How to get low cost protein for fish feed making ?

Fish feed play an important role in the aquaculture production.A balanced fish diet rich in proteins will lead to a greater development and growth of these aqua animals.
In Europe, the production of fish feed is mainly targeted at highly predatory species such as the salmonids, cod, bass and bream. These carnivorous species require a high protein feed. In line with this, the feed receipts have traditionally contained fish meal and fish oil as the major ingredients. Carbohydrates can only be used in limited amounts for energy. Carbohydrates do, however, often also function as binder for the feed pellets. Small quantities of vitamin and mineral mixtures and other additives are used as well. These additives are important in a monitoring context as they are often regulated in terms of maximal upper limits.
The profitability of aquaculture, especially the fish segment, is deeply related to the type of feed used. For the formulation of feeds for fish, it is necessary to use ingredients that are a source of nutrient and that present high digestibility, guaranteeing complete use by the animal’s organism.The most fish diets are formulated by nutritionists to ensure fish receive the nourishment they need for improved growth, feed conversions, and overall health.
The more important consideration when selecting the proper feed is its protein concentration. The two options we use most often are 32% and a 45% protein concentration.The 32% concentration is our most widely used feed.

floating fish feed pellet

Why protein is import in fish feed ?

One of the most important macronutrients for the fish organism are proteins. High-quality protein and energy sources provide the critical nutritional requirements for the development of body tissues, such as scales, bones, muscle, and nerves. All diets include our exclusive vitamin and mineral premixes, including Stabilized Vitamin C to support metabolism, skeletal development, body fluid regulation, and enzymes.
The ingestion of proteins that contain an adequate balance of amino acids will be one of the determining factors for a good growth and development of the fish.When ingested, the proteins are hydrolysed into amino acids, which will be used for the synthesis of new proteins,with consequent expansion of muscle tissue.
Among the amino acids available in the nature, a part of them corresponds to the essential amino acids. These are not synthesized by the body and must be necessarily acquired through diet.Therefore, it is fundamental that the fish feed has a balance that contemplates all the amino acids that are essential for their development. This factor should be taken into account when formulating feed for this type of animal.

What’s the mainly protein source for fish feed ?

The main protein source in fish feed has traditionally been fish meal. Fishmeal is made from fish that are ground, cooked, and processed.
It is an excellent source of protein for poultry. It has high levels of essential amino acids such as methionine and lysine, and it also has a good balance of unsaturated fatty acids, certain minerals (available phosphorus), and vitamins (A, D, and B-complex). The use of fishmeal is usually restricted to 5% to 10% of the content of poultry diets.

high quality fishmeal

The quality of different feedstuffs is greatly dependant on the amino acid profile in their proteins, digestibility of the proteins, freshness of the raw materials, and their storage. Plant-based proteins, even when properly processed, are usually not as digestible as fishmeal; and their inclusion rate into the diet is often limited as it results in depressed growth rates and feed intake. Over-all protein digestibility values for fishmeal are consistently above 95%. In comparison protein digestibility for many plant-based proteins varies greatly, for example, from 77% to 96%, depending on the species of plant.

High quality fishmeal provides a balanced amount of all essential amino acids, phospholipids, and fatty acids (e.g.,DHA or docosahexaenoic acid and EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid) for optimum development, growth, and reproduction, especially of larvae and brood stock. The nutrients in fishmeal also aid in disease resistance by boosting and helping to maintain a healthy functional immune system. High-quality fishmeal also allows for formulation of nutrient-dense diets, which promote optimal growth.

The fish meal is a limited resource and it is anticipated that the world production will reach a maximum level of about 1.1 million tons. The cost of high-quality fishmeal (65% protein) has ranged from approximately $385 to $554 per ton since the year 2000, or 2.0 to 3.5 times the price of soybean meal.The concentration of high-quality nutrients, especially protein, makes fishmeal one of the most sought and expensive feedstuffs.
Other lipid sources are therefore increasingly being used in aquaculture feed production. The best approach in feed formulation is to use high-quality feedstuffs to manufacture a diet that meets the nutritional and energy requirements of the aquaculture species in question. Fishmeal contains the profile of amino acids that most closely meets the amino acid requirements of fish. If a portion or all of the fishmeal in a diet can be replaced successfully with other high-quality protein sources, doing so will contribute greatly towards protecting the surrounding environment and promoting a sustainable aquaculture industry.

How to get low cost protein for fish feed making ?

Modern broiler processing plants process huge amounts of birds, with a large tonnage of feathers, offal, trims, blood, etcetera. Processing of this waste as a feedstuff will play a part in solving the world’s protein needs by producing more animal protein and recreating a price structure.
The most important poultry by-product at a rendering plant is feather meal. Feathers are rich in protein content called keratin and constitute 7% weight of the live bird, therefore producing a considerable mass which can be converted to valuable meal. Feather meal is also an excellent source of escape protein. Raw feathers are relatively insoluble and have a very low digestibility of 5% due to the high keratin content and the strong disulphide bonding of the amino acids, but with the controlled technology available today, we are able to convert a relatively insoluble protein into a palatable and highly digestible protein source for fish feed making.

poultry farming

Feather Meal, like blood meal, contains about 13 percent nitrogen, but it is derived from a different form of protein than blood meal. Keratin, a protein that occurs in hair, hoofs, horns and feathers, is relatively indigestible when fed to animals as protein or introduced to the soil as fertilizer. The structure of keratin is very tight and not easily broken down by gut bacteria. But feather meal is softened with steam so that it is more digestible to animals . This attribute makes feathers an excellent medium to long-term source of nitrogen.

Nutrition of feather meal

nutrition of feather meal

Advantages of using Feather meal

A possible means of maintaining supply of broiler meat all year round at cheaper prices is by reducing the cost of production. Feeding of feather meal can fulfil the requirements for growth promoting protein in an economically viable form.
Besides low cost protein of feather meal ,which is much cheaper than fishmeal, some studies show that feather meal may have a comparable efficiency to its counterpart.A study compared the efficiency of fish meal and feather meal in shrimp and tilapia feeding. Each group received a feed based on one of the two meals, with the consumption and weight gain of the animals being monitored.
At the end of the experiment, none of the species presented negative effects in relation to growth with the substitution of fishmeal with feather meal. Both were equivalent in performance.


Feather meal is an excellent source of high quality protein. At low steam pressure, long hydrolysis times are needed to increase feather meal density and to improve digestibility. The easy availability of raw materials for the production of feather and economically viable processing methods can make it the most promising protein rich feed for both ruminant and aqua animals. The energy value, amino acid composition and its availability has made it the first preference by animal owners. Based upon the price of feather meal, it surely will secure its position in animal diets in the near future as a convenient, economically viable, protein rich feed ingredient for all sorts of domesticated animals.

feather extrusion

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