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Unconventional Feed Ingredients Used In Poultry Feeding

Unconventional Feed Ingredients Used In Poultry Feeding

Dr Anshu Rahal

Associate Professor, Department of Animal Nutrition

College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, GBPUAT, Pantnagar, Uttarakhand PIN263145




       In India souring maize and soybean prices have compelled poultry farmers to search for alternative feed sources. Feedstuff shortage drastically affects poultry production. Irregular rainfall, flood and drought conditions further aggreviate the feed deficit situation. Unconventional feeds which are not traditionally used in livestock feeds can be used to replace major feed ingredients after processing to reduce effect of anti-nutritional factors. Feed accounts for 60-70% out of total cost of production in poultry. Since poultry is monogastric animal, their feed ingredients compete with human food demand. Cereal grains like maize, wheat, barley, sorghum which are main contributor of carbohydrate mostly comprise 50-75% of poultry diet. The cereal grain production is not sufficient even to fulfill growing human population hunger. So, there is need to search for locally available alternative feed resources of low cost which can be fed to poultry. though these unconventional feeds (neem seed cake, Sal seed meal, mahua seed cake, leaf meals, cassava foliage, sugarcane bagasse, aquatic plants, rubber seed meal, spent brewer’s grain, single cell protein, agro-industrial byproducts of animal and plant origin, slaughter house byproducts, by products through processing of cereal grains, vegetables, citrus fruits, sugar and  cellulosic roughages of poor quality )contain low energy/protein, minerals and high moisture and anti-nutritional components. Major constraints in use of such feeds are their collection, storage, detoxification and dehydration. Forest tree seeds mostly contain 15-35% oil and after oil extraction in form of cake can be used in animal feeds. Poultry excreta and dung which are considered as organic waste can also form animal feed component. Nonconventional feeds can partially help in reducing feed shortage for animals with less competition with human food, thereby providing food security, even nutritional security. These are mostly organic in slurry, solid or liquid form, with less economic value which can be increased by processing techniques (detoxification, expanding, extruding). Reprocessing(chaffing, grinding, mixing, pelleting) follows recycling and then such feeds are utilized as supplements in animal rations or form part of total mixed ration or complete feed discouraging selection by animal. Use of unconventional feeds help in up gradation of local wastes, environmental sanitation, lower feed cost and import of conventional feeds, improve animal health and generate employment. But lack of knowledge of nutrient content, ant nutritional factors, processing, seasonal availability and distribution of unconventional feeds and their impact on animal health and production limits their use. Commonly used unconventional feed ingredients used in poultry feed comprise of:

A.            ENERGY SOURCES

1.            Deoiled salseed-meal: Its nutrient value is similar to cereals although being a byproduct from Sal fruits processing.  But it is rich in tannins so used in limited quantity.

2.            Tapioca-meal: Good energy source in meal form, it is byproduct of tapioca tuber. Heating or sun drying helps in removing glycogenic substances present in certain varieties.

3.            Dried poultry waste: These droppings are rich in calcium and phosphorus with 10-12% true protein. After treatment, it can be included upto 10% in poultry ration without any harm.

4.            Molasses: These are rich in minerals and have capacity to replace up to 45% cereal grains in a ration but if included at higher level can result in loose excreta.

5.            Small millets: Maize can be replaced by small millets like kodon, sawan upto 20% while kambu, ragi, cholam found in Southern India can be used upto 50%. High fiber and tannin mostly reduce carbohydrate and protein digestibility.


1.            Mustard-cake: Although being superior to groundnut cake in terms of lysine and protein quality, its use in poultry is limited due to goitrogenic substances and glycosides. Only after proper treatment it can be incorporated upto 5% in broiler and 10% in layer diet.

2.            Soybean-meal: It contains 35-40% protein and 18-21% oil which is extracted by different  processing methods. Expeller processed Soybean meal has almost 5% fat  with 42% protein .Heat treatment further helps in improving protein quality. This meal is rich in Arginine, lysine, tryptophan, glycine and cystine but with limited methionine.

