Turkey production and management experts have linked poor feed form to:
- Increased feed conversion rates
- Reduced body weights
- Delayed physiological development
- Lower enteric health
Higher quality feed leads to improved turkey production and management through disease mitigation and improved feed conversion.
Higher Quality Feed Promotes Turkey Performance
Impact of physical feed quality on commercial turkey production has been studied and authored by nutritionist Marcus Kenny.This research was broken down into three primary observations:
- Turkey poult preference for crumb size in the first three weeks
- Feed Form impact on body weight gain and FCR in the first 20 weeks
- Feed Form impact on gut health
Examination of commercial turkey poult feeding preferences found that poults consistently preferred to consume large crumble sizes over three weeks. In this study, poults were offered three different turkey feed crumble sizes.
- Small – less than 1 mm
- Medium – between 1-2 mm
- Large – over 2 mm
Poults were offered the three options and allowed to feed free choice. Consumption of each feed was measured daily. Throughout the trial, poults selected medium and large turkey feed crumbles. Results showed that total feed consumption comprised 13.1% of the small crumbles, 31.9% of the medium crumbles and 55.1% of the large crumbles.
To evaluate poor feed form impact on turkey body weight gain and feed conversion rates, researchers fed birds un-sieved crumbles and 50:50 pellets to fines turkey feeds for the first 20 weeks.
Control birds were fed sieved crumbles and intact pellets.
At 20 weeks, it was observed that poor feed form led to a 12.3% reduction in turkey body weight and increased feed conversion rates by 36%. Researchers note that these trends were evident as early as three weeks and continued for the duration of the trial. In addition, examination of the breast meat saw a yield decrease of 7.5%, indicating reduced physiological development.
Lastly, researchers looked at the impact of feed form on turkey gut health in the first 12 weeks. Birds fed diets with poor feed form had reduced enteric health compared to birds fed turkey feed with higher physical quality. It was observed that poor feed form led to an increased incidence of gut leakage and higher enteric scores. A direct correlation between increased fines and increased enteric scores was observed.
How to Protect Turkey Feed Quality
It is recommended that turkey producers aim for less than 10% fines in their diets. Making it essential to sample and examine feed form at both the mill and feed pan to ensure that feed form meets turkey feed requirements. Feed form is likely to be higher at the mill but degrade on its journey to the farm and feeder.
Protecting feed form, optimizing feed nutritional value and enhancing commercial turkey production are best accomplished by implementing solutions that improve the following:
- Feed form – more whole pellets at the point of consumption reduces feed waste, protects gut health and supports turkey production and management goals.
- Nutrient availability – Ensuring gelatinized starch in grains leads to better nutrient digestibility.
- Feed microbial quality – reducing the available moisture (free water) in feed mitigates bacterial and mold growth.
Improving turkey feed pellet quality requires effective moisture management. Feed moisture is best controlled by promoting its penetration and retention in feed and feed ingredients. Moisture retention in feed and feed particles is enhanced by reducing the surface tension of water.
Moisture retained inside feed particles during conditioning and pressing acts as a heat conduit and enhances even thermal transfer throughout the meal. Even heat distribution through the feed, facilitated by retained moisture, improves starch gelatinization and pellet quality.
Poor moisture distribution and absorption result in more friction at the die and consequently higher Delta T's, leading to hard, brittle pellets. In contrast, moisture challenges leading to poor starch gelatinization and protein binding result in soft, breakable pellets.
Maxi-Mil gives producers the power to enhance turkey feed moisture retention and gelatinization. Anitox data from over 50 commercial mills demonstrates that Maxi-Mil improves pellet durability and reduces fines. Turkey feed with fewer fines supports turkey production and management through increased body weights, lower feed intake, improved FCR and enhanced health and performance.
To learn more about how feed pathogen control can support turkey production and management, contact your clean feed expert today.