Effect of mealworms on broiler growth and organs

Insects contain an interesting nutrient profile. But do chickens actually become healthier when insect meal is added to the diet? Insect researchers delved into this.

Insect meal show promise as a new, alternative protein source for livestock. Currently, the considered most valuable insect species to be used in livestock feeds are Hermetia illucens L. (black soldier fly), Musca domestica L. (common house fly), Tenebrio molitor L. (yellow mealworm), Bombyx mori L. (silkworm) and several grasshoppers (Van Huis, 2013). In particular, Tenebrio molitor (TM) and Hermetia illucens have recently been used in poultry. However, the implications of their utilisation on poultry health and gut development are still very limited.

Larvae meal tested in female Ross chickens

The study described here, published in the Journal Animal Feed Science and Technology, was to evaluate the animal performance, haematochemical parameters, intestinal morphology and histological features of broiler chickens fed diets including Tenebrio molitor (TM) larvae meal. A basal diet based on corn meal, corn gluten meal and soybean meal was formulated and served as control (C) group, while 50, 100 and 150 g/kg full-fat TM larvae meal inclusion as a partial replacement of soybean meal, corn gluten meal and soybean oil constituted the three experimental treatment groups (TM5, TM10 and TM15). A total of 160 female broiler chicks (Ross 708) at one-day of age were randomly allotted to these four dietary treatments. Growth performance and haematochemical parameters were measured during 40 days and after slaughter, morphometric investigations were performed on the organs.

The full article can be viewed here

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