Low quality feed slows chicken growth and laying of eggs

A customer choosing eggs at a stall in the Taman Sri Tebrau wet market, Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU: Inferior corn and soybean feed has caused a slow down in chicken growth and affected the production of eggs.

Johor Small and Medium Poultry Breeders’ Association chairman Lau Ka Leng said the chickens usually took about 30 days to grow before they were ready for slaughter.

“Our chickens now need about 35 days before they are ready for slaughter and the same goes for those that produce eggs, leading to a slight slow down in the country's egg production,” he said.

He said corn and soybean feed, supplied by countries such as the United States, Argentina, India and China, had been deteriorating in terms of quality since the beginning of the year.

This is a problem faced by poultry breeders globally, he said, adding that the situation could not be avoided because of weather factors that affected the growth of such plants.

Lau said poultry breeders were still paying the same amount or more (following the weakening of the ringgit) for feed that was not up to the mark, at about RM2,000 per tonne.

“Like humans, the chickens’ health is affected and tend to fall sick more often as the feed they eat is of lower quality,” he said, adding that farmers had to find alternative measures to neutralise the situation and ensure that the chickens were healthy.

However, Lau said the slight slow down in egg production was not necessarily a bad thing for the market where there was an oversupply a few months ago.

“As some egg farmers temporarily ceased exporting eggs since February, there was more supply than demand.

“This resulted in many suppliers selling eggs at cheap prices, some as low as 5sen apiece, to clear the perishables and prevent them from rotting,” he said, adding that about 20 million eggs were produced each day in the country.

He also said fresh eggs could usually be kept up to a week and anytime beyond that, suppliers would be marking down the price to get rid of the stock.

Lau added that the situation was improving as the export of eggs had resumed to normal coupled with the slow down in egg production.

Johor was one of the top two producers of chicken in the country, contributing 40% of the nation’s consumption.

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