The development and introduction of a new broiler starter feed is delivering improved performance, health and production efficiencies, according to British manufacturer of pig and poultry feed, ABN.
Based on successful trial work, looking at nutritional strategies in the early stage of the broiler bird’s life, ABN is reporting impressive results from growers, after it became commercially available earlier this year.
The new formulation has now become the standard starter feed range across 80% of ABN’s broiler customers.
“The first stages of the trial work began back in January 2022, but that in itself was a continuation of work we had been looking at on feed quantities during the first two weeks of the bird’s life,” said Brian Kenyon, ABN’s senior poultry nutritionist.
“We have been looking at different quantities and product form, as well as considering the nutritional components of the starter diets,” he said. “We have worked with growers to look at ways of reducing or changing quantities, while also moving birds onto full pellets earlier when the bird performance allows.”
A key area of the research has focused on meeting nutritional requirements, supporting strong gut health and organ development, as well as strong skeletal development and muscle growth.
“It is essential to meet all the demands of the bird at the starter stage, to support strong growth and healthy development,” said Kenyon.
The trials have shown improvement in European Performance Efficiency Factor (EPEF) levels, reductions in mortality and improvement in leg health, leading to improved welfare.
“For example, we recorded EPEF figures showing a 32-point improvement, representing a significant increase,” said Kenyon.
EPEF figures are based on feed conversion ratios (FCR), life expectancy, live weight and slaughter age of the bird.
Following the success of the initial 12-month commercial scale trial, across nine farms of varying sizes, the new formulation was rolled out with additional customers from the start of this year.
Since April 2023, it has become ABN’s standard broiler starter offering, with customers switching over on a crop-by-crop basis following consultation between ABN’s commercial team and the customer.
“All the results we saw from the commercial scale trial were favourable, and went exactly as we had expected and hoped. This is why we were in a position to roll out the new formulation relatively quickly after the trials had finished,” said Kenyon.
“Our trial work and R&D is very much done in partnership with our customers, to make sure we are addressing the current commercial challenges facing the broiler industry,” said Kenyon.
“Our commercial team works closely with our customers, and that is what enables us to undertake real-site testing and trials to help develop our ranges and meet the commercial objectives of growers,” he said.