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Freeman - 2009

Alternative methods for disposal of spent laying hens: Evaluation of the efficacy of grinding, mechanical deboning, and of keratinase in the rendering process

Besides the challenges of mortality and litter disposal, the poultry industry must find economical means of disposing of laying hens that have outlived their productive lives. Because spent hens have low market value and disposing of them by composting and burial is often infeasible, finding alternative disposal methods that are environmentally secure is prudent. The feasibility of grinding or mechanically deboning spent hens with and without prior mechanical picking was evaluated for the production of various proteinaceous by-product meals. The end products were analyzed for nutrient content and found to be high in protein (35.3–91.9% CP) and, with the exception of the feathers, high in fat (24.1–58.3%), making them potentially valuable protein and energy sources. After considering physical and economic feasibility, mechanical deboning was determined to be a logical first step for the conversion of spent hens into value-added by-product meals. Because the hard tissue fraction (primarily feathers, bones, and connective tissue) generated by mechanically deboning the hens presents the greatest challenge to their utilization as feedstuffs, attention was focused on technologies that could potentially improve the nutritional value of the hard tissue for use as a ruminant protein source. Traditional hydrolysis of this hard tissue fraction improved its pepsin digestibility from 74% to 85%; however, subsequent keratinase enzyme treatment for 1 h, 2 h, 4 h, or 20 h after steam hydrolysis failed to improve the pepsin or amino acid digestibility any further (P > 0.10). Enzyme hydrolysis did, however, increase the quantities of the more soluble protein fractions (A: 45.5, 46.6, 52.8, 51.6, and 55.8% of CP; B1: 3.2, 9.8, 6.0, 4.6, and 4.1% of CP; B2: 11.7, 18.1, 22.8, 29.6, and 22.0% of CP for 0, 1 h, 2 h, 4 h, and 20 h, respectively) and reduced quantities of the less soluble fractions (B3: 30.2, 18.1, 10.8, 5.5, and 10.2% of CP; C: 9.4, 7.5, 7.6, 8.8, and 7.9% of CP for 0, 1 h, 2 h, 4 h, and 20 h, respectively). The protein digestibility of the steam hydrolyzed hard tissue fraction from the mechanical deboning of spent hens was found to be comparable to the digestibility of feather meal, but post-hydrolysis keratinase treatment did not improve feeding value for ruminants.

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27 October 2010


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