Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine
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Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine



Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine

Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine



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Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine Document Transcript

  • Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine A Publication of ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service • 1-800-346-9140 • www.attra.ncat.orgBy Anne Fanatico, Ph.D, Because synthetic amino acids are generally banned in organic livestock production, and animal slaugh-Research Associate, ter by-products cannot be used in organic feed, nutrition can present challenges in organic poultryUSDA ARS production. Providing the amino acid methionine (MET) is generally the most difficult one. Feed rations© 2010 NCAT that are high in plant proteins, such as soybean meal, can be used instead of synthetic MET, but high- protein diets are not healthy for poultry or the environment. Diets containing fishmeal, milk products, and nonconventional sources of protein, such as earthworms or insects, can help provide MET, but the ingredients are expensive and, in most cases, not available in organic form. It is difficult to design diets with sufficient MET without oversupplying protein. For these reasons, development of a natural MET supplement is needed. Contents omnivorous in nature but are often fed as vegetarians in com-Introduction ......................1 mercial production. Under theSynthetic methionine ....2 European Union organic leg-Natural methionine islation, a greater amount ofsupplement .......................3 outdoor access is required forMethioninerequirements organic poultry than in theof poultry ...........................3 US. In Europe, organic poul-Methionine deficiency try production is not expectedproblems ............................6 to be as high-yield as conven-Methionine tional confinement systems,in feedstuffs.......................7 and slower-growing meat birdsFormulating diets and Photo courtesy Alisha Staggs are used. According to Sun-feeding strategies ........ 10 drum (2006), organic poultryConclusions .....................11References ...................... 12 Introduction production focuses on animal health and welfare, good environmental practices,Appendices .................... 15 The ban on synthetic amino acids in and product quality, and less on eco- organic livestock production is simi- nomic measures such as reducing costs lar to the ban on synthetic nitrogen in and maximizing production (weight gain, crop production. In both cases, protein/ feed efficiency, etc.). However, economic nitrogen is closely related to the level of returns are a concern for any commer- performance of the animal or crop (Sun- cial operation. For more information drum, 2005), but synthetic sources are on organic poultry requirements, see prohibited. Rather, organic produc- ATTRA’s Organic Poultry Production. tion relies on natural cycles of nitrogen (i.e., nitrogen-fixing by plants and nutri- In the U.S., synthetic methionine (MET)ATTRA – National Sustainable ent cycling via applications of animal has been the only synthetic amino acidAgriculture Information Service( is managed manure on crops). allowed in organic livestock production,by the National Center for Appro- and only in poultry. It is allowed tem-priate Technology (NCAT) and is Under the USDA National Organic Pro- porarily but is being phased out. Whenfunded under a grant from theUnited States Department of gram (NOP), poultry must be raised the NOP organic rule was first publishedAgriculture’s Rural Business- with outdoor access, fed certified organic in 2002, the MET allowance was to endCooperative Service. Visit theNCAT Web site ( feed and given no animal slaughter by- in 2005. An extension was granted untilsarc_current.php) for products, antibiotics, drugs or synthetic 2008 and then again until October 2010.more information onour sustainable agri- parasiticides. Interestingly, poultry are In the same vein, Europe has allowed aculture projects.
  • small amount of nonorganic feed ingre- corn and soybean diet and is generally dients to be used. From 2010 until the added in a pure form. The CYS require- end of 2011, 5% nonorganic ingredients ment can be provided by MET. Most of can be used. This small amount of non- the total sulfur amino acid requirement organic ingredients (i.e., potato protein is met by the feedstuffs (about 75%), but and corn gluten meal) has the potential the rest is normally supplemented by to supply the MET requirement. In the synthetic MET (about 25%). Synthetic U.S., a Methionine Task Force made up MET is used in virtually all commercial mainly of organic poultry producers poultry diets in the U.S., both conven- has been in contact with the National tional and organic. Organic Standards Board about the MET problem. The Task Force first Synthetic methionine began meeting in 2003 and was reorga- nized in 2006. Synthetic MET is manufactured as a pure amino acid. Common forms are Proteins are made up of amino acids, DL-MET and 2-hydroxy-4(methylthio) and MET is an essential amino acid that butanoic acid (a.k.a. methionine is not synthesized in sufficient quan- hydroxyl analogue free acid). Raw mate-Related ATTRA tity by the animal and must, therefore,publications rials for DL-Met include oil, natural gas, be supplied in the diet. Cysteine (CYS) air, and water which are used to makeArsenic in Poultry is another amino acid related to MET propene, sulphuric acid (H2S), metha-Litter: Organic metabolism, and together they are called nol (CH3OH), and ammonia (NH3) forRegulations the sulfur amino acids (see box below). manufacture of DL-MET (Binder, 2003).Organic Poultry Methionine can be provided as part of an DL-Methionine (the “DL” refers to theProduction in the intact protein or as a pure amino acid. It racemic mixture), comes in a crystal-United States is the most limiting amino acid (or the line form and is 99% available MET. ItParasite Manage- most difficult one to supply) in a typical is available from the companies Degussament for Natural and Methionine and Cysteine metabolism and Adisseo. Methionine hydroxyl ana-Organic Poultry: logue comes in a liquid form and isCoccidiosis (Sulfur Amino Acids) 88% available MET. It is available Methionine (MET) and cysteine (CYS) are collec- tively referred to as sulfur amino acids (SAA) and from Novus International. Synthetic are involved in complex metabolic processes. MET is inexpensive, but as the cost of Methionine is involved in the synthesis of body oil goes up, other methods of manufac- proteins and is a constituent of many body turing MET will be increasingly attrac- parts, including muscles, organs, and feath- tive. Synthetic MET is so pure that only ers. It is also involved in functions unrelated about 5 lbs. of DL-MET are needed per to protein synthesis, such as the synthesis of U.S. ton of feed. polyamines. In addition, MET is a methyl-group donor, helping to form dozens of compounds Products with zinc methionine available including epinephrine, choline, and DNA. After from Zinpro are listed by the Organic donation of a methyl group, through an irre- Material Review Institute (OMRI) as versible process called transsulfuration, MET being permitted in organic livestock can form CYS, another amino acid needed production. 