Do you know that poultry manure makes an excellent feed supplement for cattle, goats and sheep? Poultry manure is high in urea and is a source of nitrogen, which improves the environment in the animal’s rumen (stomach).
Feeding poultry waste (litter and manure) to ruminants is well documented in the livestock literature and is now practiced in many countries. We can now say that, since the first published experiments in 1955, the use of broiler litter as a feed and forage substitute for beef cattle has been well established.
Feeding poultry manure is useful where large numbers of poultry are kept in houses. Cattle-raisers can use the droppings from their own poultry, or get manure from commercial chicken farms.
- The urea in the manure makes the animals healthy and fat.
- Poultry manure is readily available.
- Poultry manure can carry bacteria that cause salmonella and coccidiosis disease. Animals that eat it may become ill if the manure is not sun-dried well enough.
You will require a sack, bag or container to put the manure. You also need a Sieve and a shovel.
- Dry the manure properly in the sun to kill any bacteria.
- Feed dairy cows with the manure-concentrate mixture once a day. You can feed non-dairy animals with the mixture twice a day.
- If you store the manure, keep it dry.
- Don’t give the manure mixture to young cattle less than 5 months old, or to sheep and goats less than 3 months old. They can catch salmonella and coccidiosis easily, and their rumens have not yet developed enough to be able to digest the manure properly.
- Don’t feed wet manure.
Based on current knowledge, the following major conclusions can be drawn:
- Poultry wastes can be incorporated in beef rations up to a maximum of 40% dry matter of the complete ration without affecting overall performance and carcass quality.
- Higher levels of poultry waste—up to 70%—can be used for replacement herds, beef cows and maintenance periods of cattle in general.
- In feeding poultry wastes to beef cattle, the first limiting factor is energy. High-energy feeds such as grain, root crops, fruit waste and molasses should therefore be incorporated to balance poultry-waste based rations.
- A secondary limiting factor in feeding poultry wastes, particularly layer wastes, is a high ash content which limits the level of poultry wastes that can be used.
- Prior to feeding, poultry wastes must be processed by either drying, ensiling, chemical treatment or other processes to reduces the microbial count and eliminate pathogens.
- Carcass yield and quality are not affected by rations containing poultry wastes, but rations have to be carefully balanced.
- Incorporation of poultry waste into beef cattle rations has a great impact on the economics of beef production, provided the rations are properly balanced.