The issue bedevilling poultry production is more of an output thing than the cost of maize.
Most poultry farms are operating at between 70% and 75% hen day production even at peak production. This is due to poor rearing condition of most the pullets purchased at point of lay.
Most of these birds are stocked with very poor flock uniformity and in most cases are underweight. A farmer recently took delivery of 10,000 birds at 16weeks with an average weight of 900g with the weight of the flock ranging from 700g to 1.3kg. Definitely those birds will never attain good peak performance in lay once they start laying.
The rearing period (day old to 18 weeks) is the most important period in the life of the future layer.
For the farmers who are milling their feed, altering your formula by reducing the energy value of your feed may not really be the solution. Any reduction in the energy value of the feed would definitely affect the production negatively.
For a farmer to break even in this industry your % percentage hen day production must oscillate between 80% to 93% over a 7 months period. This can only be achieved by rearing your birds properly to achieve good flock uniformity and a good weight at point of lay.
Once your egg output is good (80% to 92%)and your getting good price for your eggs (850 naira per crate to 1000 per crate)then you are good to go. With the current price of maize, the cost of producing a kg of good quality layers mash is between 125 naira per kg to 140 naira per kg. It could even be higher depending on how you source your raw materials.
Farmers should concentrate in rearing their birds properly so that the full genetic potential of the breed can be attained.
Dr Daniel Okeke is a Poultry Veterinarian based in Abuja.