- Animals: poultry
- Animal Production: feed/forage
In poultry farming, the major challenge is to find cheaper, readily available and suitable feedstuff that improves egg and meat production. For egg production, the problem of chicken feed could be resolved by utilizing local feeding materials in a simple and low cost production system. Three farmers conducted feeding trials on laying chickens by using a simple feed mixture consisting of copra, tilapia and land crabs. This project also encourages the use of the tilapia, an invasive alien species that has infested most mangrove systems in Yap Islands, as a source of protein in chicken feed. In comparing the local feed mixture with commercial laying feed, egg production was recorded and analyzed for eight months. On average, each chicken fed with the local feed mixture produced 15 dozen eggs while each commercially-fed chicken produced 17 dozen eggs.
Considering the high cost of commercial feed, the farmers found a higher return using the local feed mixture. The materials needed in processing the feed are abundant, although capturing tilapia can be challenging. Using a water pump to drain out pools proved effective but only in certain areas and conditions. Processing and preparing the feed is simple, consisting of grinding fresh copra and cooked land crabs and tilapia and mixing them at 55, 22 and 23 percent respectively to provide a crude protein content of 18%. The three farmers acquired skills in chicken farming, including caring for growing chicks, basic nutritional and housing requirements, record keeping and simple marketing. An outreach program conducted through demonstrations, site visits, technical information and assistance, and educational materials was successful in increasing interest and potential in local egg production.
- Photo description form 2
- Photo description form 3
- Photo Request and Release Form
- Photo description form 1
The major challenge to successful egg production is to find cheaper, readily available and suitable feedstuff that can be processed and formulated to meet the nutritional requirement of laying chickens. The problem of chicken feed could be resolved by utilizing local feeding materials in a simple and low cost production system (Photo 1). Three farmers conducted feeding trials on laying chickens by using a simple feed mixture consisting of copra, tilapia and land crabs. This project also encourages the use of the tilapia, an invasive alien species that has infested most mangrove systems in Yap Islands, as a source of protein in chicken feed.
The Mozambique tilapia (Photo 2) is a pest and is abundant in mangroves and freshwater ponds around Yap Islands. Since its introduction in the 1970s, this aggressive fish has become dominant in mangrove estuaries. This can be seen by their large numbers and groups of various ages and sizes in the mangroves and adjacent freshwater holes, swamps and taro patches (Photo 3). Chemical and biological methods to eradicate them would be extremely difficult, highly expensive and environmentally unsound because this species has already been established not only in their usual freshwater habitats but also in mangrove and brackishwater areas. Thus, cultural methods such as capture and removal may be a simple, safe and cheap (though labor intensive) way of addressing this invasive pest.
Tilapia may have already reached a population level that would make it difficult for many native fish species, including important fishery species, to survive. Competition for food and space with tilapia and the added pressures of regular fishing has resulted in an obvious reduction in several fisheries resources. More importantly, tilapia is not eaten locally because it is commonly viewed as a freshwater species and as such, undesirable for consumption.
Consequently, this invasive species could provide an excellent and stable source of protein for farmers in Yap Islands to increase their livestock production. This would reduce the high cost of and reliance on importing commercial feed for egg production. According to nutritional information on the three feed ingredients (copra, tilapia and land crabs), their nutritional value is sufficient to supply the major nutrient requirement for body growth and maintenance and egg production (Photo 4). The flesh of mature coconut is an excellent source of energy with estimated energy level of 698 kcal/100 g. The crude protein content of land crabs and tilapia are high at up to 33% and 47%, respectively.
The high interest among farmers, communities and individuals generated by this project indicated positive support and demand for this type of agricultural development. An increasing number of farmers are becoming involved in raising chickens, and the demand for local fresh eggs is rising rapidly.
Project objectives:div style="margin-left:1em;">
- 1. Conduct feeding trials on laying chickens by using a local feed mixture consisting of tilapia, land crab and copra. This is a comparative study of the local feed mixture against commercial layer feed, and a combination of both commercial feed and the local feed mixture.
2. Identify sources and fishing methods for capturing tilapia in mangroves.
3. Develop educational materials and train farmers in simple feed production and processing using locally available materials.