How Many Bags Of Feed Do I Need For Poultry Farm?

This is a quick guide for answering the question: “how many bags of feed do I need for ‘X’ broilers or layers?

This question is an important part of building up the preparation you need in order to calculate poultry farming profit.

Maize Grain Commercial Chicken Feed

Poultry feed is typically regarded worldwide as the no.1 most influential factor affecting poultry prices

You might say:

Poultry feed prices determine your price for chicken meat or eggs.

Therefore when putting together your start-up poultry business on paper, it’s critical in the earliest stages to accurately estimate your feed expense.


With pen and paper ready, we ask the question:

How many bags of feed do I need for my poultry farm? #

The following is a step by step approach to simply calculating your feed requirement (as a number of bags) either for a layer or broiler poultry farm.

Let’s begin…

Step 1: Define the type of bird you want to feed? Layer or broiler? etc. #

Why is this important?

Because each type bird:

  • By function…
    • e.g. Layer or broiler;
  • By breed…
    • e.g. Rhode Island Red or Leghorn;

…has it’s own feed consumption profile.

In other words…

Each type of bird will eat both differing amounts of…:

  • feed volume
  • & also, balance of nutritional content within the feed

Broiler bird

Step 2: Define the age of the birds in question… #

Why is this important?

Because your chickens will demand different amounts of food & nutritional composition at different ages.

…almost 7x times the feed demand of a week old chick.

Broiler bird

Step 3: Rearing system and flock size of your farm… #

Why is this important?

The overall size of your farm dictates the magnitude of the feed demand.

The larger your flock, the greater demand your farm will have for food.

Simple enough.

But let’s dig a little deeper…

Understand that your rearing system also makes a difference.

How the birds are reared reflects the total number of batches of birds raised at one time.

Also, as explained in the previous step, we see that coupled with this, the age of each batch of birds matters.

This is where the rearing systems have importance, because they dictate how the birds are grouped.

Typically, it’s by age.


Because birds of the same breed, bought at the same time, of the same age should have almost identical growth patterns…

And thus feed requirement.

Now this enables you to plan your feed budgeting accurately.

But do birds of the same batch always grow at similar rates?

Not always.

Thy should express what is called uniformity, but it’s not guaranteed.

What is uniformity?

… percent of individual weights which occur within 10% of the current flock average” – Hyline Layer Guide

Why is this important?

In order to keep your handling & feeding routine as consistent and error-free as possible with layer birds…

Where there is ‘significant’ disparity of weight (low uniformity) between layers of one batch, for example…

It is advised that you further segment the batch into cohorts based on relative weight, for continued rearing.

Factors affecting uniformity of weight among layers are typically:

  • disease,
  • crowding,
  • lack of perches etc…

Where your house management is on par, your uniformity will be excellent and the feed demand will remain consistent and predictable.

…to get accurate figures you can rely on, you’ll have to tally up the feed requirement of each batch based on batch size & age.

Broiler bird

Let’s run through some exercises… #


How many bags of feed for 100 layers? #

  • Meet John who lives in Accra, Ghana 
  • John recently moved into a new smallholding residence with a wooden outhouse
  • He has ambitions of using his outhouse to run a small layer poultry farm enterprise for side income
  • Whilst considering his input figures for cost – John comes across articles such as “Government urged to reduce price of maize…” and:
    • …decides to carefully calculate the amount of feed, by number of bags, he would need to feed his 100 layers:

John’s poultry feed estimate: #

The figure John wants to arrive at with this exercise is total number of bags required to feed 100 layer birds over the 72 week laying period (…this being the rearing duration of optimal commercial profitability for layer hens):

In researching layer bird feed online, John finds the following table (within the Hyline Management commercial breeders) estimating the feed requirement of a single layer at intervals of 1 week at a time…

  • from day 1 until week 72

Johns quotes from the PDF document the estimated total amount of feed consumed by a commercial layer bird to be:

  • 48,944 g (on average) over 72 weeks

If John achieves his goal of buying 100 layers, his feed requirement will therefore be:

100 x 48,944 g =

4,894,400 g


4,894 kg


4.894 tonnes

…for 72 weeks of rearing.

Depending on the size of feed bags John intends to buy, naturally his number of bags required will vary accordingly:

For example #

If John bought 15 kg bags of layer feed

He would require the following number of bags to feed his layers for the 72 week period:

= 4,894 kg / 15 kg

= 327 bags (rounded up the nearest whole number)

Again, if John bought 25 kg bags of layer feed

He would require the following number of bags to feed his layers for the 72 week period:

= 4,894 kg / 25 kg

= 196 bags (rounded up the nearest whole number)


Happy with his calculations, John goes to market to request some quotes for layer feed from manufacturers.


How many bags of feed for 50 broilers? #

  • Meet Leonard, he lives Lusaka, Zambia  
  • He works full time as a market trader in New Soweto Market, Lusaka
  • His usual produce for sale at market is Chibwabwa amongst other vegetables
  • Leonard recently has seen an increase in demand for chicken meat at market
  • Few traders sell at reliable prices and he sees a gap which he could close
  • Leonard makes the decision to try his hand at rearing broilers…

Leonard’s poultry feed estimate: #

The question on Leonard’s mind with this poultry feed estimation exercise is:

“How many bags of feed will he need for 50 broilers for 7 weeks of rearing?”

Having researched online for reliable numbers, Leonard comes across this Broiler Production Guide by Livestock Feed Limited (Mauritius).

He reads the quotation enclosed which shows a cumulative feed consumption for 100 broilers over the 49 days (7 weeks) of growth.

The cumulative figure is this:

= 531 kg

…but again, this is the figure for 100 broilers.

To get the relative number for 50 broilers…

Simply halve the figure, giving:

= 265.5 kg to feed 50 broilers over 7 weeks of rearing to achieve market weight

  • [for the record…market broiler weight = 2.7 kg in 49 days (7 weeks)]

But how many bags of broiler feed would Leonard need to bring his first batch of 50 broilers to being market ready?

It really depends on the size of bags…

If Leonard buys 15 kg bags of broiler feed, his requirement will be:

= 265.5 kg / 15 kg

= 18 bags of broiler feed for 50 broilers to achieve market weight in 7 weeks

Alternatively, if Leonard buys 25 kg bags of broiler feed, his requirement will be:

=  265.5 kg / 25 kg

= 11 bags of broiler feed for 50 broilers to achieve market weight in 7 weeks


Are you ready to take the plunge and calculate how many bags of feed you require for your poultry project?

Remember to take note of the industry benchmarks for feed consumption available in the PDF links (in the examples above).

Any problems or queries, simply “Ask A Question

Happy poultry farming!

Do you have a specific question relating to your poultry farming ambition?

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