4-Plex-E has 20% MET for protein synthesis. (Two cysteines bonded together form cystine.) Although not techni- (directions for feeding poultry are 1.6 cally an essential amino acid, CYS synthesis is lbs. per U.S. ton). Zinpro-E has 40% inadequate when poultry diets are deficient in MET (directions for feeding poultry are MET. The requirement for MET can be satisfied 0.4 lbs. per U.S. ton). Because feeding only by MET, whereas that for CYS can also be directions are just to satisfy zinc levels, met with MET. Betaine and choline are nutri- only a small amount of MET is provided. ents that are involved with MET metabolism Novus International has a zinc methio- and save or spare some MET. See the Appendix nine product, Mintrex, that is not listed for more information on MET metabolic path- ways and functions. by OMRI but has 80% MET value and is fed at 0.25 to 0.50 lbs. per U.S. ton.Page 2 ATTRA Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine
  • Natural methionine Table 1: Sulfur amino acid requirements of broilers*supplement (fast-growing broilers raised in an environmentally controlled indoor environment) Starter Grower FinisherThere is interest in developing a natu-ral MET supplement by fermentation, % % %extraction, or hydrolyzing protein. Methionine 0.50 0.38 0.32Many amino acids are produced com- Methionine + cystine 0.90 0.72 0.60mercially by bacterial fermentation. Source: NRC, 1994Because genetically-modified organismsare not permitted in organic production, *“Broilers” are chickens that are young birds, tender enough to beany MET-producing bacteria would need prepared by fast cooking methods such as be naturally selected. However, highlevels of MET are toxic, so the yields broilers. In the starter phase, they arefrom fermentation are very low and not 0.41% for MET and 0.41% for CYS.cost effective. Therefore, production islimited, and it is possible that natural Protein and amino acid requirementsMET can not be produced this way. vary considerably according to the pro- ductive state of the bird, that is, the rateMET can be extracted from intact pro- of growth or egg production. For exam-teins or proteins partially hydrolyzed to ple, a mature rooster is bigger than aisolate it, but there are no such products hen; however, the laying hen has higheron the market for livestock. amino acid requirements due to egg production.Methionine Factors affecting responses of poultryrequirements of poultry to amino acids include environmentalPoultry do not have specific require- temperature, dietary factors, immu-ments for crude protein levels, only nological stress, age, species, genetics,amino acid levels. Amino acid require- and gender. These factors either influ-ments are usually presented as percent- ence feed intake or reduce the efficiencyages of the diet. They may also be pre- of use of an amino acid (D’Mello, 1994).sented as a percentage of the protein For example, male meat birds need morerequirement. The National Research essential amino acids as well as moreCouncil’s (NRC) Nutrient Requirements feed than females.of Poultry is commonly used in the U.S.(available online at http://www.nap. Amino acid balanceedu/openbook.php?isbn=0309048923). Amino acids need an ideal balance inThe requirements of broilers are given relation to each other. An undersup-for starter, grower, and finisher phases, ply of a single essential amino acid willbecause the requirements change as the inhibit the responses to those in ade-bird grows (less amino acids and more quate supply. In poultry, lysine is usedenergy are required with age). Overall as the reference amino acid, and aminocrude protein levels of 23, 20, and 18% acid requirements can be expressed as aare used for starter, grower, and finisher percent of lysine (100%). For example,phases, respectively. The MET and CYS methionine plus cysteine should equalrequirements are listed in Table 1. 77.5% of the lysine level for a chick atThe NRC lists the total amino acid 0-3 weeks (Cole and Lunen, 1994). Therequirement rather than digestible ratio of MET to CYS should be aboutamino acid. Baker (1997) specifies 60:40. Ideal proteins differ for broilers,digestible amino acid requirements for layers, turkeys, and other types of ATTRA Page 3
  • Nutrient balance SAA by increasing their feed consump- tion, and that the SAA requirement for and feed intake maximum feed conversion efficiency was Energy-to-protein ratios are important. greater than the requirement for egg Energy is provided mainly by carbohy- production. drates and fats in the diet. If the diet is well-balanced, the bird eats primarily Ewing (1963) noted that as energy in the to satisfy its energy requirements. If the diet increases, the requirement of MET diet is deficient in protein in relation to increases in proportion. Forty years ago, its energy content, the bird will overeat at 1000 Cal/lb. of feed (2,222 kcal/kg), energy in an effort to obtain sufficient 0.50% MET was recommended in the protein. diet. Ewing suggests formulating diets with amino acid requirements calculated Dietary energy exerts its effect through as a percent of energy. variations in feed intake (Emmert, no date). As energy levels increase, feed According to Larbier and Leclercq intake decreases. A high-energy diet (1994), small birds such as leghorns are able to keep energy intake constant evenA effectively limits feed intake, which also ccord- limits amino acid intake. Therefore, with varying levels of dietary energy ing to U.S. a high dietary concentration of amino concentration, but heavy genotypes can- research, acids (and other nutrients) is needed for not (their feed intake is more constant).the methionine high-energy diets. The NRC nutrient Nutrient balance has an important requirements are based on high-energy, impact on the carcass. In general, dietsrequirement of slow- high-protein (high amino acid level) high in energy produce fat carcasses,growing birds is diets. These high efficiency diets began to and diets high in protein lead to leansimilar to that of be fed in the 1950s, and genetic selection carcasses. But again, the protein-to-fast-growing birds. favored birds with voracious appetites. energy balance is important. If a bird In contrast, as energy decreases, feed consumes excess energy compared to intake increases, requiring a lower con- protein, a fatter bird develops (Leeson centration of nutrients in the diet. If low and Summers, 1991). concentrations of amino acids are used, diets should be low-energy so that feed Methionine requirements of intake will be increased. slow-growing meat chickens Birds eat less when it is hot and more In the U.S., the fast-growing Cornish when it is cold (NRC, 1994). Therefore, Cross broiler is used in both conven- diets usually need to be higher in amino tional and organic production. In con- acids during hot weather in order to trast, slow-growing meat chickens are make sure birds get enough. used in the European Union organic pro- gram, as well as the French Label Rouge Feeding diets deficient in essential program, and have a growing period of amino acids can increase feed intake. about 12 weeks. Small growers in the Cherry & Siegel (1981) fed pullets diets U.S. often use standard-bred birds, such that were equal in energy and contained as Barred Rock or New Hampshire, 15% crude protein and only differed in which are very slow-growing. levels of MET and SAA. The three diets contained 0.27, 0.32, and 0.37% MET, In the U.S., maximum protein accretion and 0.51, 0.56, and 0.61% SAA, respec- is the goal both in conventional and most tively. Dietary effects on bodyweight, organic poultry production, and geno- age at sexual maturity, egg production, types with a high growth capacity are egg size, and egg quality were not signifi- raised with a high supply of amino acids cant. They found that the pullets com- in concentrated diets. In contrast, in pensated for a marginal deficiency of Europe slower growth and lower proteinPage 4 ATTRA Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine
