Hand or Automatic Feeding TT21
Published on May 12, 2014
 

Hand or Automatic Feeding
Tech Talk 21

Hand or automatic feeding … which is better?

Automatic feeders save time. All business people know – time is money. Most fish farmers are in short supply of both. The manual labor involved in feeding your fish every day by hand may seem small, but over the period of a year, can easily equate to thousands of dollars in man-hours.

For example, an operation with 10 tanks, feeding 3 times a day for 3 minutes per tank, at $12 an hour will cost you $18 per day in manual labor.

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(# of Tanks)

 

X

 

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(#Feeding/Day)

 

X

 

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(Min./Tank)

 

X

 

--------
(Cost/Hr.)

 

=

 

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Cost/Day

Automatic feeders require only a minimal amount of manual labor, including weekly filling of the hopper and resetting feeding rates (and recharging batteries if not tied into a central power source). An estimate for this maintenance is 15 minutes per week/per feeder. That equals $2.80 a day in labor.

Manual Labor

 

Automatic Feeders

 

Savings

$18/day
$540/month
$6,480/year

 

$2.80/day
$84/month
$1,008/year

 

$15.20/day
$456/month
$5,472/year

 

You can buy a lot of automatic feeders for $5,472.
Automatic feeders allow feedings to be tailored to the biological clock of each species. They are ideal for the multiple feedings required when raising fry. Implementing a schedule of several feedings spread throughout the day may help to cut down on size variance of the fish, improve feed conversion ratios and level the load on the biofilter, and even out the oxygen demand  Remember, feed is usually the highest cost item in your operating budget, use it wisely!