Better Feed Management Practices

Feed management is one of the most important aspects of successful shrimp production as the feed accounts for 50 to 60% of operating cost.

Key instructions for feed Management:

  1. Check the date of manufacture on feed bag upon its arrival. Feed should not be more than 90 days old form date of manufacture. Start feeding form the day of seed stocking. The starter feed should be mixed with little water to distribute easily and to ensure that it sinks rapidly. Determine the pellet size based on the size of shrimp. A mix of two feed sizes should be used for at least 4days-while switching from one feed size to the next. Fed quantity on daily basis should not exceed the quantity that is indicated in the feed chart given along with the feed bag. Weigh and record the feed quantity to be given accurately in the pond record book.
  1. Reduce feeding during periods of low DO, plankton crash, rainfall, molting, and extremes of temperature and during disease outbreaks. Active swimming of shrimp around the edge of the pond during day light hours (but not at the water surface) could indicate under feeding. If you observe this trays after 10 days of stocking and monitor of the feeding form 20days. Do regular sampling of shrimps once a week after 45 days to determine growth rate and to calculate FCR. Never overfeed. Never mix any antibiotics with the feed. No need to mix any additives to the feed as long as feed is fresh and of good quality.
  1. During the first 10 days of culture, feed should be spread within 2 to 4m from the edge of the pond. Use scoop for wide distribution of the feed. After the first ten days the shrimp move into the main part of the pond. Spread the feed all over the pond by using boat/floating device; not just spread on the sides and shallow parts of the pond. Check the pond bottom soil on a regular basis and avoid feeding in areas with black and badly smelling soil and in corners.
  1. Feed should be supplied to clean areas in the pond. In the ponds with the aerators, feed in the areas cleaned by the water movement. It is preferable to switch off the aerators just before feeding until 2hrs after feeding based on stocking density. If Auto Feed transmission had been arranged, feed need to be verified in storage and timing needs to be adjusted according to check tray observation.
  1. Use feed trays to monitor feeding. Use 4 to 6 preferably stainless steel feed trays (round shape with 80cm diameter) per ha pond to monitor the feed consumption by shrimp form 30days onwards. Feed trays should be placed on the pond bottom 2m away from the slope of the pond bund, aerators, sluice gates and pond corners. Provide feed in feed trays and check as per the feed chart given below.

Record the feed quantity, brand and batch no in the pond record book. Release the check tray slowly into the water to prevent the feed from scattering. Ensure check tray settles on the pond bottom. If greater than 25% of feed remains on the tray suspended the next feed; if 10-25% feed remains on the tray, decrease feed by 50% for the next feeding; if less than 10% of the feed remains on the tray continue feeding as scheduled; and if no feed is found on remaining on the trays increase feeding approximately 5% for the next feeding.

  1. There are several factors, other than survival which affect feed consumption in trays. When the reduction in feed consumption is noticed check for –Deteriorating water quality and pond bottom
  • Competitors in the pond
  • Quality of the feed
  • Moult cycle
  • Temperature, Salinity and rainfall
  • Diseases

If Consumption drops drastically and does not improve within two to three days then check for any health problems. After feed tray observation, keep the check trays clean and dry. Ensure the net in the feed tray is not damaged. Examine the gut content colour and take corrective actions as given below.

Gut content colour Probable food item Probable cause Corrective action


Benthic detritus, sediment

Under feeding, inadequate feeding frequency

Increase feeding and frequency

Dark Brown


Cannibalized body parts form dead shrimp

Disease event in pond

Check for dead shrimp in the pond



Benthic algae

Under Feeding

Increase feeding


Manufactured feed or natural feed

Gut infection

Reduce Feeding


Light Brown

Manufactured Feed



Golden brown

  1. Store feed in clean, cool and ventilated area well protected from sunlight Keep bags stacked neatly on pallets ( no more than 10 bags per stack) 30 cm away from walls and prevent them from being in direct contact with damp floor. Avoid excessive handling of feed bags, and always handle with care. Pelleted feeds are durable but not indestructible. Excessive or rough handling increases incidence of fines, thereby increasing feed losses. Maintain different types of feeds separate and clearly marked.

Rotate stock using older feed first(feed that has been stored and longest). Follow the “first in, first out” principle. Feed should ideally be used within the first 2-4 weeks after manufacturing, and should not be stored for more than 2-3 months. Keep the store and outside premises clean and use traps to prevent rodents.

Do not keep any fuel or liquid items in the feed store. It is important to protect feed bags from sunlight and rain, by storing them off the ground in simple, pond side storage sheds. During the rain proper care should be taken to prevent feed bags getting moist. Store the empty feed bags properly and recycle them by selling to traders.

Source : NaCSA

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