Feathers in fish feed

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The co-operation project between Matís and Reykjagarður has now been completed, where work was done on integration within the bioeconomy, where great emphasis is placed on the transfer of knowledge between sectors. The project aimed at increased value creation through the utilization of unused by-products that have so far been disposed of, ie. utilization of chicken feathers in protein-rich flour that could be utilized in feed at aquaculture companies. The project has previously been reported on the website Matís

When using feathers in flour, it is important to break down the proteins contained in the feathers to make them digestible. The most widely used method used in this project is hydrolysis by pressurized welding, drying and grinding. Feather meal can be used in feed for pigs, fur animals, pets and fish. The advantage of using feather meal in feed for aquaculture is that research has shown that up to 30% of fish meal can be replaced by feather meal without affecting the growth of farmed fish. There is no need to pay for the import of raw materials and there is no need to catch or cultivate the raw material, as it is an underused by-product in the processing of chicken.

Feather meal has about 80% protein content and the amino acid composition is similar to the amino acid composition of fishmeal, but the flour needs to be slightly improved with regard to certain amino acids. Utilization of chicken feathers in farmed feed has a positive environmental impact, as the raw material has so far been landfilled with associated footprints and costs, but with the utilization of feathers in protein-rich flour, all by-products in chicken production are utilized, thus helping to achieve less landfill goals. Feed made from feather meal can be used for pig and fur breeding and such feed can also be given to pets. The results of the project are available in Matís report on the project.

Agricultural Productivity Fund and AVS Fisheries Research Fund supported the work done in the project.