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Dried crickets (Gryllus sigillatus) or black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) larvae meal for broiler chickens: nutrient composition and digestibility

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-05-21, 07:02 authored by H.J. Fisher, J.L. MacIsaac, B. Mason, B.R. Rathgeber, S.M. Colombo, M. Empey, S.A. Collins

This study explores the potential of cricket meal and black soldier fly larvae meal (BSFLM) as alternative protein sources in broiler chicken diets. With the use of the substitution method, using diatomaceous earth as an external marker, we investigated the nutrient availability and apparent metabilizeable energy content of oven-dried full-fat cricket meal (OD-CM), freeze-dried full-fat cricket meal (FD-CM), and defatted BSFLM in a feeding trial involving 320 Ross 308 broilers housed in 32 pens (8 replicates / treatment; 8 birds / pen). Feed intake, daily weight gain, and feed conversion ratio were measured between days 15 and 21. Excreta collected on days 19, 20, and 21 were analyzed for nutrient content. Both cricket treatments were high in crude protein. Additionally, FD-CM demonstrated the highest fat content, surpassing OD-CM. OD-CM displayed significantly higher apparent digestibility coefficient for crude protein compared to BSFLM (P < 0.05). FD-CM had the highest apparent digestibility coefficient for gross energy (P < 0.05). The nitrogen-corrected apparent metabolizable energy of OD-CM and FD-CM were significantly higher than that of BSFLM (P < 0.05). Furthermore, OD-CM exhibited a significantly higher available crude protein content compared to BSFLM and FD-CM (P < 0.05). This research sheds light on the potential of OD-CM and FD-CM as valuable alternative protein sources for broiler chickens, providing critical insights for the poultry industry's sustainable future. This research is important as the apparent digestibility coefficients, as well as available nutrients calculated for the three ingredients may be used to accurately formulate poultry diets on an available nutrient basis.


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