For you to earn immensely for poultry production, then you must be willing to feed your chickens nutritious feed always. Chickens are very responsive to the diet they eat; if your chickens are eating poor feed, be ready to get poor results or yield from them. Using fishmeal in chickens diet is a great way of ensuring your chickens get adequate nutrient needed for their growth.
Like humans, chickens need various nutrients to aid their productivity; every phase of production of chickens, be it egg production or meat production, has a particular nutritional requirement to ensure active growth and getting desired performance, in terms of weight gained and egg production.
Different feedstuffs make up a chicken diet; each supplying different nutrient to meet the chickens’ nutritional requirement. The most important nutrient needed by chicken is protein. Protein is very important in poultry diet; it plays active role in the metabolism, growth, repair and maintenance of the chickens as it supplies amino acids needed by the chicken. One of the best sources of protein is fishmeal.
There are different sources of protein for livestock diet; plant and animal majorly. The latter is the best as it is safe for consumption; unlike plant sources that contain one or more anti-nutritional factors that tend to inhibit the digestibility of protein in the feed. Fishmeal is a rich animal source of protein; it is very rich and supply many nutrients aside from protein.
Fishmeal nutritional composition is very broad; aside from protein, it supplies various vitamins and minerals the chickens need for good performance. Fishmeal is a natural balanced feed ingredient that is high in protein, energy, minerals, a natural source of vitamins (including choline, biotin and vitamin B12, A and E) and the micronutrients– selenium and iodine.
Fishmeal supplies calcium and phosphorus; these two minerals are very essential in any production phase. In egg production, they improve the quality of the egg shell. It is the quality of the nutrients in fishmeal that makes it distinctive, in particular, the essential amino acids and polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3s) it contains.
The processes involved in fishmeal production are: cooking, pressing and drying of fishes. Fishmeal can be made from any type of fish because the nutritional value is the same in fishes but generally, it made from these two types of fish, namely:
- Lean fish, which include species like cod and haddock.
- Industrial fish, which include species like herring, menhaden, sardines etc.
Fishmeal is mostly used as a protein supplement in animal diet. Also, it serves as a source of minerals and essential vitamins especially in chickens’ diet.
Application rate of fishmeal in chicken diet
Fishmeal is a very good feedstuff to be used in chicken diet. Its inclusion in chicken diet must be minimal; do not say because it is rich and apply to feed generously. As rich as fishmeal is, it can yield poor performance if not included in chicken diet minimally. It has a fishy scent by nature and this tend to reflect in the chickens’ by-product like eggs and meat in poultry if used in excess. Cost-wise, the price of fishmeal is quite expensive; hence, it must be used economically. It should be used in smaller quantity maximum of 15% of the total composition of the animal diet.
The quality of fishmeal varies; it depends on the production method. The processes involved in making fishmeal determine its color. Good quality fishmeal is always brown in color with a fishy smell. Fishmeal prices also varies with quality; the higher the quality, the more expensive it becomes.
The following reasons are the benefits of adding fishmeal in livestock diet:
- Fishmeal is safe to use: At times some feedstuffs are not safe for use in livestock diet because they contain anti-nutritional factors like gossypol in cotton which are inhibitors to nutrient digestibility. In the case of fishmeal, it is safe to use and does not contain any anti-nutritional factor.
- Fishmeal is produced from sustainable fish stock: As said earlier, fishmeal can be produced from any fish. Making fishmeal is a way of preventing fish spoilage or wastage.
- Fishmeal has high protein content and good protein quality: Fishmeal is a good and reliable source of protein. Other protein sources may be high in protein but of low quality but the case of fishmeal is different, it is rich in protein and it is of good quality. It is used efficiently in poultry diet to supply good quality protein and minerals with high energy content.
- Fishmeal is rich in essential fatty acid: This helps to supply energy and also reduces disease outbreak. It also increases the immune status of the animal.
- Fishmeal is a natural source of antioxidant and vitamins: As part of the richness of fishmeal, it is contains an antioxidant and vitamins which helps to promote good health, protect cell membranes and improve immune status.
- Fishmeal is a rich source of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals: Fishmeal is a good source of minerals needed to enhance good performance in animals. These minerals aid in biological pathways of the animal system.
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