Feeding is one of the most technical aspects of catfish farming in that farmers must understand the suitable feeding method/technique for her farm. The best method of feeding for a farm is arrived at after thorough analysis of variables like pond types, pond size, sizes of fish stock, stocking density, feed types and feeding facilities available. A suitable feeding method must be adopted to maximize profit.
Honestly speaking, no method can be said to be the overall best. The prevailing situation in your farm will define the feeding method that suits your need. This means the method used in farm ‘’A’’ might not be suitable for farm ‘’B.’’ Interestingly, there is no method of feeding without its own short comings and strength. I will only suggest that you use the benefit of whichever feeding method to your own advantage. Also, the shortcoming of your feeding method can be minimized through feeding control techniques available to catfish farmers.
Catfish Feeding Methods
Spot Feeding is a term which refers to a method of feeding catfish in which a particular point/part of a pond is used and maintained for feeding for a particular farming season. Catfishes are trained to converge at a particular point of the pond by making sure that they are being fed at that particular spot regularly till fishes are used to it. Setting a feeding spot for fishes is a gradual process. Farmers could start by feeding round and later reduce to one side of the pond, from where a spot is selected. The spot selected must not be too shallow so that fishes can pick their feed freely. Spot feeding is a common method of feeding catfishes because of its numerous advantages. Some of these advantages are:
- It helps the farmer to have firsthand knowledge of his fishes during feeding.
- It helps farmer to reduce waste especially when sinking pelletized feed is used in feeding. This is so because she will know when to continue or stop feeding.
- The health condition of a stock of fish can be assessed at a glance when they converged to feed. Any fish that will not converge with others must have a challenge that needs the farmer’s attention.
- It is a suitable method for water management and pollution control.
- This method helps farmers monitor feed progress in catfish stocked.
Disadvantages of Spot Feeding
- It promotes unnecessary competition for feed among fishes
- It might lead to uneven growth especially when feed is not adequate.
- Any external interruption during feeding might lead to disruption of the entire process, hence fishes might not eat enough.
Multiple-Spot Feeding is a feeding method used in feeding fishes in large dams and densely populated ponds. This is due to the fact that a single feeding spot might not be enough is in such large water body. In other words, more than one spot of feeding is created across the pond, regularly maintained, and used for feeding simultaneously. For instance, multiple-spot feeding refers to two or more people feeding a pond at different spots at the same time using the same feed. Advantages of multiple-spot feeding include:
- It is an effective method of feeding in dams and large ponds
- It helps in enhancing even growth in fishes
- It helps at reducing injuries due to competition during feeding because fishes are divided into manageable number for each spot.
- It enhances equal opportunities to feed by all fishes in the pond.
Broadcasting Feeding Method is in fact the best technique of feeding small fishes that have little or no knowledge about their environment. Instead of creating a spot, feed is spread round and all over the pond or dam to ensure every fish stand a chance of getting access to feed. This method is preferable when floating feed is involved. Also it is one of the best methods of feeding in a very large dam or a carved area of river where fishes are cultured and fed artificially with the use of canoe or other smaller vessels. Few out of the numerous advantages of this method are;
- A suitable method for feeding when floating feed is involved.
- It is a smart way of feeding in large water body.
- It is the best method of feeding when different species of fishes are stocked in the same pond.
- It saves time and can be used in large farms.
Disadvantages of Broadcasting Feeding method
- It can lead to wastage of feed when feeding process is not standardized.
- Uncontrolled feeding can lead to water management crises.
- Monitoring of fish health during feeding might not be possible.
- Farmers may not be able to ascertain when fishes want to feed more or less – especially in sinking fish feed.
- Seasonal feed variation may not be well monitored, leading to huge economic waste.
Dump Feeding Method describes the feeding techniques when non-conventional catfish feed are dumped into the pond. This method is suitable for feeding when supplementary feeds are involved in catfish farming.