Slow- and fast growing broilers

Last changed: 06 December 2023

Mussel meal as feed ingredient

Project responsible: Lotta Jönsson, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, SLU

According to the organic standards, 100% of the feedstuffs in broiler diets must be organically approved from 2018. Since broilers have a high dietary requirement of sulphur amino acids and most organic feed stuff is characterized by low levels of such amino acids it is difficult to fulfil the birds’ nutritional need with 100% organic diets. It has been shown that mussel meal is an excellent alternative protein source in poultry diets and might be a solution in 100% organic diets. In addition, mussels are so-called filter feeders, meaning they filtrates coastal waters from nitrogen and phosphorus leaching from surrounding farms.

Also, the choice of broiler hybrids for organic production can be an issue. In Sweden, it is common to use fast-growing broilers and it has been shown that this implies a risk for the bird welfare and health. Therefore, other alternative hybrids need to be evaluated for Swedish organic production.

The aims of this project are to evaluate mussel meal as a protein source and studying the use of slow-growing hybrids under Swedish conditions. The hypothesis is that mussel meal inclusion would make it possible to solve the challenge of fulfilling the birds’ protein requirement in organic diets in the future. The combination of slow-growing broiler hybrids and mussel meal in their diets is proposed to be a possible solution for organic production.