Hatchery by-product meal is a suitable poultry feed due to its protein, fat and high calcium content. Its calcium availability is similar to that of bone meal or limestone and it can be used as a source of dietary calcium (Lilburn et al., 1997).
Hatchery by-product meal is a valuable protein source in broiler diets at any age. Its amino acid balance is better than that of fish meal (Khan et al., 2002; Rasool et al., 1999). However, recommended levels of inclusion are not fully consistent among authors and range from 3-4% (Mehdipour et al., 2009; Shahriar et al., 2008) to 8-12% (Rahman et al., 2003; Rasool et al., 1999).
Cooked or extruded hatchery by-product meals could totally and successfully replace fish meal in broiler diets (Rahman et al., 2003; Khan et al., 2002; Dhaliwal et al., 1998). Broilers fed on hatchery by-product meal instead of fish meal had better protein utilization and higher body weight gains (Rahman et al., 2003; Rasool et al., 1999). Less positive results have also been obtained. Feeding hatchery by-product depressed broiler growth, feed conversion and feed intake, though this might have been related to the elevated levels of dietary calcium (Zohari, 1975 cited by Al-Harthi et al., 2010). Hatchery by-product meal included at 8% of the broiler diets let to a higher feed conversion ratio and had deleterious effects on broiler meat quality (reduced shelf-life) (Shahriar et al., 2008).
Hatchery by-product meal can replace fish meal, soybean meal or meat and bone meal in layer diets (Abiola et al., 2004; Vandepopuliere et al., 1977; Wisman et al., 1965 cited by Al-Harthi et al., 2010). It had no negative effect on animal health or egg production and it is reported to improve egg quality: thicker eggshells, higher yolk and albumin weights (Abiola et al., 2004; Vandepopuliere et al., 1977). Inclusion levels ranging from 8 to 16% are recommended for hatchery by-product meal in layer diets (Al-Harthi et al., 2010; Vandepopuliere et al., 1977).
An extruded mixture of ground maize and centrifuged hatchery by-product included in the diet was free of aerobic pathogens and gave the same results as the control diet for feed conversion, egg production, egg weight and egg specific gravity (Tadtiyanant et al., 1993).
Autoclaved hatchery by-product meal used at 2-4% as a source of dietary calcium in a maize-soybean meal diet resulted in higher feed efficiency than bone meal in turkey diets (Lilburn et al., 1997). A dried extruded 25:75 mixture of fresh hatchery waste and soybean meal had an unexplainable yet beneficial effect on feed intake and the protein efficiency ratio, particularly at the lowest level of dietary protein (16%) (Lilburn et al., 1997).