Feeding Meat and Bone Meal to Poultry

Small and Backyard Flocks May 05, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Written by: Dr. Jacquie Jacob, University of Kentucky

In the United States, millions of tons of animal by-products are produced annually. In the past, the only options for using the by-products were as rendered products for use in animal diets or disposal in landfills. New uses of meat and bone meal are being explored, including its use as a fuel or a phosphorus fertilizer. More recently, researchers at South Carolina's Clemson University have been looking at the use of meat and bone meal in petroleum-free bioplastics that can be used in items such as skis and snowboards.

Slaughter by-products are routinely recycled for use in animal feeds. They are cooked (rendered) to produce a nutritional and economical feed ingredient. The by-products used in feeds include meat trimmings, inedible parts and organs, fetuses, and certain condemned carcasses. It is important to note that blood, hair, hoofs, horns, manure, stomach contents, and hide trimmings are not used in the production of meat meal. When bones are added to meat meal, it is considered meat and bone meal.

There are a number of different types of meat and bone meal. The raw materials in meat and bone meal in the United States are typically beef and pork by-products. High quality meat and bone meal is usually guaranteed to contain a minimum of 50% protein content. Lower quality meat and bone meals are available that contain a minimum of 45% protein content.

Meat and bone meal is an excellent source of protein. In poultry diets, meat and bone meal is typically limited to less than 5% of the diet content because of the high calcium, phosphorus, and lysine content of the meal.

Table 1. Nutrient content of various slaughterhouse by-products

Ingredient DM Energy CP EE CF Ca Met Lys
Meat and bone meal, 45% 92 1080 45.0 8.5 2.5 11.0 0.53 2.20
Meat and bone meal, 50% 93 1150 50.0 8.5 2.8 9.20 0.67 2.60
Meat meal, 55% 93 1220 55.0 7.2 2.5 7.60 0.75 3.00
  • DM = Dry matter (% of total content) 
  • Energy = Energy in kcal/lb.
  • CP = Crude protein (% of total content) 
  • EE = Crude fat (ether extract; % of total content)
  • CF = Crude fiber (% of total content) 
  • Ca = Calcium (% of total content) 
  • Met = Methionine (% of total content) 
  • Lys = Lysine (% of total content)

(Source: Feedstuffs Ingredient Analysis Table: 2011 Edition, by Amy Batal and Nick Dale, University of Georgia)

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.