  • accretion are expected in organic poul- efficiency, andtry production, and low-protein, low- greater carcassenergy diets are fed to maintain a slow and parts yieldgrowth curve. than slower-grow- ing birds. The levelAccording to Sundrum (2005), a slow of MET had a sig-growth curve is important in sensory nificant impact onqualities of the meat that consumers weight gain. Thereprefer. In the US, Fanatico et al. (2007) was no interac-found that a trained sensory panel noted tion between METmore intense flavors in the thigh meat level and geno- Photo courtesy Alisha Staggsof 12-week-old slow-growing birds com- type, meaning thatpared to that of 8-week-old fast-growing the slow- and medium-growing birdsbirds; however, the consumer sensory responded the same way that the fast-panel could not distinguish a difference. growing birds did (weight gain increasedU.S. consumers, accustomed to the sen- with increased level of MET). However,sory attributes of conventional poultry, an interaction did occur when breastmay require additional experience and yield was measured. Breast yield of Fastexposure to specialty poultry meats to birds increased with the level of MET;recognize their qualities. breast yield of Medium birds respondedThe nutrient requirements of high- only to the Intermediate diet; and breastyielding broilers raised in controlled yield of Slow birds responded only to theindoor environments are well-known. High diet.In contrast, the nutrient requirements Han and Baker (1991) found that slow-of lower-yielding meat chickens raised growing meat chickens require the aminoin less controlled housing with access to acid lysine at the same concentration asthe outdoors and a high level of activ- fast-growing broilers. However, the fast-ity are not as well-known. Peter et al. growing broilers required more than(1997 ) found that a protein level of 20% twice as much daily lysine as the slow-is adequate as a starter for slow-growing growing meat birds; the increased needbirds. After six weeks, protein content was supplied by greater daily feed intake.can be reduced to 17.5%. The body composition of meat chick-U.S. research was conducted to deter- ens may come into play when consid-mine the MET requirements of slower- ering amino acid requirements. If thegrowing meat chickens. Fanatico et al. protein-to-fat ratio of the bird is greater(2006) raised three genotypes with dif- in a fast-growing chick than in a slow-ferent growth rates (Fast, Medium, and growing chick, then dietary amino acidSlow), using graded levels of MET, and requirements may be higher for the fast-found that, based on feed efficiency and growing chick.weight gain responses, the MET andSAA requirements of the various geno-types are similar during the starter and Laying hensgrower phases. Breast yield response was The requirements for layers are givennot measured. on the basis of feed intake. For exam- ple, 0.30% MET and 0.58% SAA areFanatico et al. (2007) also compared required for leghorn-type layers thatthese three genotypes when they were consume 100 g (0.22 lb.) of feed per day.given a low-MET basal diet or diets con- Brown-egg layers have 10% higher aminotaining intermediate or high MET lev- acid requirement values than white-eggels that were formulated with or without layers because of their heavier weight.synthetic MET. As expected, the Fast Laying hens have lower MET require-birds had higher weight gain, better feed ments than meat birds. But during ATTRA Page 5
  • 22-34, layers are still growing and, at the In the past: How did we raise poultry same time, laying eggs. The amino acid before synthetic methionine was requirements of low-yielding standard available? breed layers such as Rhode Island Reds Synthetic MET was not used in diets until the or Brown Leghorns are not well-known. 1950s. In the past, poultry ate many animal products such as meat and bone meal; high- Turkeys protein diets were common. Turkey poults have very high amino acid requirements to meet the demands maximum economic returns may not be of their rapid growth. It can be hard to the only goal. get sufficient amino acids into poults in According to Sundrum (2005), there are the starter phase because feed intake is no effects on animal health from feeding low, and the poults need to accrete a lot a suboptimal diet or low-nutrient diet, of protein. This is especially difficult to but the birds may not be fully realizing do without synthetic MET. From 0 to their genetic potential. In fact, breeding 4 weeks, 0.55% MET and 1.05% SAA companies that sell specialty birds usu- are required. Amino acid needs of tur- ally show expected growth performance keys differ substantially by gender. In on a high-nutrient diet as well as a low- Europe, slow-growing turkeys are used nutrient diet designed for conventional in the same vein as slow-growing meat and specialty production, respectively. chickens as discussed above. See Hubbard Breeders Website, www. Methionine deficiency S757N.pdf, for an example. problems Low-nutrient diets or feed restrictions are often used in the starter phase to The protein and amino acid concentra- slow the growth of fast-growing birds in tions presented as requirement in the order to reduce metabolic disorders and NRC are to support maximum growth lameness. Feed density can be increased and production. Achieving maximum later for compensatory gain (Sundrum, growth and production, however, may 2005). The ability to adapt to variations not always ensure maximum economic in feed supply as wild animals do still returns, particularly when prices of pro- exists in domestic animals (Sundrum, tein sources are high (NRC, 1994). And 2005). However, high-yielding animals are more sensitive to suboptimal feedFigure 1. Feather cover (% of body size) rations than low-yielding animals.100    U.S. organic poultry companies are   concerned that fast-growing birds with  80 reduced MET levels in their diet will not only perform poorly, but will also suffer impaired immune function, resulting in 60   poor feathering, feather pecking, canni-    balism, and mortality.   40  The antioxidant mechanisms of sulphur amino acids and their compounds are  important. Normally, cells are equipped 20 with antioxidant mechanisms to deal  — 1 LSL  – – 2 Hyl  - - - 3 LSL with free radicals. If antioxidants are  — 1 SH  – – 2 SH  - – - 3 L. Silver 0 out of balance, problems can occur that 1.8 2.3 2.8 3.3 3.8 cause decreased animal performance.Source: Elwinger, K. and R. Tausen. 2009. Methionine, (g/kg) Sulphur-containing compounds suchPage 6 ATTRA Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine
