Soybean Meal for Poultry Feed

Soybean Meal for Poultry Feed

Poultry farming has grown tremendously over the past few years. This growth has created an increased demand to meet protein requirements. Since highly famed commercial feeds are often expensive therefore cannot be maintained without affecting profits, most farmers are actively seeking for alternative feed options. As such, grainy meals that are usually adopted tend to be low in protein essential for growth, development and productivity of birds. Soybean meal for poultry feed therefore becomes necessary to balance the nutritional value of the feed. In fact, soybean meal is considered as the most important and preferred feed source for poultry.  According to research, soybean meal for poultry feed is the principal source of protein for the feed industry worldwide and so manufacturers use it as the standard against which other protein sources are compared.

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Nutritional Value

Soybean meal is the major and preferred source of protein for all types of poultry, due to the amount and quality of its protein and amino acids. It comprises a variety of proteins making hence being a major protein source and base ingredient for nearly all poultry diets. Soybean meal for poultry feed has approximately 40% of crude protein and about 20% fat. Soybean meal contains a range of amino acids including lysine, threonine, tryptophan, arginine, isoleucine and valine. It is a palatable feed that is easily consumed by birds. Its inclusion levels range from 25% in chicks to 30-40% in broilers, breeders and laying hens. Note that soybean meal is lacking in some nutrients such as vitamins B which can lead to   reproductive and performance problems in hens if not properly addressed. For this reason, a suitable feed supplement must be provided. It is recommended to provide soybean meal for poultry feed with grain so as to provide a good balance of all essential amino-acids. Feed additives may be necessary to ensure that all nutritional needs are met. An example of such a feed is the inclusion of synthetic methionine to counter limited methionine rations. Another important point to note prior to providing soybean meal is that it also contains oligosaccharides that are known to limit metabolisable energy and fibre digestion. To add on, soybean meal for poultry feed is also characterised by anti-nutritional factors, particularly trypsin inhibitors and lectins.

Soybean Meal for Physiological Advancement

Growth enhancers are of the essence in poultry farming. Delayed poultry maturity results in an increased financial investment. Farmers have been making use of chemical enhancers for a long time. Most countries have either banned or placed restrictions on the use of chemical growth enhancers. As such, natural growth agents have to be adopted. Soybean meal in poultry feed acts an efficient enhancer. Soybean meal contains high protein content necessary for growth and development of birds. Birds with a dietary plan consisting of soybean meal tend to perform better than those lacking of protein.  The importance of protein in dietary plans can be emphasized by its use in distinguishing between varieties of poultry feeds.  In addition to improved carcass growth, soybean meal contains micro-minerals such as calcium which aid in the development of bone. For this reason, broilers reach maturity earlier; the same applies to hens. They are able to hatch at a slightly younger age. It is advisable to provide soybean meal for poultry feed in a ration of less than 35%. Note that these statistics are lower for chickens.

Soybean Meal for Health Maintenance

Use of drugs without prescription from a certified veterinary professional is frowned upon. It is believed that medication like antibiotics may leave reside that may negatively impact on human health upon consumption. For this reason, it is important for farmers to come up with alternate ways to protect the flock whilst maintaining productivity. In addition to containing a range of amino acids, soybean meal for poultry feed is also essential at it contains vitamin B6, magnesium, iron and potassium among other minerals. These allow for healthy animals. However, for guarantee purposes, soybean meal for poultry feed has to be combined with a supplement rich in deficient nutrients in order to reap the desired outcome. Keep in mind that soybean meal for poultry feed contains nutrient inhibitors hence the need to heat prior to feeding and making sure that rations are considerably below. Overfeeding of soybean meal for poultry feed may cause the following effects:

  • Indigestible carbohydrates (oligosaccharides)
  • Low Phosphorus Digestibility
  • Trypsin Inhibitor
  • High inclusion above 35% in broilers can result in litter quality issues

Lipid oxidation causes health deterioration in poultry. It often affects the taste and overall quality of the meat.  Synthetic oxidants currently being used are known to leave residues that can potentially be harmful to both animal and human health. This issue is therefore of great concern among farmers and consumers alike. Soybean meal combined with feed additives of lacking nutrients can be used to control the effects of oxidative stress of animal health.

 Soybean Mean for Layers

Hens require feed sufficient in protein for maximum yields. As such, soybean meal can be used to ensure productivity. Nutrients found in soybean meal contribute towards the development of thicker and stronger egg shells. Eggs also tend to heavier in comparison to those with a soybean meal free dietary plan. However, soybeans are commonly used in broiler dietary plans rather than layer diets. This is because they are known to have high levels of fat which can potentially have adverse effects on productivity. Oversized birds often produce limited number of eggs, hence this school of thought. A number of agricultural research indicate that laying performance of hens is lower when they are too fat. Thus, soybean grains even toasted are used at lower rates in pullets and layer diets tin comparison to broilers diets.


The increase in poultry meal prices and other feed ingredients has led farmers to evaluate alternative sources in an effort to improve feed efficiency and reduce production costs. While soybean meal for poultry feed is expensive to purchase, it is highly nutritious therefore proves to be a worthy investment. It contains essential nutrients that are of the essence in maintenance of animal health and control of lipid oxidation which is a common challenge faced by the livestock farmers. To add on, soybean meal for poultry is important for bone development and timely growth. It has also been proven that layers provided with soybean rich feeds yield a higher produce of superior quality. Despite these numerous benefits, soybean meal for poultry feed can be detrimental to health if provided in excess.