Technical animal byproducts have always had a special place in various types of human activities. But now, the volumes of production reach incredible levels, and every part of the animal is used with maximum efficiency.
What is feather meal? Does it have any value? And finally, what are the logistics of delivering such a product? Let’s take a closer look at how and where this product is used today.
What Is Feather Meal Made Of?
First things first – what is poultry feather meal? It consists of ground-up feathers from poultry production and plays a role in meeting the world’s protein needs by maximising the output of animal products. This product helps avoid wastage of a large tonnage of feathers that come from the poultry industry.
Here is how to make feather meal. Feathers are collected and processed with heat and pressure. Then, they are ground up into a fine powder. After the powder dries to about 90% of dry matter, the product is packaged up for fertiliser mixes, animal food, and more. But we’ll talk more about the uses in the next section.
For now, let’s focus on nutritional value.
Feathers make up around 5% of the overall bird weight and produce a significant amount of protein. The quality of protein is lower compared to similar products for human consumption. But the current technologies make it possible to turn a harsher protein into a better and easy-to-digest protein source.
As for mineral elements, vitamins and pigments, this substance is rich in iron, zinc, choline, and vitamin B12.
What Types of Industries Use Feather Meal?
Below are two main uses that are common all around the world.
What is feather meal fertiliser? It is characterised as a semi-slow-release nitrogen fertiliser for organic farming. It is based entirely on the decomposition of organic materials that promotes the microbial population.
Feather meal is a great plant nutrient, and here are known benefits for plant growth:
- Increased green vegetative growth
- Kickstarter for compost pile
- Improved soil structure
Keratin in feathers is very tight, making it difficult for soil bacteria to break it up. To mitigate
the problem, feather meal is softened with steam so that it is more digestible to soil
Animal and fish feed
What is poultry feather meal used for aside from fertiliser?
It is recognised as a useful addition to feed production on a commercial scale. The product is high in crude protein, and its amino acid content is quite similar to that of fish meal. As a complementary ingredient in animal and fish feeds, it can become a simple ‘fine-tuning’ of the diet formulation with health benefits.
How Is Feather Meal Transported for Feed Production?
Large orders of feather meal are packaged into shipping containers that are critical to the functioning of the modern supply chain. These boxes can be easily moved between trucks, and ocean-going vessels, depending on the distance and other parameters of the order.
Trucks are used to move orders across land. They are often fitted with chassis that can hold standardised shipping containers. The main benefit is that heavy-duty lorries can get to places that other transportation methods cannot.
An alternative way of transporting such goods is by air. Air transport is a long-distance means of transport that also has its time and place. Here, the biggest advantage is highly reliable arrival and departure times.
The good news is that feather meal is a dry matter containing very little liquid. Therefore, it doesn’t have any special requirements for storage and transportation. But still, remember that light promotes oxidative processes. Also, the rate of chemical reactions generally increases sharply with rising temperatures. Bulks of product need to be kept away from hot spots.
What is poultry feather meal, and why do we need it? Hopefully, this guide answered these questions for you. As a bonus, we also went into the specifics of transportation for a deeper insight into the topic.