Effect of feather meal on barrow performance

K. W. Ssu, M. C. Brumm, P. S. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


One hundred ninety-six crossbred barrows of high lean gain potential (21.2 kg BW) were used in an experiment to determine the effect of dietary feather meal (FM) on barrow performance, specifically, the effects of the ingredient on ADG and carcass leanness. Additionally, 28 gilts (26.8 kg BW) were used to compare gender differences on the corn-soybean meal control diets. Treatments were control barrows and control gilts fed corn-soybean meal diets, and barrows fed according to a 2 x 3 factorial arrangement of FM levels (10 or 20%, as-fed basis) and starting weights on the diets (36, 60, or 86 kg BW). All barrow diets were formulated to contain the same apparent digestible lysine and ME. Control barrows ate more feed (2.61 vs. 2.39 kg/d; as-fed), grew faster (0.911 vs. 0.827 kg/d), had greater backfat depth at slaughter (15.6 vs. 11.6 mm), and had lower carcass lean content (P < 0.001), with no difference in daily lean gain (P = 0.848) compared with gilts. There was a linear (P = 0.010) decrease in ADG for barrows fed increasing amounts of FM from 36 kg BW to slaughter, with no effect of FM additions on ADG when initiated at 60 or 86 kg BW. There was a quadratic reduction (P = 0.008) in ADFI and estimated digestible lysine intake with increasing FM for the 36 to 60 kg BW period for barrows fed FM starting at 36 kg BW. There was a linear (P = 0.006) decrease in ADFI for the 60 to 86 kg BW period with increasing FM for barrows started on FM at 60 kg BW. There was no effect of experimental diets or starting weight on barrow 10th-rib backfat depth at slaughter. These results suggest that diets containing 10 and 20% FM were effective in decreasing overall ADG and ADFI by barrows when feeding of FM was initiated at 36 kg BW; however, backfat at slaughter was still greater than for control gilts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2588-2595
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Barrows
  • Feather meal
  • Feed Intake
  • Pigs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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