  • as MET and CYS are powerful antioxi- company has a table of digestibility ofdants that can prevent damage in cells amino acids in various feed ingredients(Anon, 2009). (available on its Website, http://www. Methio-Elwinger and Tausen (2009) found that nine in most ingredients, such as in cornreduced MET levels reduce feather coverand egg weight, although the produc- and soybean meal, is highly digestibletion of eggs was not affected. See Fig- (91%), but in flaxmeal, MET digest-ure 1. They also found that feed intake ibility is only 82%, and in sesame mealincreased as feather cover deteriorated, only 42%.thus reducing feed efficiency.Ambrosen and Petersen (1997) studied Chart 1: Methionine and cysteine content of feedstuffsthe impact of protein levels in feed (11% Met Cys Notesvs 19% crude protein) on cannibal-ism and plumage quality. The plumage Soybean, full-fat, extruded 0.48 0.56improved with increased protein. Chick- Soybean meal, expelled 0.54 0.59ens supplemented with MET had better Fishmeal, menhaden 1.68 0.5plumage quality and reduced feather Yeast, brewers dried 0.64 0.43pecking compared to the MET-defi- Casein 2.56 0.4 ratio met to cys iscient birds. However, Biedermann et al. not good; should be(1993) did not show poor feathering with 60:40low protein levels. There are many fac- Milk powder, skim 0.79 0.33tors involved in feather pecking besidethe nutrient level, and it is common for Rice 0.22 0.19feather pecking to occur on farms with Meat and bone meal 0.81 0.58high levels of MET in the diet. >50%CP Meat meal >50% CP 0.72 0.85Methionine in feedstuffs Potato protein 1.64 1.06 Black soldier larvae 0.9Methionine and cysteine are present asintact proteins in various feedstuffs. Algae 1.33 0.55(Methionine is expressed as a percent Rapeseed, full-fat 0.38 0.46of the feed ingredient or as a percent of Soybean meal, 48% CP 0.64 0.7the protein in the feed ingredient.) The Sunflower meal expeller 0.67 0.49Degussa (Evonik) company has a data- Sunflower, full-fat 0.38 0.3base that lists amino acids, includingMET and CYS, present in feedstuffs. It Sesamemeal 1.06 0.6is updated every five years and will be Safflower meal 0.38 0.41online in the future. Corn is low in MET flax meal(0.17%), and soybean meal is moderate Dried distiller grains abd 0.51 0.48(0.64%). See Chart 1 for MET and CYS soluble, corncontents of various feedstuffs. Alfalfa meal 0.21 0.16As mentioned earlier, the amount of Grass 0.27 0.16total sulfur amino acids (MET + CYS) in Corn gluten meal, 60% CP 1.46 1.06feedstuffs should be considered instead Corn 0.17 0.18of only MET. If CYS is inadequate, someof the MET will be used to satisfy that Wheat 0.19 0.27requirement. Field peas 0.19 0.31Amino acids are more digestible in some Whey powder 0.17 0.24ingredients than others. The Ajinomoto Source: AminoDat Degussa Amino Acid ATTRA Page 7
  • and crabmeal, in conjunction Small- vs large-scale organic poultry production with small-scale methods of de- Profit margins are usually thin in poultry production, including organic hulling sunflowers, and found the production. Therefore, feed efficiency and breast yield are important mea- approach questionable (FNE05- surements for companies to determine profitability. These measurements may not be as important to small producers who may have wider profit 54). margins or may manage their operations as hobbies rather than businesses. • Canola (a cultivar of rapeseed) Small-scale producers generally use extensive free-range systems in which meal is lower than soybean meal grassy areas provide additional nutrients, including live protein (insects, in MET. worms, etc.) and high-quality forages during warm months. • Flaxseeds have a MET content of 0.62% and should be limited Plant protein because of a fishy flavor left in the meat or eggs. If only plant protein is used, more protein is required than when animal proteins • While corn is relatively low in are also used. However, high-protein MET, corn gluten meal is high diets are not good for the birds or the (1.46% MET). Unfortunately, environment. Various types of plant pro- there is none in organic form in tein are discussed below. the US. • Oilseed meals, such as soybean • High-methionine corn has been meal, are common poultry feeds naturally selected by the Michael after the oil has been extracted Field Institute (http://michaelfield- for the vegetable oil market, leaving a high-protein meal. Corn_Breeding.pdf). Jacob et al. However, the extraction process (2008) fed the variety 3 floury-2 uses chemical solvents, and the MF hybrid, which averages 0.32% remaining meal is not permitted MET, compared to 0.18% in con- in organic production. Organic ventional corn. They found that soybeans are produced in full- synthetic MET was not needed fat (roasted or extruded) or meal when using high-MET corn for (expelled) form. pullets. However, high-MET corn is also high in protein; therefore, • Many legumes and oil seeds such the overall high protein content of as field beans, field peas, lentils, the diet is still a problem. In addi- etc. have antinutritional factors tion, the high moisture and low (ANF), including tannins and lec- yield of this corn variety make it tins; some ANF can be removed by unattractive to corn growers. processing or heat-treatment. For example, soybeans have a trypsin • Potato protein is high in MET inhibitor and must be heat-treated (1.64%), and it is a conventional to destroy it. by-product that is currently used in Europe, where a small percent- • Sesame meal has a high MET con- age of feed ingredients do not have tent (1.06%); however, the MET is to be organic in organic livestock not well-digested and is also low in production. There is very little if lysine. any organic potato protein in the • Sunflower meal has a MET con- U.S. tent similar to soybean meal. Chickens cannot remove the hull Animal protein of whole sunflower seeds. A SARE Animal protein is high quality and a producer project looked at provid- good source of MET. In a natural set- ing MET through a combination ting, poultry consume many sources of of dehulled sunflowers, fishmeal, animal protein, including insects andPage 8 ATTRA Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine
