When it comes to poultry and animal feeds production, you either harvest and cut them manually using a machete or let the animals graze under free range system. These two methods come with a number of risks such as body harm while chopping the animal feeds and low bird production and loss, sometimes.
However, technology in form of the combined chuff cutter and feed mill has come in handy to minimise these risks.
According to Douglas Opio, the sales manager at China North Machine on Jinja Road, the combined chuff cutter and feed mill machine is not designed for a single purpose.
Physically, the machine has an inlet where you feed the grass before it is cut or processed into fine feeds.
It is on the inside of the machine where you position and change different blades of your choice that do the grass or chuff chopping or cutting.
After cutting the grass into small particles, the cut or processed feeds are released or collected from a different outlet.
After cutting the grass, if you want to mill feeds for the birds, you have to use a sieve that has smaller blades to produce poultry feeds.
“For poultry feeds, if you want to process feeds such as maize cobs into maize bran or any other feeds into small crystals to make it easy for birds to feed, you have to feed them into the machine from another different inlet.
They come out of the machine from a different outlet in very fine particles for birds to enjoy,” Opio explains.
Like any other agricultural machine, maintenance is not complex. The main maintenance routine is greasing the machine two bearings but also wipe it every after use to keep it clean.
According to Opio, the care and maintenance you give to the machine determines how long it will last and serve you.
To operate the machine, you can choose to use a petrol or diesel engine if you do not have power.
If you have a reliable source of hydroelectric power, the machine gives you an option of using an electric single phase mortar by plugging the machine cable into a socket. This makes it friendly for domestic use. In one hour, the machine has capacity of giving you 500 kilogrammes of feeds for both poultry and animals. However, for animals, the output depends on the nature of the feeds.
For fresh feeds, you get more feeds compared to those that are dry where you get approximately 350 kilogrammes. Surprisingly, you need between 0.5 to 0.7 litres of either diesel or petrol fuels to produce these feeds quantities.
This is possible because the machine uses the same horse power (4HP) regardless of the kind of fuel you use, at a speed of 2,850 revolutions per minute.
“If you do not have power, you disconnect the mortar and connect a diesel or petrol engine that produces a mechanical force to run the machine,” Opio advises.
The machine comes with different sieves to produce different feed sizes for different animals or birds. The smallest sieve can produce feeds for one week old chicks and a sieve for feeds for the grown and mature birds, turkeys inclusive. The sieves are positioned inside the machine before depositing the feeds for final processing.
There is no reason you should spend money to buy two different machines (a chuff cutter and a feed mill) yet you can have a two in one. If you choose to have two, it means you will need more space, which may not readily be available, and high costs of maintenance.
With the electric mortar, the chuff cutter and feed mill costs Shs5.5m. This means that if you were to purchase the chuff cutter alone, you will spend Shs6.5m, thereby saving Shs1m if you bought the combined chuff cuter and feed mill, and the feed mill at Shs4.2m separate.