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It pays to read the feed label

We all know that it’s what’s inside that counts, but in respect to animal feed, taking time to look at what’s on the outside of the bag can help to avoid potentially costly animal performance or health issues.

Let’s look at some of key elements given on a bag label for example, NRM Chick Starter Crumble.

Feeding recommendations:
Refers to what age, class of stock or species the feed has been manufactured for, as well as how much to feed, how frequently and for how long. NRM Chick Starter Crumble is an optimal feed for a growing chicken up until about 8 weeks of age, when their growth rate slows. Consequently, they need to be switched onto a lower protein feed with less energy, so they do not become too fat. NRM Pullet Grower is a good option here. To help prevent digestive upsets, always be sure to gradually transition them over several days onto any new feed.

Typical analysis:
NRM lifestyle feeds are typically declared on an ‘as-fed’ basis, whereas calf feeds are on a dry matter basis – this is worth noting when comparing brands. Each feed has a typical analysis revealing the energy and protein of the feed, but the nutritional parameters stated can differ from feed to feed. To provide peace of mind, our quality assurance program includes regular laboratory analysis to ensure a feed is of an expected quality and is nutritionally ‘in spec’ — as stated on the label.

Ingredients selected from:
Each feed product is specifically formulated by a Nutritionist from a range of raw ingredients to ensure that it is fit for purpose and provides optimal nutrition depending on the animal’s species, age, lifestyle, productive or performance requirements.

Coccidiostat:
Is a medicated feed additive included in some feeds to help protect against the protozoa parasite, Coccidia. Identifying that there is a coccidiostat in a feed is important as, for some nontarget species, a coccidiostat can be harmful — particularly for dogs, horses, donkeys, alpacas and llamas.

Withholding period:
This is the recommended time interval after an animal has consumed the feed, before any derived products can be safely consumed by people (whether that be meat, milk, or eggs). For example, NRM Chick Starter Crumble has a 10-day egg withholding period, as it contains a coccidiostat.

Feed Safe New Zealand:
Is an independent organisation that sets production and quality control standards, ensuring that the feed is manufactured in a facility that produces feeds of an expected quality.

Do not feed to any animal species other than those stipulated on the label – even gamebirds have a different requirement to chickens. It is most important that you only give feed from within the bag to those species stipulated on the label, or at least check first if you are considering feeding it to an animal that is not on the label.

For further information refer to the label on the bag, product specification sheet, or the friendly team at your local Farmlands store.

Article supplied by Tiffany Menzies