Alternative protein sources that can replace soybean meal in poultry diets

Feedstuff Comments
Oilseed meals1  
Cottonseed meal Limitations: high fibre, presence of gossypol; low-gossypol meal can be used at levels of 10–15% in broiler diets; limit use in layer diets because of effects on internal quality of eggs
Canola meal Limitation: glucosinolates; low-glucosinolate meals can be used at up to 30%
Groundnut meal Limitations: tannins, aflatoxin; good-quality meal can be used at up to 15%
Sunflower meal Limitation: high fibre Rich in methionine; can be used at up to 15%
Sesame meal Limitation: high phytate content Good source of methionine; can be used at up to 15%
Palm kernel meal Limitations: high fibre, poor texture, low palatability; good-quality meal can be used at levels of 5–10% in broiler diets and up to 30% in layer diets
Copra (coconut) meal Limitations: low protein, mycotoxins; can be used at up to 20%
Rubber seed meal Limitations: low protein, presence of cyanogenic glucosides, requires processing; can be used at up to 10%
Grain legumes2  
Lupins, field peas, chick peas, cowpeas, pigeon peas, faba beans, etc. Limitations: presence of anti-nutrients, low in methionine; can be used at up to 20–30% when processed and supplemented with methionine; current cultivars contain low levels of anti-nutrients
Green meals  
Leaf meals, aquatic plant meals Rich in minerals, moderate levels of protein
Limitations: high fibre, high moisture content and requires drying; most green meals can be used at levels less than 5%; some, such as duckweed, can be included at higher levels
Distillery co-products  
DGGS Good source of protein, amino acids and available energy
Limitation: variable amino acid availability; good-quality meals can be used at up to 25%

1Compared with soybean meal, other oilseed meals have lower contents of available energy, protein and essential amino acids, and require supplementation with synthetic amino acids and energy sources. Suggested inclusion levels are for nutritionally balanced diets.
2 A range of grain legumes are grown in developing countries. Only selected species are identified here. It must be noted that all raw legumes contain a number of anti-nutritive factors, but most of these can be eliminated by processing.


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