The bird pictured on the left was raised on a mixture of 50% corn and 50% alfalfa. There was a small amount of minerals, trace minerals, and vitamins supplemented to the diet by means of adding 50 lbs. of a range cow mineral per ton of finished feed.
As you can see, this bird is very fat with little muscle development. The feather growth is minimal indicating the body does not have sufficient reserves of adequate nutrition to grow normal feathers.
If you look closely at this picture, you can see the leg bone running up through the leg muscle. This is another indication that very little muscle growth took place on this bird other than just enough for it to survive.
The picture on the left is the same bird as pictured above and was taken 60 days after being changed to the Blue Mountain 20% Grower formula feeding program.
As you can see, this is a male bird and his black wing feathers are starting to shoot out. The tail and body feathers are already very long with a healthy appearance indicating excellent body health. Most all of the excess fat that was on this bird 60 days prior has disappeared. The leg muscles have shown much increased growth along with back muscles. The body has lengthened and the bird appears to be going through another growth spurt.
Most birds raised totally on Blue Mountain feed formulations will look like this picture at 10-11 months of age. This bird is now 14 months of age. At least 3 months of feed was wasted getting this bird to this point. Even though the alfalfa/corn feeding was less expensive per pound, it did not produce the growth and meat weight gains needed for cost effective production.
The chicks in Photo 1 are 9 weeks of age. The large chick (an African Black) weighed in at 21.5 kgs (47.3 lbs) at 8 weeks of age.
Good growth in these early weeks is dependent on a strong chick at hatch to ensure a good start in life. This is mainly determined by ensuring that the parental breeder birds receive sufficient NUTRIENTS in the diet the entire year.
Note the deep body and long frame developing on the chick. Productive growth at this stage, when feed conversion rates are at their optimum, is the key to cost effective production of slaughter birds--and birds destined for future breeders.
The chicks in Photo 2 are also 9 weeks of age. They are rather typical of the best examples found on many farms today. The current general average of this type of chick is around 12 kgs (26.4 lbs) at 8 weeks of age.
Note the rounded body, smaller size, without much length to the frame. All these factors are indicators that the chick has missed out on some quick and cost effective growth during its first 2 months of life.
Photo 3 shows some Blue Mountain fed chicks that are 5 months of age. These are Black African breed chicks of which many in this group weighed in at over 60 kgs (132 lbs) at this stage.
Note in this picture the feather coat and tail feather length. Blue Mountain has found that a strong indicator of overall bird health is the length of feather, fullness of feather coat, and length/thickness of tail feathers.
When the feathers have this ability to grow to the extent of this photo, it clearly implies that the feed formula had sufficient reserve nutrients to accomplish this feat. In all animals, feathers and hair are the last thing to show "luster", length and thickness in the metabolic path. The bird instinctively cares for all other needs first the best it can--if anything is left over in reserve, it will then grow feathers beautifully as shown in this photo.
It is also important to note in Photo 3 that ALL the golden tipped chick feathers have moulted and been replaced with an adolescent feather coat. Many chicks of this age on "less than desireable" feeding programs will still show chick feathers (especially around the base of the neck) at this age.
Photo 4 is an example of some Blue Mountain fed chicks at 15 weeks of age.
Again, note the full feather coat and the length of tail feathers. A good indicator that this chick has all the nutrients it needs for the fastest growth and weight gains possible.
Looking closely at Photo 4, you can witness a few gold tipped chick feathers still remaining on its body, but the wings have already started to grow the adolescent feathers.
Photo 5 is another picture of some Blue Mountain fed chicks at 15 weeks of age.
Note the length of wing feathers and the fullness of the same. There are still some gold tipped chick feathers scattered around the body, but these chicks are nearing their completion of the adolescent feather change.
Feather color, length, fullness, and luster are all very strong indicators of overall bird health.
The photo to the left shows birds raised on a well known commercial brand of feed. These birds are an average 12 months of age. The brand of feed is a major brand well known in the Ostrich industry.
These birds are a perfect example of "no fat/no meat" birds. The birds were very short in body length due to poor nutrition. This undesireable trait is generally blamed on genetics--when more often than not, it is lack of proper nutrients in the birds diet. You will notice in this photo on the extreme left of the picture is a side view of one bird. This bird shows the shortness of body from the back of the legs to the tail.
Most of these birds still had a lot of their chick feathers at one year of age. There was a minimum amount of muscle development and birds were very thin showing almost no fat.
The Blue Mountain raised birds in these two photos average 12 months of age. The body of the bird is much longer and deeper when comparing to the photo above and also when comparing to the photo at the top of this page. The muscle development is excellent on this group along with minimal fat buildup.
The wide leg stance, or the distance between the legs, indicates good large internal organ development. The excellent feather coat again indicates excellent body health.
This group of Blue Mountain fed birds
weighed an average of 97 lbs/44kgs more per bird than the birds fed in
the above photo. Both groups averaged the same age and were fed the same
amount of feed per bird per day.
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