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A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Insects in Feed on Poultry Growth Performances

Fundamental and Applied Research for Animals and Health, University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(5), 201;
Received: 15 March 2019 / Revised: 18 April 2019 / Accepted: 24 April 2019 / Published: 28 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects: Alternative Protein Source for Animal Feed)
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Simple Summary

Today, insects are receiving great attention as a potential source of poultry feed and the number of experiences is exploding. However, it is difficult to obtain an evidence-based view from this large volume of and large diversity of information. A meta-analysis is the best method to summarize the findings of all these studies. Thus, we searched all recent studies that explore the effects of insects in feed on the growth performances of poultry species. Results showed that insects in feed do not modify performances if they substitute less than 10% of conventional protein sources and are not grasshoppers.


We investigated and summarized results from studies evaluating the effects of feeding poultry with insects on their growth performances. After a systematic review of studies published since 2000, two independent reviewers assessed the eligibility of each one based on predefined inclusion criteria. We extracted information on the study design, insects, avian species, and growth performances, i.e., average daily gain, feed intake, and feed conversion ratio. Next, we estimated pooled differences between performances of poultry fed a diet with vs. without insects through random-effects meta-analysis models. Additionally, these models evaluated the effects of potential sources of heterogeneity across studies. Of the 75 studies reviewed, 41 met the inclusion criteria and included 174 trials. With respect to diets without insects, pooled differences in growth performances were statistically not different from the null, but heterogeneity was marked across studies. Average daily gain decreased with increasing inclusion rates of insects, going below the null for rates of 10% and more. Grasshoppers were negatively associated with the average daily gain and positively associated with feed intake. The country of publication was another source of heterogeneity across publications. Overall, our results show insects should substitute only partially conventional protein sources and not be grasshoppers to guarantee the appropriate growth of birds. View Full-Text
Keywords: insects in feed; alternative protein source; poultry growth; meta-analysis insects in feed; alternative protein source; poultry growth; meta-analysis

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Moula, N.; Detilleux, J. A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Insects in Feed on Poultry Growth Performances. Animals 2019, 9, 201.

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