In organic laying hen production, meeting the animals' demand for protein with the required amino acid profile, via a sustainable source, remains a major challenge.
Feeding of insects offers new possibilities to overcome the protein gap in organic farming.
This video presents take-aways from FiBL’s organic feeding trials on laying hens on both processed and live insect larvae.
In the feeding trial on processed insect meal - half and all of the soy feed was replaced with insect meal – comparing 12% and 24%. The experimental groups of laying hens did not differ in terms of laying performance, feed consumption and animal health. In the group with 24 % insect meal, cases of diarrhoea occur and a lower weight development was recorded. We can conclude that a 24% insect meal content in the laying hen feed is at the upper limit.
Looking to the feeding trials with live mealworms -each hen received 10 g mealworms per day. The hens were regularly weighed, feed consumption and laying performance egg quality was assessed. Only the feed consumption per hen showed a significant difference in favour of the mealworm groups. Laying performance, plumage score, egg quality index and riboflavin content in the eggs did not differ significantly between control and experimental group. This tool could be useful for organic farmers and farm advisors, however it may be interesting for all viewers interested in more sustainable feed sources.