Alternative Animal Protein Sources for Weanling Pigs Studied

A researcher at the University of Illinois says the increasingly high cost of fish meal commonly used in starter diets for weanling pigs is leading producers to look for alternatives. New research sheds light on the nutritional value of four alternative animal proteins. According to Hans Stein - U of I Professor of Animal Sciences - hydrolyzed porcine intestines and a spent hen-soybean meal mixture are two new animal proteins on the market. Since there are no published nutritional values for these ingredients - Stein decided to determine the energy concentration and digestibility of amino acids. The researchers also tested the composition and processing of chicken meal and poultry by-product meal.

Stein's lab conducted two experiments. They first determined the concentration of digestible, metabolizable and net energy in the four ingredients. They then determined the standardized ileal digestibility of crude protein and amino acids in the same ingredients. Both studies included conventional soybean meal for comparison. According to the research - the concentration of digestible and metabolizable energy was greatest in poultry by-product meal and hydrolyzed porcine intestines. The concentrations of digestible and metabolizable energy in spent hen-soybean meal mixture were similar to those contained in soybean meal. Of the tested ingredients - chicken meal contained the least digestible and metabolizable energy.

The digestibility of amino acids was greater in conventional soybean meal than any of the other animal protein sources tested. Spent hen-soybean meal mixture had greater amino acid digestibility than the other sources. Digestibility values were similar for poultry by-product meal and chicken meal. Hydrolyzed porcine intestines contained the least amount of digestible amino acids. Stein says the results indicated that the spent hen-soybean meal mixture may be used as a source of digestible amino acids in diets fed to weanling pigs. But he adds that this should be confirmed with growth performance studies.

Stein's study was published in the Journal of Animal Science.

[http://www.journalofanimalscience.org/content/91/7/3220.full]

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