Nutritional value of poultry by-products in pig diets

Published on
January 29, 2020

Processed Animal Proteins (PAPs) are a valuable protein source for pigs, poultry and farmed fish. A recent study with poultry based PAPs in pig diets indicated that the protein digestibility of these products may vary from 60 to 90%. The digestible protein content of the products was generally higher than in PAPs of unspecified animal origin in feed tables. This difference was mainly related to variation in nutrient contents and to a lesser extent to differences in digestibility. It was concluded that PAPs require a species-specific inclusion in feed tables.

Processed animal proteins (PAPs) obtained as by-product from the slaughter of pigs and poultry are valuable protein sources in animal diets. These products can:

  • make an important contribution to a more sustainable animal production,
  • help to meet the increasing global demand for animal sourced food,
  • reduce Europe’s dependency on imported soybean meal.

Processing of PAPs has been improved in the last decades to combat the spread of animal diseases and thus assure optimal biosecurity and nutritional value of these products. However, recent data on the nutritional value are lacking because of the EU-wide ban to use PAPs in diets of food-producing terrestrial animals. European table values of PAPs, e.g. meat-and-bone meal, feather meal and blood meal have generally been established before the EU-ban on use of PAPs in farm animal diets in 2001. Therefore, these values may not adequately reflect the nutritional value of the present PAPs.

Within the PPP Circular Bio-economy the partners studied the current nutritional value of poultry by-products in pig diets.

Thirteen companies and research institutes are collaborating in a public private partnership (PPP) to increase the use of co-products and residues as feed materials.

Poultry-based PAPs for pigs

The aim of this study was to determine the nutrient composition, ileal and total tract digestibility and nutritional value of poultry-based PAPs in growing pigs. With participation of EFPRA (European Fat Processors and Renderers Association) members, products were selected and provided to reflect the PAPs presently available for animal diets. The selected products included three poultry meals with varying protein and ash content, feather meal and poultry blood meal. The products were included in a basal diet and supplied to growing female pigs in two successive periods. The first period focused on the phosphorus digestibility, the second period aimed to determine the protein and amino acid digestibility in the ileum (small intestine) and the total tract digestibility of protein, fat, and energy.


The results indicate that the poultry meals generally have a 5-15% higher protein content with about equal digestibility compared to meat meal and meat and bone meal of unspecified animal origin in feed tables. Moreover, the amino acid pattern and the digestibility of protein and fat of poultry meal was related to the ash (bone) content in the product. Poultry blood meal deviates in amino acid and mineral content from blood meal of pigs and ruminants.

Overall, this study provides new data on digestibility and nutritional value for the use of poultry based PAPs in pig diets, specifically poultry meal, blood meal and feather meal. Inclusions of up-to-date values for nutrient content and digestibility of these poultry by-products in feed tables will allow their optimal use in pig diets when future EU legislation allows the use of PAPs in farm animal diets.


ABZ Diervoeding, AgruniekRijnvallei Voer BV, Bonda’s veevoederbureau BV, Coppens Diervoeding, Darling Ingredients International Rendering and Specialties BV, EFPRA, Feed Design Lab, Noblesse Proteins, Nijsen/Granico BV, SARIA International GmbH, Schothorst Feed Research, Vitelia Voeders BV and Wageningen Livestock Research are running the 4-year programme “Circular Bio-economy”. This collaboration is embedded within the Dutch Topsector Agri&Food (TKI-AF-17027).