UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Inclusion of Dried Black Soldier Fly Larvae in Free-Range Laying Hen Diets: Effects on Production Efficiency, Feed Safety, Blood Metabolites, and Hen Health Bejaei, Masoumeh; Cheng, Kimberly M.


Identifying alternative feedstuffs to replace conventional nutrient sources in poultry diets is crucial to supplying the growing demand for animal feed. A 17-week-long feeding experiment with three diets, including 0% (control), 10%, and 18% full-fat dried black soldier fly larvae (DBSFL), was conducted to evaluate the production efficiency and feed safety of using the larvae for partial (50%) and full (100%) substitutions of soybean meal and 90% replacement of soybean oil in free-range laying hen diets. Thirty hens (18–36 weeks old) were housed in two mobile poultry trailers per treatment level. The weight gain of hens, their feed intake, egg production, egg weights, feed conversion ratios, bird welfare parameters, hematology and blood metabolites, fecal microbiology, and digestive tract weights were examined. Control hens had higher weight gains, laid more and bigger eggs while consuming less feed, and had lower feed conversion ratios than 18% DBSFL hens. However, the production performances of 10% DBSFL hens were not significantly different from the control in many of the parameters considered (e.g., hen-day egg production or HDEP). In conclusion, partial replacement of soybean meal and oil with DBSFL in layer diets maintains production efficiency, feed safety, and hen health and welfare status.

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