Feeding management deals about the in-house management in which the feed consumption pattern is well understood in the sheds and suitable alterations are made with the feed dosing, adjusting the height of the feeders as per the size of the birds so that there is minimum inconvenience to the birds as well as to ensure there is minimum wastage of the feed.
Summer feeding: The feed intake of the birds will vary according to the environment temperature, hence variation in the energy levels have to be done to ensure sufficient intake of the birds. The level of various nutrient in poultry feed is specified based on the optimum feed intake, if feed intake is reduced to high temperature, the various nutrient consumed declines leading to sub-optimal performance. During summer months the use of only carbohydrate as the source of energy is avoided and the use of oil / fat to supplement part of the energy needs is considered. The level of protein is maintained at optimum and balance of the amino acid should be taken care. Use of heat alleviating nutrient like vitamin C, organic chromium, anion-cation balancing, etc are recommended. In case of broilers during hot hours either the feeders should be raised or emptied to avoid feed intake thereby minimizing mortality due to heat stroke because of the heat increment.
Phase feeding: The laying period (20 to 72 weeks of age) is divided into two or three phases and the feeding during the three phases are modified to the specific needs of nutrient during the phases. In phase 1 (20 to 40 weeks) the protein need is maintained at a slightly high level to take care of the growth and the maximum percent egg production. In phase 2 (41 to 60 weeks) the nutrient specifications are kept at normal level and in phase 3 (60 weeks and above) the special care of calcium nutrition needs is considered as increasing the calcium level in the feed, increasing the vitamin D level, supplementation of shell grit in the feeder during the noon @ 3 g / bird and supplementation of organic acid to increase the calcium absorption. The above measures are needed as the calcium absorption decline as the age of the birds advances leading to egg shell breakage problem.
Calcium nutrition: It has been observed that the calcium need of the bird is increasing over the years as the egg producing capacity is increasing. The layers consume even 25% more feed to meet the calcium need of the bird belying the earlier theory that the birds stop consuming the feed once the energy need is met. On the contrary under field conditions layer chicken with high level of visceral fat has been observed during autopsy examination. This condition has been overcome by challenge feeding of grits either shell or marble during the afternoon hours thereby reducing the excess feed consumption of the hens.
Feeding to improve egg size: This could be achieved by feeding birds with balanced and optimum nutrition and attaining optimum body weight condition during the growing phase (0 to 20 weeks). Increasing the level of protein and methionine in the phase 1 of laying period also helps in achieving the goal.
Water requirement: The water requirement of the birds is usually twice their feed intake and in summer it is four times their feed intake. The water consumption of the flock has to be monitored daily if the consumption is found to be lower than this thumb rule then water lines, drinkers and nipples should be checked for the water output, if the water output is low then productivity will be affected as the birds will drink only to quench their thirst and their production need may not be met.
Economic evaluation: Achieving the best FCR has always been economical, since the cost difference between the major ingredients like corn soy and fillers like rice bran and sunflower meal is narrowing down and the transport cost per unit of filler nutrient is sometimes double that of the nutrients in soy or corn.