Pashu Sandesh, 8th August 2018

Dr. Nethee Deori, Dr. Deepikesh Joshi, Dr. Brijesh Nanda

Poultry industry is a major source of animal protein in both developed and developing countries. The poultry industry has expanded rapidly in developing countries in the last two decades. Global demand for animal- source food is accelerating rapidly due to population growth and economic development, particularly in developing countries (Godfray et al., 2010). This increase in human population will lead to animal protein requirements and demands will be increasing. Nowadays poverty reduction largely focuses on poultry farming. Poultry meat contributes approximately 370g/ kg to the animal protein supply. However, the progress made so far in the poultry sector is currently being undetermined by escalating cost of their feeds, which accounts for 75 to 80% of the total cost of production. Therefore, there is a need to exploit not only the known unconventional feed ingredients but also to determine and introduce new and lesser known plants and animal feed resources that can replace or substitute scarce, expensive and elusive conventional protein sources used in animal nutrition.

Insects have been proposed as a high quality, efficient and sustainable alternative protein source. Insects represent the cheapest source of animal protein. Using insects as a protein source can contribute to global food security via feed or as a direct food source for humans. Not all insects are safe to use in animal feed. Some insects cause allergic reactions, botulism, parasitizes and food poisoning. Insects such as the black soldier fly, common house fly, termites and yellow meal worm are the most promising insects in animal feed. Chitin, a polysaccharide found in the exoskeleton of insects, may have a positive effect on the functioning of the immune system. Chitin, a nitrogen containing carbohydrate (N- acetylated glucosamine polysaccharide), contains about 7% nitrogen (equivalent to 43.75% crude protein) which is nutritionally unavailable to most animals. Because insects are part of the natural diet of poultry, it has been suggested that they may utilize chitin more efficiently than other animals. Chitinase, the enzyme capable of hydrolyzing chitin, does occur in the stomach of some insect eating- birds.  By feeding insects to chickens, the use of antibiotics in the poultry industry – which may lead to human infection with drug resistant bacterial strains, may be diminished.

       The protein content of insect meals varies considerably from around 41.1- 76.1 even when the meals are based on the same insect species. The insects were able to transform the low-nutritive waste products into a high protein diet in particular as a replacement of soya bean meal in poultry feed. Generally, when insects were included in poultry feed, the carcass quality, breast muscle portions, feed consumption, weight gain, feed efficiency, texture, palatability and higher egg laying ratio was found to be better at a recommended levels of inclusion than other conventional good quality feed.



Chemical position

Housefly larvae meal

Silkworm pupae meal

Grasshopper meal

Termite meal

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Crude fat (%)





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Metabolizable energy (kcal/g DM)






Thus, insects as poultry feed have a bright prospect as an unconventional poultry feed in India in the areas scarce in conventional feeds. There has been an increased need for the usage of pioneer unconventional poultry feeds in India which will reduce the burden over conventional feeds and will provide a nutrient-rich diet to the poultry. It is an important reservoir of Nitrogen and is helpful in the enhancement of immune status of the bird. Feeding insects as poultry feeds are also helpful in improving the meat-characters of broiler birds thus providing an improved quality of meat to the owner and hence, the consumer. It is clear from the aforementioned facts that insects as feeds for poultry birds is a profitable venture for the poultry owner and spreading awareness regarding its use is the need of the hour. This can immensely reduce the burden of costly poultry feeds and will provide an improved farm income to the poultry owners across various states of India.

Dr. Nethee Deori1*, Dr. Deepikesh Joshi2, Dr. Brijesh Nanda3,

1 Department of Poultry Science, 2,3.Department Of Livestock Production and Management, Apollo College Of Veterinary Medicine, Jaipur, Rajasthan

Corresponding author: Dr. Nethee Deori1,