Author(s): Janković Ljiljana, Radenković-Damnjanović Brana, Vučinić Marijana, Šefer Dragan, Teodorović Radislava, Đorđević Milutin, Radisavljević Katarina
Keywords:broilers, earthworm meal, nutrition, performance
The research was performed to determine the nutritive value of raw earthworms (Lumbricus rubellus) and dried earthworm powder, or earthworm meal (EM). In addition, the effects of a diet in which fish meal was substituted with EM or fresh earthworms on the health and productive performance of broilers were monitored. The experiment, which lasted 42 days, was conducted on one hundred Hybro G broilers divided into four equal groups. The control group was fed a standard feed, whereas, the first and the second one were given diets in which 50% or 100% of fish meal had been substituted with EM. The third experimental group received no fish meal but was given fresh earthworms ad libitum. The results of chemical analyses showed that earthworm meal contained 41.42% proteins (in dry matter) and satisfactory amounts of amino acids. Microbiological examination and tests for heavy metals suggest that earthworm meal and fresh earthworms did not contain heavy metals and harmful bacteria. Therefore, these feeds may be considered suitable for chickens. In the experiment as a whole no statistically significant difference (p>0.05) was observed in the productive performance between the experimental groups of broiler chickens. These results suggest that dehydrated earthworm meal can be an adequate substitute for fish meal in the broilers’ feed.
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