Muhammad Adnan Aslam, Animal Science – Master's programme
Soybean meal is a major source of protein in poultry feed. However, due to increasing prices, availability issues, and undesirable environmental impacts such as deforestation and carbon footprint, there is an urgent need to find alternatives to soybean meal. Black soldier fly larvae can prove to be a good alternative. They are natural food for hens, have high nutritional value, can be produced locally, require less land and water, and are environmentally friendly.
This study evaluated the effects of feeding black soldier fly larvae on immune parameters, egg quality, feather condition, and gastrointestinal organ weight in laying hens. The study found no adverse effects of feeding black soldier fly larvae on immune traits, egg quality, organ weights, and feather condition. Larvae feeding enhanced the yolk colour, which is desirable due to higher consumer preference and the health benefits associated with higher levels of β-carotene and lutein, resulting in better cognitive ability and heart health. Therefore, live and dried larvae can be a sustainable alternative to soybean meal in poultry production. Dried larvae can be a more practical option as they have consistent nutritional value and long shelf life.