Unconventional ingredients for pig and poultry diets

23 Sep 2022

Unconventional ingredients for pig and poultry diets

Unconventional ingredients for pig and poultry diets represent interesting cost effective alternative. However, they must meet quality, and feed safety requirements to be considered.

Diets are amongst the most important factors to be considered in pig and broiler production. Usually, diets contain several food ingredients that supply energy and nutrients, such as:

  • Crude protein (CP)
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Minerals and vitamins

all of these necessary for the proper growth of broiler chickens and pigs.

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Cereals and oilseed meal make up the bulk of animal diets. Other ingredients such as wheat, barley, canola paste and dry distillers grains are used to a lesser extent.


Algunos cuadros clínicos asociados con micotoxicosis en gallinasHowever, the competition for these feed ingredients in food, biofuels, and bioprocessing industries, increases their costs significantly.

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By-products of the food and biofuel industries with little or no commercial value to humans have shown potential for their use as ingredients for animal diets.

Therefore, depending on geographical location, surrounding industries, and prevailing agronomic practices, certain ingredients which are not commonly used but hold significant nutritional quality, can be added to pig and broiler diets.


The drawback is that several of these unconventional ingredients contain anti-nutritional factors (ANF) or toxins that complicate their inclusion in animal feed.Other factors such as: inconsistent availability of some of these ingredients, government regulations, and deficient nutritional compositions relative to common ingredients, also limit their large-scale use.

This entry aims to review some of the unconventional ingredients used in pig and broiler feed.


Protein rich ingredients used in animal feed

Protein sources used for diet formulation can be of plant or animal origin. However, plant-based food ingredients are most commonly used due to their lower cost.

The description that follows mentions some unconventional plant based ingredients that are rich in protein content.

Faba beans

Faba beans (Vicia faba L.) are legume crops that have been increasingly favored as rotation crops due to their reduced environmental impact and nitrogen-fixing capacity. They are a rich source of protein (22-32% CP),rich in lysine, but as with other legume crops they have low methionine content.

These beans are known to have a high ANF content. Amongst which there are: tannins, vicin, lectins, protease inhibitors, and convicin, which affect the growth performance and nutrient utilization of pigs and broilers (Grosjean et al., 2000).


Field peas or peas

Field peas or peas (Pisum sativum) are legumes with high nutritional quality. Finding themselves between corn and cornmeal with the potential to replace both in pig and broiler diets. They are rich in lysine, but have relatively low levels of methionine, tryptophan and cysteine.

Field peas also contain ANF, such as tannins, trypsin inhibitors, lectins, saponins, and phytic acids. Heat treatment and extrusion have been shown to deactivate most of the FAs present in their seeds.


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