Andrew Fothergill, National Poultry Advisor at ForFarmers advises on the importance of nutrition for broiler performance at the finisher stage.
After the grower phase, broiler production moves into the critical finisher stage, where producers are focusing on hitting target weights to maximise the profitability of their birds.
As generational improvements in genetics have led to faster growth rates, it’s never been more important for producers to capitalise on these gains for a healthy and successful finish.
Every day counts throughout this relatively short cycle, so paying close attention to various factors will support producers in achieving their goals.
Nutrition at finish
Utilising a good quality feed that is uniquely formulated for each stage and introduced at the right time is critical to gaining healthy birds at finish.
ForFarmers APOLLO broiler range includes two finisher diets – APOLLO Finisher and APOLLO Finisher Premium – to meet broiler producers’ different business objectives, be it maximising growth or reducing FCR.
Both diets are developed to provide optimal nutrition for the finishing birds. The Premium Finisher Diet is specifically designed to deliver superior performance where production systems allow for the full realisation of the feed and birds’ potential.
The finisher range is most effective when followed on from the APOLLO Grower and Starter feeds, as the entire APOLLO diet has been designed to support feed consumption and growth.
It is recommended that the finisher feed is introduced from day 24 or once vaccinations such as Gumboro have been completed.
The in-feed anticoccidial medication transfers to a full ionophore programme that best uses the birds’ natural immunity to manage coccidiosis.
The APOLLO finisher feeds have an increased calorific density to support tissue growth in the bird to furnish the frame with meat and deliver further growth. The bird is best able to cope at this stage as it’s sound frame and vascular system are developed.
In the same way that diets need to be closely monitored through the stages of a broiler’s life, their environmental conditions need to be comfortable to support their healthy growth and development.
For nutrition to work effectively, it should be treated as a cog which is dependent on other cogs turning at the same time.
If environmental changes are made without considering other factors, it can have a detrimental impact on feed consumption and growth.
Particular attention needs to be paid to managing the environmental temperature profile at thinning.
The birds have been used to a higher stocking density which inevitably leads to more temperate conditions, so when their proximity is altered at thinning, the environmental temperature profile needs to be adjusted accordingly.
Optimum health at finish is supported by tailored nutrition for the birds throughout their lives. Trials led by ForFarmers broiler specialists saw a 3.8% increase in average body weights and a 2.2% reduction in FCR using Apollo nutrition.
The trials also showed that the Apollo feeding programmes led to a 30% reduction in mortality.
The nutritional benefits combined with the tailored feeding schedule is specifically designed to minimise bird stress, maintaining feed consumption and growth throughout the broiler life stages.
The modern broiler producer is constantly striving for continual improvement in their bird and business performance.
Central to this is producing a fast and efficiently growing broiler to high welfare standards.
The ForFarmers APOLLO DataView app enables customers to analyse their broiler data to measure success and drive healthier returns.
This allows producers to easily record critical data, including water consumption, daily mortality and vaccine application details.
They can then monitor this data over a specified timeframe and analyse results in a graph format.
Utilising this digital tool supports producers in building on the foundations from the starter phase by carefully maintaining health and growth in readiness for the broiler’s finisher phase.
The ForFarmers Apollo diet has been designed to improve broiler growth, feed conversion ratios and support skeletal development and gut health to help broiler producers maximise their profitability and achieve their business objectives.