Effects of insect- and probiotic-based diets on turkeys’ production, health, and immune parameters

Mitko Lalev1, Nadya Mincheva1, Magdalena Oblakova1, Pavlina Hristakieva1, Ivelina Ivanova1, Atanas Atanassov2 and Adelina Petrova3
1 Agricultural Academy, Agricultural Institute, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
2 Joint Genomic Center, Sofia University, “Dragan Tzankov” 8, 1164 Sofia, Bulgaria
3 Nasekomo’ AD, Business Park Sofia Building 2, 1715 Sofia, Bulgaria


Lalev, M., Mincheva, N., Oblakova, M., Hristakieva, P., Ivanova, I., Atanassov, A. & Petrova, A. (2020). Effects of insect- and probiotic-based diets on turkeys’ production, health, and immune parameters. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 26 (6), 1254–1265

Replacement of soybean with locally produced insect meals and products into poultry diets will deliver a model with potential for improvement of the economic sustainability in the poultry industry. The study aimed to elucidate the effects of 10% inclusion of insect meals from Black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) and Silkworm (Bombyx mori) on turkeys’ growth, carcass traits and health parameters. A total of 75 Hybrid commercial female turkeys at 56 days of age were individually weighed to make uniform groups and assigned to five dietary treatments: Control (soybean meal),Silkworm meal (SW), Silkworm meal with probiotic mix ‘Zoovit’ (Swpro), Black soldier fly defatted (BSFd) and Black soldier fly whole larvae (BSFw) meals. The experiment lasted for 74 days, from 56-130 days of a turkey’s age.
Thenew diets had a positive impact on turkeys’ growth and production parameters. Overall, BSF meals had a superior impact on turkeys than the SW, with the strongest responses observed at 2 weeks post-insect feeding (LW ~7-9% increase from control; FCR, 2.45 vs.3 control). Carcass composition traits were not affected, except for the gizzard weight, which was smaller in turkeys fed with the insect-based diets. The physiological andimmune status of turkeys from all groups did not vary significantly, except for glucose decreases in SWpro fed group (possible probiotics effects) and uric acid increases in SW fed group (high uric acid levels in SW pupae meal).
Overall, the study demonstrated insect species-specific diet effects on turkeys’ responses. Both BSF meal formulations (defatted-whole larvae) produced similar trends on turkeys’ production. The combination of insect meal and probiotics improved turkeys’ physiological status but had no effect on the production parameters.

Keywords: Black soldier fly (Hermetiaillucens); Silkworm (Bombyx mori); insect- probiotic-based diets; turkeys, feeding

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