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Black soldier fly larvae meal and fat can completely replace soybean cake and oil in diets for laying hens

Heuel, M.; Sandrock, C.; Leiber, F.; Mathys, A.; Gold, M.; Zurbrügg, C.; Gangnat, I.D.M.; Kreuzer, M. and Terranova, M. (2021) Black soldier fly larvae meal and fat can completely replace soybean cake and oil in diets for laying hens. Poultry Science, 100 (4), p. 101034.

[thumbnail of heuel-etal-2021-PoultryScience-Vol100-Issue4-p101034.pdf] PDF - Published Version - English
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Document available online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032579121000687


Currently, there is a great interest in finding alternative protein and energy sources to replace soybean-based feeds in poultry diets. The main objective of the present study was to completely replace soybean in layer diets with defatted meal and fat from black soldier fly larvae without adverse effects. For this purpose, 5 × 10 Lohmann Brown Classic hens were fed either a soybean-based diet or diets based on defatted black soldier fly larvae meal and fat from 2 producers (1 commercial, 1 small-scale) operating with different rearing substrates, temperatures, and larvae processing methods (10 hens/diet). The data obtained included nutrient composition of larvae meals and diets, amino acid digestibility (6 hens/diet), and metabolizability, performance and egg quality (all 10 hens/diet). In addition, the acceptance of the 4 larvae-based diets was tested against the soybean-based diet in a 6-day choice feeding situation (10 hens/treatment). The nutritional value of the larvae-based diets was equivalent to the soybean-based diet in hens with a laying performance of 98%. Although average feed intake was not significantly different over the 7 experimental weeks, the diets based on larvae feeds from the small-scale production appeared to be slightly less accepted in a choice situation than the soy-based diet and those with larvae from commercial origin. This was more likely the effect of the larvae fat rather than that of the larvae protein meal. In addition, the commercial larvae material was superior to that from the small-scale production concerning supply with digestible sulfur-containing amino acids (548 vs. 511 mg/day) and lysine (792 vs. 693 mg/day), egg weight (67 vs. 63 g), daily egg mass (66 vs. 61 g/day) and, in tendency, feed efficiency. The results indicate that soybean-based feeds can be replaced completely by black soldier fly meal and fat in diets of high-performing layers. However, because of nutritional differences between the larvae materials of different origin the quality of the larvae has to be closely monitored before being used.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Hermetia illucens, defatted larvae meal, layer, feed acceptance, performance, Abacus, FiBL50084, Enifu
Agrovoc keywords:
Hermetia illucens
layer chickens
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Feeding and growth
Animal husbandry > Production systems > Poultry
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Poultry
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Animal nutrition > Protein supply
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:39599
Deposited On:19 Mar 2021 11:25
Last Modified:19 Mar 2021 12:11
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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