and lower part of the feed bulk, the fiberglass silos show a lower rate of peroxides and consequently a lower oxidation of the lipids contained in feed than metal silos (...).
Regarding the winter period (November 2008 – February 2009), the Authors had following results:
a) "Max. temperature of the air inside the silos: all temperature data registered in fiberglass silos are statistically inferior to those registered in metal silos. The average difference measured during the 15 test-weeks is about - 106,32%. These values in fiberglass silos tend to match with those of the environmental temperature in the "hottest" weeks, while, similarly to what happens with the minimum temperatures, the lowest ("coldest") values tend to be inferior to those measured in the outside environment".
b) "Max. temperature of the feed inside silos: in the majority of the surveys, the MAX. T° of the feed stored inside fiberglass silos show values that are much inferior to those registered in metal silos.
(...) "Finally, the results obtained in the second part of the test, which integrate and complete the results of the summer test (...), prove that also in the winter months the temperature registered in the air and feed inside silos is the parameter which is subject to the most significant variations, and that it largely depends on the building material of the silos. In fiberglass silos, both the temperature of the inside air and the temperature of the stored feed bulk are averagely inferior to the temperatures registered in metal silos".
ReproMatic and FluxxBreeder – new feeding system especially for broiler breeders
ReproMatic is a feeding system developed by Big Dutchman to ideally meet the particular requirements of broiler breeder management. Only this system allows all birds to receive feed immediately and simultaneously. It combines the advantages of chain and pan feeding. The rugged feed chain is used as conveying system. The feed channel with chain allows for a high filling level and consequently a very high conveying capacity.
FluxxBreeder is Big Dutchman's newly developed feed pan that can be used in rearing for day-old to death production and in broiler breeder production.
The main aim in rearing is for all hens of a flock to reach laying maturity at the same time. A uniform flock can only develop, if all birds have sufficient space to feed. Moreover, pans must be filled simultaneously at the same speed and to the same level to allow all birds of a flock to receive the same amount of feed during restricted feeding.
Features of FluxxBreeder in the rearing phase:
- 16 "true" feeding spaces, which means 60 % more birds per running metre of feeding system as compared to a linear trough;
- 360° flooding mechanism that ensures a high feed level in the pan, especially in the first days of rearing;
- spin-n-lock system allows for simple, one-handed adjustment of the feed level;
- flat pan for an ideal start of day old chicks, a good distribution of feed and reduced feed losses;
- the elevated feed channel and rotatable pan provide the birds with enough freedom of movement;
- eight wings on the outer cylinder of the pan prevent feed losses as lateral feed spillage is not possible;
- the integrated volume reducer allows for small feed rations, thus ensuring fast and simultaneous filling of all pans;
- after the birds have been moved out, the pans can easily be cleaned with a high-pressure cleaner, for drying the pan bottom can simply be opened;
- excess cleaning water or disinfectants can easily drain off through additional holes in the pan bottom;
- the conveying system consists of a feed channel equipped with the Challenger feed chain, thus allowing the transport of large amounts of feed with a high conveying capacity (2 t/h);
- smooth feed saving lip prevents bruises and feed losses;
- sliding shut-off to close individual pans;
- ideal illumination of the pan due to openings in the pan top.
Amacs is Big Dutchman's sophisticated and modern management system for the control of the entire feed supply but also for climate, water supply, bird weighing and lighting. Amacs allows to control a low-maintenance batch. Since the feed lines can be filled when they are suspended there is no need for a large hopper.
Amacs has a modular design and can be used for small and large houses alike, as it can be adapted to the individual situation on a farm. Amacs allows for ongoing data collection, real-time control and monitoring of individual barns or entire farm complexes – all this from virtually any location in the world.
For further information please visit the website: www.bigdutchman.com