3.            Sesame-meal: Methionine source but contain high phytate, so used upto 15% only in poultry diet. It is good protein supplement with arginine and tryptophan but with poor lysine, glycine and cystine content.

4.            Cluster bean: Trypsin inhibitor presence limits its use in animal ration although rich in protein. It is byproduct obtained from clusterbean plant during manufacturing of gum. 

5.            Sunflower seed-meal: It is more nutritious than groundnut meal, rich in niacin and pantothenic acid and yolk colour enhancer .It contains higher arginine and methionine but less lysine in comparison to soybean meal. Presence of high fibre limits its inclusion in poultry ration.

6.            Safflower-meal: It can replace groundnut cake upto 25% but is deficit in lysine.

7.            Ramtil-cake: It can be used to replace groundnut upto 50% in chick and 100% in layer ration.

8.            Cotton-cake: Lysine deficit but protein rich, it can replace groundnut upto 15%.If used continuously in diet, yolk mottling can occur because of gossypol antinutritional factor. It contains high fibre, so used in broiler upto10-15% but avoided in layer diet as egg quality is affected.

9.            Maize gluten-meal: It is a byproduct obtained from maize starch industry deficit in tryptophan, lysine and arginine but rich in xanthophylls and protein.

10.          Penicillin mycelium waste: Along with being good protein source, it possesses antibiotic property but used maximum upto only5% in poultry diet during feed formulation.

11.          Linseed-meal: As it contains antipyridoxal factor and cyanogenic glycoside but good amount of tryptophan, in unprocessed form used only upto 5% in diet. Toxicity can be reduced by heat treatment like boiling.


1.            Blood-meal: It consists of protein (80%) with low biological value with 10% Total digestible nutrients, being unpalatable due to bitter taste, with haemagglutinin, isoleucine deficit, so included maximum upto 2-3% in poultry feed. This meal is rich in methionine, leucine, cystine and lysine.       

2.            Liver residue-meal: This meal is excellent source of choline, riboflavin and vitamin B12 and rich in methionine, tryptophan, lysine and cystine.

3.            Silkworm pupae-meal: If such meal is deoiled, it serves as protein supplement but its high fibre with low protein digestibility limits its use in poultry ration.

4.            Hatchery byproduct-meal: Hatchery operation wastes like egg shells, dead embryos, infertile egg and  killed chicks if are ground after cooking and drying with or without oil extraction are good source of protein(25-34%) ,so can be used in poultry feed formulation.

5.            Feather-meal: Essential amino acid are deficit with low availability of aminoacids but consist of high fibre and chitin, so added only upto 5% in poultry diet although protein content is about 80-85%.

6.            Poultry byproduct-meal: It consists of poultry slaughter body parts like feet, heads and entrails with no feathers and about 16% ash. Meal contains about 55-60% protein and in unextracted form 12% fat.

7.            Meat and meat-cum-bone-meal: It is high quality protein source rich in calcium and phosphorus although its quality varies with method of processing and gelatin content. It can be incorporated only upto 5-10% in poultry ration.


1. Wheat: High non starch polysaccharides lead to problems in intestinal digesta viscosity. High fibre content limits its use in poultry.

2. Sorghum: Tannin presence lowers digestibility of carbohydrates and protein.

3. Rice bran: It is energy diluent with phytic acid, high fibre and rancidity. Mostly it can be used upto5-10% in broiler and 40% in layer diet.

4. Wheat bran. Rich in fibre, so included upto 5% in broiler and 15% in layer diet.

5. Groundnut meal: Due to tannin and aflatoxin used upto only 15% in poultry feed.

6. Palm Kernel meal: Poor texture, low palatability and high fibre restrict its use in broiler diet upto 5-10% but in layer 30%.

CONCLUSION: Locally available non-conventional feed ingredients, only after processing should be used in poultry ration to alleviate any harmful effect on poultry growth and production. These can aid in maintaining production status in lean and emergency periods when conventional feeds are in scarcity or unavailable, reducing cost burden on farmer.

Poultry India


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