Hatchery- Feeding The Fish

by Fly Fisherman

Fish diets are under constant study. So many factors
enter the picture during the growth period that experiments are being conducted unceasingly toward improvements. There is, first, the initial cost to consider, then the compositions of foods best fitted for the growing fish. Preparation procedures, availability of the ingredients, the storage problem, the feed-ability of the compositions, the quantity required and the waste angle, among others, must all be analyzed. In the composition of the foods, experiments are rigidly conducted to determine nutritive value, palatability, adhesive quality of the combined foods, the moisture content and even sizes of the particles have to be determined according to the size-classes of the fish being fed. Food that fits the fish, in the above properties, results in faster growth and a lower mortality.

The feeding processes themselves are of major importance. They must not be done hurriedly. The food must be so broken up and apportioned throughout the area of the container or pond that the weaker and smaller fish, in each class, is given its chance to eat. Competition among these little savages is great and can result in injury, disease and retarded growth. Care must be exercised to avoid overfeeding as this could very well terminate in a condition that would be extremely unsanitary.

The foods themselves, in varying proportions, at this writing, consist primarily of meats, which are usually livers, hearts and spleens from beef, pork and sheep, salt meats, fish meal, fresh fish (carp, sea herring, whitefish, menhaden and others), dried buttermilk and fresh milk, bran, oatmeal, cottonseed meal, wheat flour middlings, cod liver oil, etc. New items will be tried, found suitable and used tomorrow and next year. The exacting ratios of these ingredients, to make up the menu for the different sizes and classes of trout, is a technical, complicated probe and our hatchery is the laboratory.
During the feeding process careful observations are made checking for odd or abnormal behavior which could indicate the onset of disease or other conditions not desired.

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