  • worms. In the past, animal slaughter only provide small areas (the NOP doesby-products (i.e., meat and bone meal) not specify stocking density for outdoorwere important ingredients in poultry areas); therefore, birds may not havediets (see box), but they are banned in significant access to grassy areas. Smallorganic livestock production. However, poultry producers, however, usuallyother animal products can be used, such provide extensive outdoor access by wayas fishmeal and milk products, and are of small portable houses moved regu-discussed below. Insects and worms on larly to fresh pasture. Forage is a sourcerange provide high-quality protein. of MET. Although the MET level of forage is generally low to moderate, for- • Fishmeal is a good source of MET aging should be encouraged. Birds can (1.68%) in organic livestock pro- also obtain high-quality protein from duction. However, there is little insects and worms on pasture. fishmeal available without the syn- thetic preservative ethoxyquine Moritz et al. (2005) found in the sum- which is not permitted in organic mer that forage (tall fescue, orchard- production. Natural substances grass, red clover, and white clover) F such as tocopherol can be used to had higher MET levels than in the fall ishmeal and prevent rancidity. Unfortunately, (0.31% vs. 0.17%, respectively). They there is very little fishmeal avail- compared broiler performance in diets dairy prod- able without ethoxyquinine. Fish- with/without synthetic methionine and ucts can meal can be used only in small with/without feed restriction. They con- provide high-quality amounts because it taints the fla- cluded that the ability of forage to meet protein for organic vor of meat and eggs. Some com- the MET requirement depends on envi- poultry. Worms panies market their products as ronmental conditions and subsequent “veg-fed,” and, therefore, fishmeal feed intake. Horsted et al. (2006) found and insects on pas- is not an option for them. that chicory was an especially attractive ture are also a good • Dairy by-products can be high forage to hens and had a moderate MET protein source but in MET and highly digestible. content (0.40%). The quality of forages may contribute to Because liquid milk products are needs to be maintained for good MET parasite problems in not concentrated due to the pres- levels. In most parts of the country, for- age growth slows or stops in the winter. birds due to indirect ence of water, powdered or concen- Moritz found that the digestibility of for- life cycles. trated products are particularly useful. Casein is the solid residue age varies over the seasons as well. that remains after the acid or ren- Earthworms and insects are high-qual- net coagulation of milk. It has a ity proteins, similar to fishmeal, and very high level of MET (2.56 %) high in MET. While there are few com- and is very high in crude protein mercial products, Neptune Industries (80%). Organic casein is not avail- developed Ento-Protein, an insect meal, able commercially for livestock and worms and insects can also be pro- feed. Whey powder, a by-product duced on-farm. Worms and insects can of cheese-making after most of the convert wastes such as food scraps or protein and fat are removed, is not animal manure to high-quality protein. particularly high in MET unless The remains, especially worm castings, the protein is concentrated. can also be very useful soil amendments. • Dried brewer’s yeast has a moder- See ATTRA’s Worms for Composting ate level of MET (0.64%). (Vermicomposting) and Baitworm Pro- duction. Additional unconventional pro-Additional proteins teins are discussed below.Outdoor access is required in organic • Black soldier flies lay eggs inpoultry production. Many operations waste, and when the larvae hatch, ATTRA Page 9
  • they consume the waste and eases, and ammonia emissions from develop into a source of high- poultry houses are a concern for air quality protein. The larvae can quality. Metabolizing excess protein can “self-harvest” because they crawl also be detrimental to the bird, stress- upwards and will fall into collec- ing the kidneys, depending on the extent tion tubes. of the excess (Fanatico, et al. 2009). • Algae is high in MET (1.33%). Evidence that excess protein causes Chlorella has potential as a feed stress in birds is also seen in the supplement; however, production increased size of adrenals (Leeson and in ponds, harvesting, and drying Summers, 1991). Feeding high levels are challenging. of protein, particularly fishmeal, can predispose birds to necrotic enteritis • Worms, algae, and aquatic plants (Dahiya and Drew, 2007). accumulate heavy metals at con- centrations greater than in the In addition, plant proteins usually have surrounding environment, and antinutritional factors that require heat these heavy metals could transfer treatment or other processing to remove.I If synthetic to meat and eggs (DEFRA, 2006). Many feeds have maximum inclusion Unconventional proteins may be rates beyond which feeds can not be MET is removed too expensive because of the labor used without determintal effects. See from typical and processing required. Leeson and Summers (1991) for morediets based on corn • Although some of the feedstuffs information.and soybean meal, discussed above are high in MET, Broiler and layer diets without syntheticthe feed ingredients large amounts are required to MET were formulated by the Methionineshould be adjusted meet SAA requirements com- Task Force in 2003 and compared to ato provide more MET. pared to the very small amounts diet with synthetic MET (see Appendix). of a pure MET supplement. For All the diets without synthetic MET are instance, one pound of DL-MET excessive in protein, with the exception replaces 50 pounds of fishmeal. of diets using potato protein and corn gluten meal, which are not available in Formulating diets and organic form in the U.S. In addition, feeding strategies earthworm meal is not available. A chart accompanies the formulations and shows It is difficult to meet SAA requirements digestible or available MET in various in organic poultry production without feedstuffs. also providing excessive protein. Sup- plying sufficient MET to birds with There are strategies to conserve feed- plant proteins, such as soybeans or sun- stuffs with high-quality protein. For flower meal, may result in diets with example, the highest quality proteins excessive protein levels, which can be (generally animal proteins) should be harmful to both the birds and the envi- used in the starter phase when birds are ronment. Birds excrete the nitrogen in young, their digestive systems are not protein as uric acid, which is broken developed, and their feed intake is low. down into water and ammonia. Extra Plant proteins can be used later dur- water is needed to excrete excess pro- ing finishing (Sundrum, 2005). Multiple tein, making litter wetter and promot- phase feeding (beyond the usual starter, ing microbial growth. High-moisture grower, and finisher phases) can be use- litter creates an optimal environment ful to more closely match the diet with for pathogens and can cause breast blis- nutrient requirements. A broiler’s nutri- ters. Excess ammonia can also cause ent requirements change daily rather respiratory problems, which increases than only three times. the susceptibility of birds to other dis-Page 10 ATTRA Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine
