Sex-separate feeding in broiler breeder flocks is a basic condition for reaching good fertility. There are some possibilities how to technically solve the problem of feeding males.
An optimal system:
- Allows all birds (males and females) to eat to their requirement
- Guarantees that both sexes can eat exclusively out of their "own" feeders
- Guarantees that the feed amount for each group is evenly distributed
- Offers for all birds sufficient and simultaneous access to the feed
- Provides possibility of starting eating in the whole house at the same time
Feeding males can be organized by:
- Removing a part (4-6%) of grill from the female feeding chain.
Usually males learn quickly where to find the feed and they effectively crowd out females from designated places. This is the simplest but also the worse solution as we have no full control over the real consumption.
- Installing a special automatic line for males.
Industry offers different feeding systems for males, mainly as single scroll conveyor with the round feeders on it. Access for females is restricted by placing male feeders on an elevated level (ca 50 cm.). These systems work well but need a substantial investment. Essential is to keep feeders at the proper level.
- Installing manual systems.
There are different solutions - from single manual feeders to long troughs hanging on the winches. Feeders can be either placed on a fixed elevation or winched. The best are long troughs on the winches, which are filled in on the day before and put down during feeding time. They should consist of units of 2-6 meters long providing an access of 20 cm. rim for one male. As they are much heavier than the single feeders, they swing less and give a better access. Manual systems - if operated well - can be an excellent solution.
The best way of judging if the system functions properly is to observe the flock at feeding.
Focus should then be on the following items:
- How much time is necessary to make all birds eat?
As quicker it is, the better. It should not be more than 3 minutes. Birds running after feed in the house indicate that organization of feeding needs improvement.
- Do males eat from the female feeders or opposite?
If males eat from the females, check the quality of grill and its installation. Be aware however not to exclude the biggest females from the female feeders. If females eat from the male system, check height of male feeders or level the litter around them.
- Can all birds access feed at the same time?
If not, check the sufficiency of the number of feeders, quick and equal distribution of feed, and feeders swinging too much when pressed by birds during eating.
- Check content of male feeders 30-60 minutes after feeding!
If there is still feed remaining it means that males either could not reach it (too high) or they do not need it (maybe because they can easily eat from the females).