Feed Strategy - April 2018 - 42
42 ❙ FeedStrategy
Fish meal in poultry diets: to
use, or not to use?
Once a staple ingredient in poultry diets, today it is considered
either an expensive luxury or an unavoidable necessity,
but where does the truth lie?
Once upon a time, good quality fish meal was US$500
per imperial ton, or thereabouts, and everyone was
using it. Poultry diets invariably contained 5 percent
fish meal, with early broiler feeds and layer diets
having as much as 10 percent. What prevented most
nutritionists from using even more fish meal in poultry
diets was not cost, but its concentration in fish oil.
With 10 percent oil, adding 10 percent fish
meal in any diet gives 1 percent fish oil, which
is the maximum poultry will tolerate before they
start rejecting feed or producing eggs with "fishy"
aroma. In fact, it was not so much the fishy aroma
of feeds that caused broilers go off feed easily
but rather the rapidity with which fish oil became
rancid - and stale fish oil really stinks! But, again,
fish meal was an indispensable ingredient in poultry
diets, to the point most nutritionists claimed the
"factor-X," or unknown nutrient in fish meal, that
was yet to be identified - perhaps they were right,
but we will never find out now.
Why fish meal was so popular?
Fish meal was so popular because the ratio of
price to nutritive value was exceptional. At a price
that today is closer to full-fat soybeans, fish meal
offered double (almost) the protein, a better amino
acid profile and a boost in feed intake that was not
to be found in other ingredients. When feed intake,
for any reason, was a problem, nutritionists always
considered increasing the concentration of fish meal.
In fact, one of the ingredients that helped in the
transition to antibiotic-free feeds was fish meal, used
Depleted stocks of wild fish are causing fish
meal prices to soar. Melvinlee | Dreamstime.com
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ April 2018