  • In “choice feeding,” a completely formu- See Table 3 for fishmeal-based organiclated feed is not provided but rather the broiler diets designed by West Vir-separate ingredients. For example, corn ginia University for research using bothmay be offered separately from a pro- slow- and fast-growing broilers. No syn-tein concentrate mixed with vitamins thetic MET is used, and all the ingredi-and minerals. Choice feeding could help ents are available in the U.S.match nutrients even more closely torequirements that change daily accord- Trialsing to temperature, stage of produc- The Methionine Task Force and its mem-tion, and gender. In choice feeding, bers have conducted feeding trials to testhomegrown organic feeds can be read- various diets. For example, Organic Val-ily used. Many grains are provided in ley did trials with high-MET corn andwhole forms to reduce processing costs, presented a poster at the 1st IFOAMimprove gut health and maintain nutri- International Conference on Animalsent content. in Organic Production (see Appendix). Some trials included additional be-Diet formulations taine in an attempt to spare or reduceThere are diet formulations available the need for some MET.for feeding with synthetic MET, such The Methionine Task Force has alsoas those at the Canadian Website http:// sponsored research to develop a ral methionine product. In addition, thepoultry/bba01s38.html. However, nei- Task Force commissioned an 80-pagether the MET levels nor protein levels literature review of methionine byof the diets are listed, so it is not known researchers at California State Polytech-whether the target MET level is met nic University (Burns-Whitmore, 2007).without excessive protein. See Nutrition and Feeding of OrganicSample diet formulations for broilers, Poultry (Blair, 2008) for general infor-layers, and turkeys are provided in Pos- mation on organic feedstuffs and feeding.sibilities and Limitations of Protein Sup-ply in Organic Poultry and Pig Produc-tion (Sundrum, 2005). However, many of Conclusionsthe ingredients are nonorganic, such as It is likely that organic poultry will notpotato protein and corn gluten meal, and have enough methionine in the diet afterthese cannot be used in the U.S. synthetic methionine has been banned or that the diets will contain excessiveSee Table 2 for starter and grower protein. Animal proteins (dairy prod-organic meat-chicken diets from Europe ucts, fishmeal, or insects/worms) andusing organic sunflower, sesame, and nonconventional proteins such as algaerapeseed, which can be difficult to have an important role to play, but aobtain in the U.S. Note that the MET natural methionine supplement wouldand MET+CYS levels are lower than greatly reduce the problem.those recommended by the ATTRA Page 11
  • References production. European Symposium on Poultry Nutri- tion, Edinburgh, Scotland, August 23-27, 2009.Ambrosen, T. and V.E. Petersen. 1997. The influ-ence of protein level in the diets on cannibalism Emmert, J. L. No date. Sulfur Amino Acid Nutri-and quality of plumage of layers. Poultry Science tion of Broilers.76(4):559-563. Ewing, W. Ray. 1963. Poultry Nutrition. 5th Edi-Anon. 2009. Amino acids focus at Adisseo seminar. tion (revised). The Ray Ewing Company, Pasadena,World Poultry. Sept. 2. California. Pp. 1475.Baker, D.H. 1997. Ideal amino acid profiles for Fanatico, A.C., C.M. Owens, and J.L. Emmert.swine and poultry and their application in feed for- 2009. Organic Poultry Production in the U.S.:mulation. BioKyowa Technical Review No. 9, pp. Broilers. Journal of Applied Poultry Research1-24. 18(2):355-366.Binder, M. 2003. Life Cycle Analysis of DL-methio- Fanatico, A.C., P. B. Pillai, J. L. Emmert, E. E.nine in broiler meat production. Animo News. June. Gbur, J. F. Meullenet, and C. M. Owens. 2007. Sen- sory attributes of slow- and fast-growing chickenBiedermann, G. von, N. Schmiemann, and K. genotypes raised indoors or with outdoor access.Lange. 1993. Investigations of the effects of plum- Poultry Science 86:2441-2449.age condition at different ages in laying hens.Archiv fur Geflugelkunde 57(6):280-285. Fanatico, A.C., T. O’Connor-Dennie, C. M. Owens, and J. L. Emmert. 2007. Performance of alterna-Blair, R. 2008. Nutrition and Feeding of Organic tive meat chickens for organic markets: impact ofPoultry. CAB International, Wallingford, Oxford- genotype, methionine level, and methionine source.shire, U.K. 314 pp. Poultry Science 86 (Supplement 1). Abstract.Burns-Whitmore, B. 2007. A Review of Recent Sci- Fanatico, A.C., P. B. Pillai, T. O’Connor-Dennie,entific Research of Methionine. California State J. L. Emmert. 2006. Methionine requirements ofPolytechnic University, Pomona. http://www.ams. alternative slow-growing genotypes. Poultry ence 85 (Supplement 1). Abstract.RDC5067942. Downloaded Aug. 2009. Han, Y. and D.H. Baker. 1991. Lysine requirementsCherry, J. A. and P.B. Siegel. 1981. Compensatory of fast- and slow-growing broiler chicks. Poultryincrease in feed consumption in response to mar- Science 70(10):2108-2114.ginal levels of the sulfur containing amino acids. Horsted, K., M. Hammershoj, and J.E. Herman-Archiv fur Geflugelkunde 45(6):269-273. sen. 2006. Short-term effects of productivity andCole, D.J.A. and T.A. van Lunen. 1994. Ideal egg quality in nutrient-restricted versus non-Amino Acid Patterns. Pp. 99-112. In: Amino Acids restricted organic layers with access to differentin Farm Animal Nutrition. CAB International, forage crops. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Sec-Wallingford, Oxfordshire, U.K. tion A, Animal Science 56(1):42-54.Dahiya, J.P. and M.D. Drew. 2007. Balanced amino Jacob, J. P., N. Levendoski, and W. Goldstein 2008.acid control NE: part 2. Feedstuffs. Pp. 26-27, 29. Inclusion of high methionine corn in pullet diets.July 9. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 17(4):440.DEFRA. 2006. Organic egg production: A sustain- Larbier, M. and B. Leclercq. 1994. Nutrition andable method for meeting the organic hen’s protein Feed of Poultry. INRA, Paris, France.requirements. Project code OF0357. U.K. Leeson, S. and J.D. Summers. 1991. Commer-D’Mello, J.P.F. 1994. Amino Acids in Farm Ani- cial Poultry Nutrition. University Books, Guelph,mal Nutrition. CAB International, Wallingford, Ontario, Canada. P. 283.Oxfordshire, U.K. National Research Council. 1994. NutrientElwinger, K. and R. Tausen. 2009. Low-methio- Requirements of Poultry. 9th rev. ed. Nationalnine diets are a potential health risk in organic egg Academy Press, Washington, D.C.Page 12 ATTRA Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine
  • Moritz, J.S., A.S. Parsons, N.P. Buchanan, N.J.Baker, J. Jaczynski, O.J. Gekara, and W. B. Bryan.2005. Synthetic methionine and feed restrictioneffects on performance and meat quality of organi-cally reared broiler chickens. Journal of AppliedPoultry Research 14(3):521-535.Peter, W., S. Danicke, H. Jeroch, M. Wicke, andG. von Lengerken. 1997. Influence of intensity ofnutrition on selected parameters of carcass andmeat quality of French Label type chickens. Archivfur Geflugelkunde 61(3):110-116.Sundrum, A. 2005. Possibilities and limitationof protein supply in organic poultry and pig pro-duction. Organic Revision: Research to supportrevision of the EU regulation on organic agricul-ture. Downloaded Jan. 2009Sundrum, A. 2006. Protein supply in organic poul-try and pig production. Pp. 195-199 in Proceedingsof the 1st IFOAM International Conference on Ani-mals in Organic Production, St. Paul, Minnesota,Aug. 23-25.Table 2. Organic starter and grower diets Starter 0-3 weeks Grower 3 -11 weeks % %Corn 20 15Wheat 37 43.5Sunflower 7 7Pea 4Rapeseed 5 2Soybean meal 24 22Sesame 1 1Soy oil 2.5 2.5Minerals/vitamins 3 3Organic acid 0.5 0Calculated feed composition (%)Crude protein 20.5 19.7MET 0.34 0.32MET+CYS 0.71 0.675Source: modified from Rodenburg, T.B., J. Van Harn, M.M. Van Krimpen, M.A.W. Ruis, I. Vermeij and H.A.M.Spoolder. 2008. Comparison of three different diets for organic broiler: effects on performance and bodycondition. British Poultry Science ATTRA Page 13
