poultryNutritionsignboard.jpg   Mission


To enhance Poultry Production and Nutrition through research, development and technology
transfer using relevant, recent and innovative nutritional and feeding approaches.

The South African Poultry Industry consists of three distinct and separate divisions:

  1. the day-old chick supplier industry

  2. the broiler industry and

  3. the egg production industry

The science of poultry nutrition involves providing a balance of nutrients that best meet the bird's needs for growth and development, maintenance, and production. The supply of nutrients should be refined to preclude over and under supply of nutrients while considering economic and environmental implications. It is elusive and expensive to simultaneously supply all nutrients to meet the exact nutrient requirement of the birds. Therefore, an ideal protein concept is generally exercised. The ideal protein can be defined as one that provides the exact balance of amino acids needed for optimum performance and maximum growth of chickens.  It is essential amino acids in dietary protein that a bird requires and not the protein per se. In poultry diets, first and second limiting amino acids include methionine and lysine, respectively.  In formulating diets the following nutrients are considered:

  • Energy; Protein; Animo Acids; Fat; Vitamins; Minerals and Water

With the exception of water, these nutrients are provided by the ingredients that make up the diet. Ingredients are classified as:
  • Grain; Animal Proteins; Plant Proteins; Fats; Micro and Macro Minerals; Vitamin Premixes and Amino acids premixes

​Each of these separate types of ingredient provides a specific quantity and quality of nutrients to the diet. Balancing these ingredients to produce the diet formulation relies on the skill of the nutritionist.

In order to produce a diet, the nutritionist must know the birds' needs and the composition of the ingredients.

Formulation = Balance needs vs ingredients vs costs.

Why Poultry?

  • Poultry meat and eggs are primary sources of quality animal protein.

  • Poultry is affordable meat with a large customer demand.

  • Broiler chickens are marketable in a short space of time (5 to 6 weeks).

  • Today layers will provide an egg almost every day and after a year they can be marketed as spent hens to pay for replacement hens plus a small profit.

  • Broiler and layer accommodation requires less space than ruminant animal production systems.

  • Poultry production provides a constant source of income for entrepreneurs and related processing industries.

  • Poultry production has the potential to expand from a small to medium scale enterprise as and when money becomes available.


The main service providers involved in the poultry industry are:

  • Suppliers of day-old chicks and pullets

  • Suppliers of equipment

  • Feed suppliers

  • Veterinary suppliers

  • Institutions providing training and technology transfer


The Poultry Nutrition section is involved in:

  • Conducting research that investigates the impact of poultry production factors and nutrition on bird health, performance and food safety

  • Promoting healthy and safer production of poultry meat and eggs through adequate feeding and nutrition

  • Conducting research with partners and stakeholder including producers, processors, communities, universities, and public agencies

  • Providing demonstrations and regular poultry production and nutrition advisory services

  • Participating in information dissemination activities aimed at informing the poultry industry

  • Conducting  accredited training courses in poultry production for poultry farmers as mandated by AGRISETA


Poultry training courses (accredited and non-accredited options) include the following topics:

  • South African Poultry Industry

  • Farming Systems

  • Record Keeping

  • Poultry Housing and Basic Equipment

  • Care and Rearing of Chicks

  • Care and Rearing of Pullets

  • Care of Laying Hens

  • Quality of Eggs

  • Poultry Nutrition

  • Health Management

  • Litter Management

  • Manure Handling

  • Fly control and Biosecurity

  • Financial Management and Marketing

poultry2small.jpg Broiler chick 

poultry3-small.jpg
Layer chickens

poultry1.jpg
Poultry Feed

poultry5.jpgDr X.P Nduku – Researcher – Poultry Nutrition

poultry6.jpgDr C.N Ncobela – Researcher Poultry

IMG_20210318_130757.jpg Environmentally controlled broiler house 

poultry7.jpg Feeding trial conducted at ARC- AP
Poultry Nutrition Facility

Our current research areas

  • Broiler and layer research on alternative feeding and other technologies for cost reduction

  • Use of alternative feed additives to replace antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) in poultry feeds

  • Effects of multiphase feeding on digestibility and gut health of poultry

  • Breeding and genetics to improve local production systems, indigenous chickens. The conservation and utilisation of indigenous chickens, to improve food security

  • Intervention for improving small scale production system


Developed knowledge base is also used for:

  • Technology transfer, i.e. presenting at courses, farmers days, training of students from tertiary institutions, farmers. Development of manuals, books and leaflets, Provincial Department of Agriculture and farmers

  • Mentorship to emerging farmers

  • Taking part in industry group and tertiary education meetings

  • Refereeing of articles for scientific journal

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