Cereal feeds commonly used for chickens and their requirements


1. Corn seeds

Corn contains about 15.9 MJ/kg of metabolizable energy. It has good palatability and is the most ideal energy feed for chickens. The starch content can be as high as 70%, and the crude fiber is about 2%. Its crude protein content is 8.6%~10.9%, and it lacks essential amino acids such as lysine, methionine and tryptophan. Most of various minerals and trace elements cannot meet the needs of chickens. 

The total phosphorus is about 0.25%, of which 50%~60% exists in the form of phytate phosphorus, which is difficult to be absorbed and utilized by chickens. Yellow corn contains carotene and lutein. It can be used to feed layers and broiler breeders to improve the yellow color of eggs and also affect the skin and muscle color of broilers. The crude fat content in corn is about 4%, and some high-oil corn varieties are as high as 10%. If it is left for too long after crushing, it is prone to rancidity. It is advisable to preserve the corn kernels that are airy.

It should be controlled that the moisture content of the corn in the warehouse should be less than 14%, otherwise it is prone to moldy during storage, especially secondary pollution by Aspergillus flavus. The proportion of corn in various chicken feeds is 30% to 70%. When feeding, the corn should be broken into small grains. The chicks can be thinner, and the grains for feeding into chickens or large chickens should be larger, but it is not suitable to be crushed into flour. If it is processed into pellet feed and fed to broilers, it can be ground into flour, which is convenient for mixing and compacting the pellets. The quality standard is that the grains are neat and uniform, the umbilical color is bright, the appearance is white or yellow, and there is no mold, deterioration, agglomeration and peculiar smell, and must not be mixed with substances other than corn, and the total impurities must not exceed 1%.

cracked corn for chickens

2. Sorghum seeds

There are differences in nutritional composition among different sorghum varieties. Sorghum contains about 70% starch and 3% to 4% fat. Its metabolic energy is slightly lower than that of corn in cereals, and the composition of peeled sorghum is similar to that of corn. The crude protein content of sorghum is about 10%, and the quality is poor. The essential amino acids cannot meet the needs of livestock and poultry, especially the low content of lysine, sulfur-containing amino acids and tryptophan. Except iron, all mineral elements can not meet the needs of chickens. 40% to 70% of total phosphorus exists in the form of combining with phytic acid, and poultry's utilization rate of it is low. Sorghum seeds contain tannins, and some varieties contain high tannins. 

Generally, yellow and white sorghum contains 0.2%~0.5% tannin, and brown sorghum contains 0.6%~3.6%. Tannins affect the palatability and utilization efficiency of protein, amino acids and energy, especially for chickens. When the tannin content exceeds 1%, it will significantly affect the digestion and utilization of sorghum by chickens. Sorghum does not contain coloring substances such as carotenoids. In the feed for laying hens and chicks, sorghum should account for less than 15%. The amount of low-tannin sorghum can be higher, and the amount of high-tannin sorghum is lower.

3. Wheat (including sub-flour)

The nutritional components of different sources and varieties of wheat vary greatly. The whole grain contains about 14% crude protein, which is second only to barley in cereals, but the content of essential amino acids is low, especially the content of lysine and threonine. Wheat has a low crude fiber content, and its metabolic energy content is second only to corn. Its mineral and trace element content is better than corn. Half of the total phosphorus is phytate phosphorus. 

The content of B vitamins and vitamin E is high, and carotene, vitamin D and vitamin C are very small. Compared with corn, wheat has a slightly lower feed efficiency for laying hens. Feeding chickens with finely ground wheat can accumulate dough-like substances in the crop, which affects digestion and feed utilization. It is prone to sticky beak and beak necrosis, and it is also easy to produce dirty eggs. When using wheat to feed chickens, it should be coarser, and its proportion in the feed is limited to 10% to 30%.

4. Rice (including brown rice, broken rice)

Rice contains about 8% crude protein, more than 60% nitrogen-free extract, but 8% fiber, lacks essential amino acids such as lysine and methionine, and lacks various essential mineral elements. It must be hulled before eating or feeding. If it is not hulled, it is a low-grade energy feed. Brown rice contains 8%-9% crude protein, which is similar to sorghum. The protein quality is also poor. It contains about 70% starch and 2% crude fat. It has high effective energy value and is a good energy feed. Except for zinc, all the necessary trace elements cannot meet the needs of chickens. 

The effect of feeding adult chickens and laying hens with brown rice is good, but the color of the egg yolk becomes lighter. The nutrient composition of broken rice varies greatly, with crude protein content ranging from 5% to 11%, crude fiber content ranging from 0.2% to 2.7%, and nitrogen-free extracts ranging from 61% to 82%. Broken rice with low crude fiber content and high nitrogen-free extract has the same nutritional value as corn. Its amino acid content also varies greatly, which can not meet the needs of chickens. It can be used in chicken feed by 20%-40%.

5. Barley

The crude protein content and effective energy value of naked barley (highland barley) are higher than that of husk barley; the crude fiber content of husk barley is more than twice that of naked barley, up to 5.9%; the crude fiber content of naked barley is similar to that of corn. Among the cereals, naked barley and barley have a higher protein content, with an average of 11%, and good quality, with a maximum lysine content of 0.6%. Its mineral content is higher in cereals. The feed value of barley to chickens is not as good as corn. Its endosperm contains β-glucan, which will produce viscosity in the gastrointestinal tract. It contains tannins, which affects its palatability and protein digestibility.

When using barley to feed laying hens, the best ratio should be below 10%. Feeding too much barley will significantly reduce the feed utilization rate and increase the number of dirty eggs. Barley can account for 15% to 30% of the feed for the young and hens. It is best not to use barley in broiler feed, because the metabolic energy of barley is about 23% lower than that of corn. Mixing a larger amount of barley into the broiler feed will reduce the feed energy concentration and affect the feed intake, weight gain and feed utilization efficiency of the broiler. Using barley as the main source of amino acids in the feed for the young hens in the late breeding period can inhibit its growth and control Its body weight and fat deposits.

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