  • Table 3. Organic research diet formulations and descriptions of nutrient content Starter formulation1 Grower formulation Finisher formulation Item Slow-growing Fast-growing Slow-growing Fast-growing Slow-growing Fast-growing broiler broiler broiler broiler broiler broiler (0–28 d) (0–21 d) (28–56 d) (21–38 d) (56–83 d) (38–54 d) Ingredient (%) Corn 38.33 38.33 54.90 54.90 65.55 65.55 Soybean meal (44%) 43.91 52.08 36.19 34.45 26.24 24.95 Sand2 6.22 — — — — — Soybean oil 4.53 1.86 5.00 3.02 3.14 5.00 Fish meal (60.9%) 4.00 5.00 0.25 5.00 2.00 2.08 Limestone 1.18 1.16 1.33 1.05 1.17 1.00 Dicalcium 1.10 0.86 1.53 0.82 1.11 0.66 phosphate Salt 0.42 0.41 0.51 0.46 0.49 0.46 Vitamin-mineral 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20 0.20 premix3 Choline 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.10 Calculated nutrient ME (kcal/kg) 2,918 2,918 3,215 3,131 3,209 3,167 CP 25 29 20 22 18 19 Methionine 0.44 0.52 0.35 0.43 0.34 0.38 TSAA 0.82 0.95 0.68 0.77 0.63 0.68 Analyzed nutrient CP 24 27 22 24 21 23 Met 0.41 0.45 0.33 0.38 0.32 0.37 1 All formulations were breed-specific to recommendations determined by the University of Arkansas. 2 Washed builder’s sand was used to dilute nutrients in the Slow-growing diets so that corn percentages could remain constant among Slow-growing and Fast-growing diets. 3 Supplied per kilograms of diet: vitamin D3, 1,361 ICU; vitamin A, 3,629 IU; vitamin E, 9.07 IU; vitamin K, 0.679 mg; thiamine, 0.453 mg; riboflavin, 2.27 mg; niacin, 18.1 mg; pantothenic acid, 4.54 mg; pyridoxine, 0.907 mg; folacin, 0.227 mg; biotin, 0.011 mg; vitamin B12, 0.005 µg; calcium, 0.093 g; sodium, 0.025 mg; potassium, 1.4 mg; magnesium, 26.5 mg; sulfur, 61.7 mg; manganese, 9.82 mg; zinc, 20.58 mg; iron, 8.23 mg; copper, 2.06 mg; iodine, 0.411 mg; selenium, 0.039 mg. Source: Adapted from Rack, A.L., K.G.S. Lilly, K.R. Beaman, C.K. Gehring, and J.S. Moritz. The effect of genotype, choice feeding, and season on organically reared broilers fed diets devoid of synthetic methionine. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 18:54-65.Page 14 ATTRA Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine
  • Appendix AMethionine Pathway Jason L. Emmert, Timothy A. Garrow and David H. Baker. 1996. Hepatic Betaine- Homocysteine Methyltransferase Activity in the Chicken is Influenced by Dietary Intake of Sulfur Amino Acids, Choline and Betaine. Journal of Nutrition, 126: 2050-2058. Figure 1. Metabolism of sulfur amino acids, cho- line and betaine. Page 2051.Appendix BEvaluation of Organic Broiler and Layer Ration FormulationsIntroduction methionine levels rather than the available methi- onine values shown on this chart. This was doneA series of ration formulations was developed to because many of the ingredients contain significantevaluate the viability of using alternative ingredi- total methionine levels, but due to many factors,ents to replace the available methionine currently only a fraction of this methionine is available tosupplied by synthetic sources in poultry rations. poultry. Using the available methionine values forThe ingredients’ nutritional information came both the ingredients and the nutritional require-from several sources: Feedstuffs Reference Guide ments results in the most valid ration formulations.2003-2004, National Research Council’s Nutri- It must be noted that both the nutritional contentent Requirements of Poultry (1994), Ajinomoto of ingredients and the nutritional requirements forHeartland LLC, and information supplied by sev- ration formulations will vary among nutritionistseral ingredient producers. The nutritional profiles and feed manufacturers. The values presented herethat served as the basis for the formulations were are an attempt to establish acceptable averages forderived using several sources as well. each bird type.The basis for feed formulation is developing thenutritional matrix that is the backbone for each Available Methionine Content ofingredient. For each ingredient, a complete nutri-tional profile must be established for each of the Ingredients for Poultrynutritional constraints of the ration. The values The range of available methionine values in ingre-shown in the attached chart, “Available Methionine dients that could possibly meet organic produc-Content of Ingredients for Poultry,” were developed tion standards (no animal by-products) is signifi-using the previously identified sources of informa- cant, from a low of 0.08% of the ingredient (as fed)tion. Typically, many evaluations have used total for dried kelp meal to a high of 0.93% for Menha- den fishmeal. For the purposes of this evaluation, ATTRA Page 15
  • fishmeal will be considered an acceptable ingre- protein and available lysine were excessive. There-dient under the organic standards. The primary fore, Ration C should be considered unacceptableingredients in current poultry rations are corn and due to these surpluses. Rations D was formulatedsoybean meal. Corn (0.16% available methionine) is with fishmeal and corn gluten meal, while Rationextremely low in available methionine and soybean E used fishmeal, corn gluten meal, potato protein,meal (0.61% available methionine) can be consid- earthworm meal, and sesame meal. In Rations Dered as moderate in its available methionine con- and E, the target values were achievable for energytent. For these reasons, it is the standard in poultry and available methionine, and the excesses in avail-rations that supplemental synthetic methionine is able lysine were at an acceptable level. The mainadded. These synthetic sources typically are DL- concern with Rations D and E is the increase inmethionine (99% available methionine) and HMB protein of about 7 to 8%. Several nutritionists con-(Alimet, 88% available methionine). Due to the tacted were uncomfortable with protein levels thatavailable methionine potencies of the supplements, exceeded the requirements by more than 5%. Itthe typical inclusion rate is three to six pounds per might be possible to reduce this protein excess ifton of the ration (0.15 to 0.3% of the ration). For more alternative ingredients were available andthe rations in this example, organic soybean oil was used in the ration.also used when necessary to allow more formulation These formulations simulated a broiler ration. Tur-freedom, even though many organic feed producers key rations are more nutrient dense than broilerdo not use soybean oil (the oil is usually supplied to rations, but the amino acid balance is proportion-the ration in the form of full-fat soybean meal). ally similar. It can be assumed that in attempt- ing to formulate turkey rations with these sameBroiler Ration Formulation constraints and ingredients, there would be simi-The attached sheet summarizes a series of broiler lar deficiencies and excesses, and most likely to arations that were formulated to meet a common greater magnitude.nutrient profile. The nutrients of interest in this com-parison are shown in the “Nutritional Comparison” Layer Ration Formulationsection below each ration. The alternative ingredi- The same ingredient restrictions were used for bothents chosen for these formulations were restricted to the layer rations and the broiler rations. As withthose with the greatest available methionine content. the broiler rations, Rations B and C are unaccept-The “Other” portion of the