“The new layer feed diets, VITAFOCUS, have been specifically designed using the most innovative ingredients and latest research to enhance ForFarmers’ existing layer ranges”, comments Andrew Burley, Poultry Sales Director. VITAFOCUS is aimed to help support producers meet the changing requirements of local market conditions while continuing to support producers business objectives and maximise their returns.
Enhancing the existing range
The new layer feed range, VITAFOCUS has been created to employ the research undertaken by the NIC to enhance the existing ranges, Supreme Free Range, Prestige and Caledonian. ForFarmers is using its latest research to update its existing brand ranges to keep ahead of the genetic changes of the laying hen while maintaining its focus on the importance of gut health. “We have been keen to ensure we maintain the current high performance standards of the existing diets, but use our research to build in further enhancements with latest thinking, resulting in a new approach to feeding the laying hen”, comments Steve Wilson, ForFarmers Poultry Nutritionist.
ForFarmers has undertaken research which supports their “total feed” approach and the importance of meeting the nutritional requirements of the laying hen throughout its lifetime.
The new layer product range, VITAFOCUS is designed to provide the nutritional requirements of hens from 16 weeks of age through to the extended periods of lay, beyond the standard 72 weeks. In order to satisfy the hen throughout its whole life, the VITAFOCUS feeding regimes have been redesigned to cover three key areas of the hens life; the transition period, peak lay through to the extended laying cycle.
“The main objective of lifetime feeding is to ensure birds from all production systems receive the right nutrition at the right time in their laying cycle thus maximising their productive output at all stages of their life”, comments Andrew Fothergill, ForFarmers UK National Poultry Advisor. To support this, ForFarmers has undertaken research to test how nutrition can support the productive capacity of the laying hen in periods of extended lay and has also identified the importance of the transition period to support the growth and development of the bird in the weeks leading to the onset of lay, helping ensure the bird gets the best start to its productive life.
The Transition Period
According to ForFarmers, the “Transition period”, between rearing and onset of lay, is vitally important in the development of hens. “At this time, hens require the correct nutrient density to support a significant body weight gain alongside the start of egg production at a period where feed intake may be challenged” comments Steve Wilson, ForFarmers Poultry Nutritionist, “the challenge is ensuring the birds get the correct nutrition at a time when they are experiencing rapid physiological changes while being expected to start producing eggs”.
ForFarmers transition feeding helps support producers to produce a robust bird capable of maximising egg output or size once in lay and have introduced Pre Lay to support their existing diets; Prestige Advance, Advance Plus and Advance 248 to support this.
Extending the laying period
Recent genetic advancements in laying hens has meant many producers now choose to maintain their hens productive life for longer than the standard 72 week cycle. However, ForFarmers Andrew Fothergill believes this can also impact the shell quality of older birds.
ForFarmers has developed the Sustain brand which will support hens to continue producing eggs in longer laying cycles and helps reduce the increased risk of seconds in this period. Mr Fothergill states that “in using a specific source of vitamins and minerals and an enhanced energy and amino acid profile, Sustain is designed to maintain shell quality in longer periods of lay”.
A feed range designed for all production systems
The VITAFOCUS range has been designed to enhance and develop ForFarmers existing layer feed brands; Supreme Free Range, Prestige and Caledonian. “Our brands have been designed to support producers using all production systems” comments Andrew Burley, ForFarmers Poultry Sales Director, “however we recognise that the industry is constantly evolving and therefore have to develop and enhance our products to anticipate and provide for our customer’s needs”
“One of our developments has been to increase the yolk pigment for producers and retailers requiring a darker yolk colour. In the Supreme Free Range diets we use natural yolk pigments, whilst in the Prestige range we use nature identical yolk pigments to further enhance yolk colour” continues Mr Burley.
“As a total feed business our approach ensures we meet the nutritional requirements of the bird from after rearing to extended periods of lay.”
For more information on the new layer feed range, VITAFOCUS click here