Feed Formulation Guide: What Are The Ingredients of Poultry Feed?

Posted by: Samuel Ezenwankwo 2 years, 8 months ago/ (4 comments)

 Some of the common ingredients for poultry feed are maize,  soybeans, sunflower, fish meal, bran, groundnut cake, palm kernel cake, (PKC), cow-pea, cereal grains, vitamin, and mineral supplements, and feed additives. These ingredients should be capable of supplying the chickens with the necessary nutrients for different chicken types and ages for optimal performance.

Thus, in formulating your poultry feed it is almost important you also know the nutrients composition of various feed ingredients, their functions, their anti-nutritional factors, digestibility, sheer life,  palatability, alternative source, and balancing between feed ingredients, so as to enable you to formulate the best feed for your chicken with low-cost input. 

Also read8 Best poultry feeds in Nigeria with their prices for optimal birds' growth

However, in this post let start by knowing the functions of various feed ingredients and their classification under the classes food, In My Subsequently post, we shall look at their nutrient composition and balance feed ingredients, and eventually how you can use standard feed formulas to mix or formulate different types of feed for different types of chickens and ages. 

 I am committed to ensuring you optimized your profit by formulating your own feed with low input without compromising performance.

Stay with me on this adventure.

So, let get down to today's lesson

Poultry feed contains feedstuffs or ingredients which are divided into three main groups:

  1. Those that promote growth, help to lay, and form flesh;
  2. Those that supply heat and energy;
  3. Those that are necessary for health

These are the 6 basic poultry feed ingredients

  1. Starchy grains and tubers and their by-products
  2. Fat and oil
  3. Protein meals
  4. Mineral Substances
  5. Vitamins
  6. Feed additives

Now, let look at some examples and their function under the following classes of food;


Also read: How to Stop watery whitish, greenish, brownish-yellow and bloodstain in your Chickens poops for full Recovery

Proteinous Poultry feed Ingredients:

Protein meals promote growth, egg-laying, and the formation of flesh. Proteins come from animal and vegetable sources, and can be found in the following local foodstuffs: fishmeal, meat-meal, soybeans, cow-peas, almost all kinds of beans and their by-products; white ant (termite), black soldier fly, larva, and insects such as grasshoppers also provide protein food.

The amount you will feed your birds will depend on the type of stock you have. Part of the protein should be of animal origin.


Starchy poultry Feed Ingredients


This includes starchy grains (mainly cereal grains) and their by-products, tubers, and roots. They act as a source of heat and energy to the body, and the excess is usually stored in the body as fat. Foods rich in starch are maize, rice, millet, guinea corn, cassava, yams, sweet potatoes, and cocoyam. When you feed your hen too much starchy food they will become too fat and consequently lay fewer eggs.


Also read: 10 ways to sell and market your broiler chickens fast that are proven to work

Fatty and Oil Poultry Feed Ingredients


These act like starch and produce heat and energy in the body of the bird, but a lot of fat or oil is good for poultry. 0.5kg of fat is equal to about 1kg of starch. When too much protein is fed, the surplus is changed into energy, but neither fat nor starch can replace protein. The following foods are rich in fats and oil: groundnuts, palm oil, coconut, and soybeans.

Note: Fat and oil should not be used too much because of their rancidity nature.


Mineral Substances

Minerals are just as necessary in a diet as other feeding stuff. The bone of the bird’s body and the eggshells are composed largely of mineral substances, which are to a great extent supplied by ordinary feeding stuff. Oyster shells, limestone grit, bone meal, woos=ash, and common salt are good sources of some minerals. Green grass and other kinds of green food are rich in other minerals. Minerals also help to keep the birds healthy.


Also read:  6 Best Multivitamins for Poultry in Nigeria With Their Prices


In addition to proteins, starch, minerals, and fats are certain food substances which are very important for good health. These are known as vitamins and are necessary for maintaining good health and normal growth. Birds on free-range easily get foods that contain vitamins. But birds confined in pens should be given foods that are rich in vitamins.

Examples of such foods include tomatoes, fruit and vegetables, spinach, palm-oil, and cod-liver oil. Lack of vitamins in the ration will cause diseases such as eye troubles, nervous disorders, and leg weakness, and will even cause hens to stop laying and cocks to become infertile *( I .e. unable to make the hens’ ova fertile)



Pelleted feed

Feed Addictive

Feed additives ( Supplements )are ingredients that are added in feed especially in minute quantity to perform a specific function. Includes Methionine, lysine, colorants, Toxin binder, Vitamins, minerals, Feed binder, Digestive enzymes, Probiotic, Antibiotics, Prebiotic, Acidifier, Phytobitic, Organic Acid, Essential oil, Emulsifier, Etc.

