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The Impact of Hardness and Durability in Poultry Feed

The hardness and durability of feed has a major impact on the health and growth of poultry (chicken, turkey, duck…) and their corollaries: average daily gain and live weight cost price. What factors can influence these technical parameters?

Hardness and durability are two characteristics of the presentation of poultry feed pellets.
Durability reflects how the pellet holds up during the phases of transportation, from the feed mill to the animal’s beak. It is now measured with a SABE device.
Hardness is more a reflection on the state of the shell of the pellet. It is measured with different types of tools (Kahl device).
The feed pellets are usually distributed to chickens at around 20 days; and to guinea fowl and turkey at around 30 days. This shows the importance of evaluation for all poultry.
The presentation of the pellets must encourage non-rationed animals to consume, provided that the hardness and durability allow it.

What are the effects if the pellets are too hard?

Feed that is too hard can cause sorting phenomena by the animals. We find lots of feed in the litter. The animals search for pellets less hard and reject the others. During this time, we see a decrease in consumption and ingested feed and therefore reduced weight gains.

What are the consequences of poor durability?

A feed provided with poor durability will slow ingestion of the animal, and above all make it drink more. We will therefore see digestion disorders, and a degradation of the litter. This degradation will accentuate the digestive disorders because the animal sleeps with its bellies against the litter.

What is a “good” presentation of feed?

It is generally said that if we reach the first third of the building, and no longer find any dust in the feeders but only pellets, then the durability is correct. For chicken, durability around 80 seems to give the best results, while for turkey it should be around 90.
Five factors driving durability in feed mills are, in order of importance:

  • the feed formula in the sense of its composition of raw materials : fatty  materials like corn are not durable while wheat is a good factor for durable pellets ;

  • the particle size of the flour of the feed before pelletising: the more fine the grinding, the more durable the feed will be ;

  • preparation of the flour before entering the press :  the quality of the steam injection ;

  • the compressing power of the die ;

  • the cooling period.

The hardness and durability of feed are often linked, but it is not always the case. However, the productivity of the livestock highly depends on this complex issue. The TECHNA Group puts at your disposal their feed mills, nutritionist and zoo technician experts. They propose solutions to ensure the development and prosperity of a production. For more information, do not hesitate to contact to contact them!

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