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Complete replacement of soybean meal with black soldier fly larvae meal in feeding program for broiler chickens depressed growth performance from placement through to 49 days of age

Facey, H., M. Kithama, M. Mohammadigheisar, L. Huber, A. Shoveller and E. Kiarie

Black soldier fly larvae meal (BSFLM) is an appealing ingredient possessing good quality protein and additional functional attributes. However, there is limited data on the inclusion of BSFLM in practical broiler rations. Therefore, we examined the influence of partial to complete replacement of soybean meal (SBM) with BSFLM in a broiler feeding program. A total of 1,152 d-old male Ross × Ross 708 chicks were allocated to 48 floor pens and assigned to one of six diets in a randomized complete block (room) design (n=8). The diets were a basal (0% BSFLM) corn-SBM diet (A) with no prebiotic, probiotic, anticoccidial or antimicrobial growth promoting substances, four BSFLM diets formulated to replace SBM in A diet by 12.5% (B), 25% (C), 50% (D), and 100% (E), and diet (F), diet A plus coccidiostat (Monteban) and antibiotic. To provide similar energy among treatments, soy oil was used for diets A and F and black soldier fly oil for the other diets. The mash diets had similar nutrient specifications and were prepared for three phases: starter (d 0-10), grower (d 11-24), and finisher (d 25-49). Body weight (BW), feed intake (FI), and mortality (dead and compromised birds) were recorded on a per pen basis for calculation of BW gain (BWG) and mortality-corrected FCR. The data were analyzed using the Glimmix procedures of SAS with fixed effect of diet and random effect of block. Tukey!s test was used to separate LSmeans and linear and quadratic contrasts were applied for BSFLM responses. In the starter phase, birds fed diets B, C and F had higher (P<0.01) BWG than birds fed diets A, D, and E, however, birds fed diet E had lower (P<0.01) BWG than birds fed diets A or D. Birds fed diets D and E had lower (P<0.05) BWG than birds fed other diets in the grower and finisher phases. Birds fed diet F had higher final BW (3,257 g) than birds fed other diets. The final BW of birds fed diets A (2,997 g), B (3,068 g), and C (3,068 g) were similar but higher (P<0.01) than for birds fed diet D (2,749 g) and E (2,450 g). Overall (d 0-49), replacement of SBM with BSFLM linearly decreased (P<0.01) BWG and FI and increased (P<0.01) FCR and mortality. The BWG and FI of birds fed 50 and 100% BSFM diets was 96 and 92%, 90 and 82% of birds fed 0% BSFLM (diet A), respectively.

The data indicated that birds fed lower levels of BSFLM (12.5% and 25%) outperformed the basal diet fed birds and could provide some growth promoting effects commensurate to coccidiostats and antibiotics. However, replacing SBM with greater amounts (≥50%) of BSFLM reduced growth linked to depressed feed intake. Further research is warranted to explore physiological basis of depressed growth when birds are fed higher amount of BSFLM.