Split-feeding in broiler breeder production makes sense

When it comes to broiler breeder nutrition, it’s not just what you feed – but when you feed it. That’s the premise behind a split-feeding programme for broiler breeders.


isrupting the traditional ‘once a day’ dietary regime for broiler breeders, this precision nutrition pro- gramme is tailored to meet birds’ daily egg forma- tion and nutrition requirements. Research has

shown that hens’ circadian rhythms impact their feed intake.

When allowed to freely take feed at various times of the day, hens tend to take in more protein and energy nutrients – such as phosphorous – in the morning. These nutrients sup- port the hen’s physiological requirements for laying and egg production. By contrast, calcium intake – which is linked to eggshell strength – tends to be higher later in the afternoon.

Two distinct diets While birds’ systems utilise the various nutrients differently in the morning and afternoon, conventional feeding pro- grammes have traditionally focused on a once a day feeding regime. The split-feeding approach addresses not only the timing of feeding, but also delivers two distinct diets to feed the right nutrient at the right time. Specific morning and af- ternoon diets offer other benefits as well. Developers of the

Contributing to farmers’ performance

Two silos are required to house the different diets. Howev- er, the cost of this investment is typically recouped in less than a year.

Evaluated in the Benelux region, the split-feeding system has been well received by Europe’s largest animal feed company, ForFarmers. The company produces more than 10 million tonnes of feed annually. Joost Sparla is Marketing and Technical Director Poultry at the ForFarmers Group, with responsibility for poul- try innovation and nutrition. “ForFarmers aims to supply our customers with op- timal feeding solutions which result in outstanding technical and economic re- sults,” says Sparla. “The broiler breeder split-feeding programme contributes to this aim as the performance of the breeders is better because the diet is adapt- ed to the specific requirement of the birds at the specific time of day.” From an economic perspective, he notes that the most directly visible effect for farmers is the lower feeding cost. “This approach provides an attractive offering for cus- tomers and will increase market share in the broiler breeder segment,” he states. Although the split-feeding programme is relatively new on the broiler side, the concept was inspired by research with split-feeding programmes for laying hens conducted between 2005 and 2012. Following its success in that category, the programme was adapted for laying hens, further to a second experimental peri- od from 2014 to 2018. The innovation reflects Trouw Nutrition’s investment in research that advances animal nutrition, supports environmentally-responsible food production and ultimately delivers on the mission of feeding the future.

▶ POULTRY WORLD | No. 1, 2021 33


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