Use chicken feeder troughs to reduce feed wastage

Saturday December 8 2018

Kuroiler hens feeding from a wooden trough.

Kuroiler hens feeding from a wooden trough. FILE PHOTO 

By Fred Muzaale

Feeding poultry with nutritious feed is important for their proper growth.
However, the way you feed the birds is equally crucial as putting the feed on bare ground for the birds to feed, results in improper feeding and wastage.
If a farmer places the feeds on bare ground the birds find it hard to eat.

Feeding troughs
This is why a poultry farmer should feed the birds by putting feeds in chicken feeder troughs.
According to Hussein Kigozi, an animal husbandry officer and lecturer at Centenary Community College, Kayunga District, chicken feeders can be made from plastic or wooden material.
“An ideal chicken feeder should ensure easy access to food and also minimise wastage and contamination,” Kigozi says, adding, “Putting feed on the ground can be a source of diseases such as coccidiosis which is cause by contamination of feed and water.”
He says that wooden chicken feeders are cheaper than the automatic chicken feeders and can be made locally by carpenters.

Cost
A chick size wooden feeder goes for Shs5,000, medium size at Shs8,000 while a big one goes for Shs12,000.
He says although the automated feeders are the best, as there is almost zero feed wastage and contamination, they are expensive.
A saleswoman at Josca agro enterprises in Kampala says one automatic chicken feeder goes for Shs35,000 while a big size plastic feeder goes for Shs23,000 each.

Best chicken feeders

Automatic feeders
This feeder holds five kilogrammes of feeds, which is enough for about 10 birds for approximately one week.
This is a great choice if you work late and do not want the birds going hungry or if you frequently travel.

Advantages
Eliminates the need to check feed every day.
Keeps rodents and wild birds out of food; no more stolen food.
Prevents spilled feed, thereby reducing feed costs.
Only needs to refill every seven to 10 days for five to eight birds.
Prevents the birds from contaminating in their food.

Disadvantages
Requires training.
Edges are sharp.
Food has a tendency to not come down on its own.
Not waterproof.
Chickens may not use it because of the noise made when in operation.

Hanging feeders
This is a simple, inexpensive, five kilogramme hanging small capacity poultry feeder made from plastic.
It does not come with a lid, but one can be bought separately. This feeder will feed up to 15 chicken per round, and its plastic construction makes it easy to see when the feeder needs to be refilled.

Advantages
Simple to assemble
Easy to fill and clean
Can either be hung or left on the ground
Available in three different sizes

Disadvantages
Does not come with a lid to keep moisture and other animals out.
The tray separates from the top very easily, causing feed spill and waste.
The trough is shallow which allows the chickens to scatter the feed.

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