diet is comprised of all able due to deficiencies in energy and excesses inother required ingredients: limestone, phosphate, protein and available lysine. For the layer rations,salt, trace minerals, and vitamins. Rations D and E, with the expanded use of alter-Ration A represents what could be considered a native ingredients, proved to be feasible solutions,current ration. Ration B is the resulting formula- without the energy deficiencies and the protein andtion after removing the DL methionine. In this case, available lysine excesses seen in the broiler rations.several compromises had to be made to achieve a This can be explained by the fact that layer rationsfeasible solution. These compromises result in a are less nutrient dense than rations for broilers orration that would be unsuitable for broiler produc- turkeys.tion. The energy of Ration B had to be reduced by100 kcals and the available methionine reduced by Conclusions0.04%. At the same time, the protein of the rations This series of formulations demonstrates thatincreased from 21 to 38% (a level which could be synthetic methionine supplements cannot sim-physiologically harmful to the birds) and the avail- ply be removed from the rations and the remain-able lysine (the second essential amino acid after ing ingredients reformulated. The resulting imbal-methionine) was increased by 102%. Ration C was ances would be detrimental to the birds’ health. Itformulated without DL methionine but with fish- appears that the use of fishmeal alone as an alter-meal allowed up to a limit of 2.5% of the ration. native ingredient is not sufficient to replace theIn this ration, the target available methionine synthetic methionine. It did appear that poten-level of 0.49% was achievable, but (as in Ration B) tially feasible rations could be developed with thean energy level reduction was required, and thePage 16 ATTRA Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine
  • use of alternative ingredients. The primary con-straint of this last conclusion is that these ingredi-ents are either non-existent or of extremely limitedavailability when they are forced to fully complywith the organic ingredients standards. And againit must be noted that these conclusion were reachedusing only two “average” rations. Other nutrition-ists will likely experience additional deficiencies/excesses when formulating specific rations.Source: from the Methionine Alternative Task Force 2003Appendix C Available Methionine Content of Ingredients for Poultry (%) Kelp Meal Bakery By Product, Dehy Rye Beans Barley, Std Sorghum Peas Oats Corn Buckwheat Alfalfa Meal, Dehy, 17% Rice Grain Whey, Dehy Wheat, Soft White Winter Triticale Rice Bran Millet, Pearl Coconut Meal Corn Germ Meal Brewers Dried Grains Lupinseed Meal Corn Gluten Feed Safflower Meal Peanut Meal, Mech Extracted Linseed MealSoybean Meal, Full Fat Expelled Distillers Dried Grains Sesame MealCottonseed Meal, Expelled, 41% Crab Meal Flax Meal Canola Meal Synthetic Sources Soybean Meal, Expelled DL Methionine 99% Soy Protein Concentrate HMB 88% Sunflower Meal, Expelled Shrimp Meal Skim Milk, Dehy Corn Gluten Meal, 60% Earthworm Meal Potato Protein Fishmeal, Menhaden 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 Source: from the Methionine Alternative Task Force ATTRA Page 17
  • Appendix D Broiler Ration Formulation Evaluation Ration A B C D E (lbs. per ton) Corn 1065 170 160 874 950 Soybean Meal 855 1720 1690 800 582 Soybean Oil 21 66 60 0 0 DL Methionine 4 0 0 0 0 Other 55 44 40 56 58 Fishmeal 0 0 50 50 0 Corn Gluten Meal 0 0 0 220 245 Potato Protein 0 0 0 0 0 Earthworm Meal 0 0 0 0 65 Sesame Meal 0 0 0 0 100 Nutritional Comparison Metabolizable Energy (kcal/lb) 1350 1250 1250 1350 1350 Protein, % 21 38 39 29 28 Available Methionine, % 0.49 0.45 0.49 0.49 0.49 Excess Available Lysine, % 0 102 108 25 11 Italicized values indicate imbalances of nutritional concernAppendix E Layer Ration Formulation Evaluation Ration A B C D E (lbs. per ton) Corn 1090 245 455 1075 1310 Soybean Meal 645 1498 1245 465 40 Soybean Oil 58 56 57 0 0 DL Methionine 3 0 0 0 0 Other 204 201 193 215 210 Fishmeal 0 0 50 50 50 Corn Gluten Meal 0 0 0 195 125 Potato Protein 0 0 0 0 65 Earthworm Meal 0 0 0 0 100 Sesame Meal 0 0 0 0 100 Nutritional Comparison Metabolizable Energy (kcal/lb) 1325 1165 1215 1325 1325 Protein, % 18 34 31 22 20 Available Methionine, % 0.40 0.40 0.40 0.40 0.40 Excess Available Lysine, % 0 107 88 0 0 Italicized values indicate imbalances of nutritional concernPage 18 ATTRA Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine
  • Appendix F Alternatives to Synthetic Methionine Feed T rial Purpose To find a natural alternative to synthetic DL-Methionine in organic poultry rations. Background1 Three groups of cornish cross broiler cockerels are being given different rations. Each group is receiving the same amount of feed each day. Growing conditions are similar, all three groups are being raised on the same organic farm, in separate adjoining pens. Each batch is being weighed twice/week to measure growth patterns. Chicks arrived on 5/10 as day-olds from Sunny Hatchery in Beaver Dam, WI. Changed/refilled waterers twice daily. Feed was given twice a day (splitting the total grams/day) except for the week of June 9th through 17th, 1 X/day. Good energy level, but not as high as the Hi Meth Corn group. Very good appetites—always rushed the feeder and waterer. Initially, noticed a few birds with fecal matter covering vent as chicks. (After we physically removed the matter it did not reappear.) Abcesses in wings from banding problems developed. (May have had something to do with some of the birds’ eventual total growth? ) 0% Mortality (no birds lost). Feed Conversion Ratio: 2.77 lbs feed/1 lb gain. Highest energy level. (Initial feeding frenzies lessened when feed was increased above recommended levels.) Initially, noticed a few birds with fecal matter covering vent as chicks. (After we physically removed the matter it did not reappear.) Gained weight fastest, but Control Group caught up towards the end and surpassed the High Methionine Group at the last weighing. Although they were so close, this might have been insignificant. 3.85% Mortality—lost one bird due to neck/leg problems at the end of the trial (week 6) Feed Conversion Ratio: 2.78 lbs feed/1 lb gain. Grew the slowest and never caught up with the Control or Hi Meth Corn groups, leading one to believe that it would take longer to grow out a broiler, or raise a layer to begin laying eggs. Feed seemed to cake up more both towards the bottom of the bags and in the feeder. Birds initially seemed to take more water than the Control or Hi Meth Corn groups, but eventually it was the same as the others. VERY calm, in comparison to the others groups. 12% Mortality: lost 3 birds due to leg/neck problems early on. Feed Conversion Ratio: 3.28 lbs feed/1 lb gain. Conclusion High-Methionine Corn is a potential alternative to synthetic methionine in organic poultry rations. 1 Test conducted at Appley Ever After Farm, Viroqua, ATTRA Page 19
  • Organic Poultry Production: Providing Adequate Methionine By Anne Fanatico, Ph.D Research Associate, USDA ARS © 2010 NCAT Paul Williams, Editor Robyn Metzger, Production This publication is available on the Web at: or IP363 Slot 363 Version 050610Page 20 ATTRA