Addictives and supplements can save farmers and feed manufacturers a substantial amount of money by increasing yields and prolonging shelf-life.




Note: During feed formulation, you must think about the needs of various age groups. For example, all young stock requires more body-building foods than adults. Laying birds require food that will help them lay. Table birds and breeding stock require different rations. And also make sure all feed ingredients are added in the correct proportion for a well-balanced diet.



Also read 8 mistakes you must avoid if you want to succeed in poultry farming

Layers feeding

What is a balanced diet for chickens?


A balanced chicken diet is a diet that contains different kinds of foods in certain quantities and proportions so that the requirement for calories, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and alternative nutrients is adequate and small provision is reserved for additional nutrients to endure the short length of leanness.


Therefore, in making up diets, you should include all the essential food substances. Formulate your feed in such a way that will make it easy for them to eat and digest. So, other solid foods should be broken into little pieces (or made into meals), so that the birds can eat and digest them easily.


  When mixing your feed diet, you should consider the following;


  1. The larger part of the food should be starch: that is to say, about 50 to 60 percent of the total mixture.
  2. Protein should form about 10 to 20 percent of the ratio and minerals 1 percent.
  3. Chicks and growing birds require more proteins than adult birds. Table birds need mainly starchy foods.


Broilers feeding

These proportion in the table below may serve as a guide:



Feed Ingredients   Chicks    Growing birds     Layers

Starch                   50-60%        50-70%         60-70%

Proteins                20-30%        20-30%         10-20%

Minerals                1.5%             1.5%              3-7%

Other foods        to 100%        to 100%         to 100%




Thus, for example, in a quantity of 100 kg mixture for chicks, the ration can be mixed in this way:

Maize (ground into flour)....................................... 60 kg

Cow-pea ( ground into flour ) ................................ 10 kg

Groundnuts (ground into flour) .............................. 10 kg

Fish meal ( ground into flour )................................. 10 kg

Minerals ................................................................. 1.5 kg

Bran ....................................................................... 8.5 kg

Feed addictive ......................................................... 0.5 kg.

 Food scraps from the kitchen, a little grain, and some green food make quite a suitable diet for a few fowls kept for household requirements.


Tips on Chicken Feeding Guide 

  • Don't feed old and moldy feed to your chickens. It can causes ill-health among your flock. 
  • Serve wet or fermented feed on in vessels and not on the floor in the pen
  • Serve your chickens' wet food that they can finish within a short time. Wet food that is not eaten will attract flies or grow moldy and should be cleared away immediately.
  • Provide enough feeder troughs long enough to occupy your chickens for optimal growth
  • Give your confined chickens oyster shells, limes,  if there is evidence of  calcium deficiency, such as many cracked or soft shells and leg weakness

Also read: Blog post: How to hatch chicks naturally at your backyard farm

 What kind of feed do baby chicks need?

Day old chick

Chicks do well on an all-mash feed. Make sure the feed contains the right amounts of all the kinds of food needed for healthy growth and is suitable and easy to eat and digest, and also contains substances that help in bodybuilding.

If maize is fed it should be broken into pieces small enough for the chicks to swallow easily. Some form of protein food such as fish, milk, or meat scraps should be added. Chick mash is sold, in bags that carry the label, by commercial poultry feed manufacturers.

In addition, if you have the luxury, you can give your baby chicks a simple diet of breed (whole grain is best) soaked in milk with eggs. Eggs have the protein and vitamins baby chicks need, and lots of selenium, an important mineral that is not found in many other foods.

In my next post, we are going to look at the nutrient composition and anti-nutritive contents of the various feed ingredients and how we can balance them for optimal results.

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Timi 2 years, 8 months ago

God bless you for this write up sir

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Samuel Ezenwankwo 2 years, 8 months ago

You are welcome Timi. I'm glad you find it helpful.

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Exalted 2 years, 8 months ago

Nice article. Thanks alot. 👍👍👍

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Samuel Ezenwankwo 2 years, 8 months ago

Is alright Exalted, thanks for reading

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