Fish meal is used in feeds for poultry, pigs, ruminants, farmed fish, and fur producing animals. It increases productivity and improves the efficiency with which feed is converted to animal produce (feed conversion). It is of special value in diets for young animals, for example in broiler starter diets, diets for early weaned pigs, and for farmed fish and fur producing animals.
Fish meal is particularly beneficial in situations which are less than ideal, for example, where feed mixing and quality control of ingredients is poor, where husbandry standards are less than ideal and where disease problems are prevalent. A detailed assessment of fish meal in diets for poultry, pigs and ruminants is given in IAFMM Technical Bulletins.
In diets for very young animals such as early weaned pigs (weaned before four weeks of age), ruminants. fish and fur animals, it is recommended that special quality fish meal is used. It should be made from very fresh raw material and, for ruminants, have a low content of soluble nitrogen.
Ruminants can make better use of forage if fish meal is included in their diets, particularly if forage is a major part of their feed. Fish meal has been shown to be superior to other proteins, especially vegetable proteins. In supplying a high-quality protein, a large part of which escapes breakdown in the rumen. As well as providing a high-quality protein with a near ideal balance of amino acids for farmed fish. Antioxidant treated fish meal provides a valuable source of long chain fatty acids which are essential for fish such as trout, salmon, carp, cat fish and eels.