Fishmeal is an affordable and easy way to add some quality nutrients to your chickens’ diets. Made from the leftover parts from various types of fish, fishmeal is commonly fed to chickens in commercial settings as it has great growth performance.
In this article, I’m going to explain where to buy fishmeal for chickens, why you should supplement their diet with fishmeal, and everything else you need to know.
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Where To Buy Fish Meal for Chickens
You may be able to find fishmeal at a local fishing supply store as it’s commonly used in fishing bait. Or even at a garden center as it’s also used to fertilize soil and provide plants with nutrition.
However, I almost always find myself buying everything on Amazon as it’s so convenient and easy. Here is a good quality pet-safe fishmeal available on Amazon that will boost your chicken’s diets:
Dr. Earth Fish Bone Meal
This fish meal is an excellent source of organic phosphorus and calcium; two of the most important minerals in chickens’ diets. It’s also rich in a wide range of other vitamins and minerals, so it makes for an awesome nutritional food supplement.
What Is Fishmeal? How Is It Made?
Fishmeal is what you might imagine from its name, it’s ‘meal’ made from fish. There is a bit more to it than that though, and it comes in a wide range of compositions.
Fishmeal is typically made from parts of fish that are not able to be used for human consumption. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean it’s bad in any way. It’s perfectly fine for chickens and the other animals to eat.
In fact, it’s better than fine, it’s an awesome food supplement.
It’s just that fishmeal is made from the bones, offal, and the other parts of fish that we can’t or don’t eat. The good news is, it’s incredibly dense with good nutrition, and because it’s a by-product, it’s cheap to produce.
Fishmeal is commonly used on farms and to feed animals in commercial settings for these reasons. Because it’s affordable and easy to pick up, it’s also a great choice for adding some healthy nutrition when feeding your backyard flock.
Related - Is it safe for chickens to eat fish bones?
Is Fish Meal Good for Chickens?
Generally speaking, fishmeal is an excellent food supplement for chickens. It is high in protein, amino acids, and other minerals and vitamins.
The exact composition will vary depending on which species of fish is used, however. It’s always a good idea to take a look at the composition of various brands before buying one to make yourself aware of the differences.
If you have any doubt, just look at the ingredients in commercial chicken feeds. Most commercial feed recipes also include fishmeal as a way of making the feed very nutritious for chickens.
The only concern about feeding chickens fishmeal is that most commercial fishmeals are made from menhaden, pike, or other oily fish that are found near shore.
They can potentially contain high levels of mercury and other dangerous chemicals that are concentrated as they move up the food chain. It’s not a huge concern though, I’ve read various studies into the topic and the risk appears to be very low.
If there were any serious risks, it wouldn't be so readily fed to all the livestock animals that we eat. Still, always stick to the recommended feeding amount. If you’re unsure about what that is, you should always reach out to the supplier or contact a poultry vet.
Related - How much should you feed chickens each day?
Substitutes for Fish Meal in Chicken Feed
If for some reason you do not want to feed your chickens fish meal or can’t feed it to them, there are other ways you can boost your flock’s nutritional intake.
I read an article on FeedNavigator that explained that in some developing countries the cost of fishmeal is volatile. As a result, some poultry farmers are using alternatives to feed their broiler chickens.
They have found that soybean meal has the highest feeding value from the plant-based proteins they tried. This is certainly worth investigating if you’re looking for a plant-based alternative.
If you just want to use something different from fishmeal to supplement your flock’s diet, I recommend looking into probiotics. This product available on Amazon is an example of what I would use:
Hen Boost Probiotics
It’s packed with vitamins and minerals to help boost immunity, aid digestion, help birds stay hydrated, and promote good health.
Reading through the customer reviews, this product has helped a number of hens get back to their best after illness or if they’re not laying well.
I’ve read through a few papers on the benefits and effects of including fishmeal in chickens’ diets. The overall conclusion is that fishmeal enhances a chicken’s diet and has a lot of positive health implications.
All you have to be aware of is not giving them too much and making sure you’re providing a balanced diet overall. High levels of fishmeal in poultry diets can cause fishy-tasting meat and eggs, which is something no one wants.
I remember a few years back a friend of mine was feeding his chickens a lot of onions, and I could literally smell and taste onions through the eggs. It wasn’t nice.
As a general rule, fishmeal should make up no more than 5-10% of a chicken’s overall diet. The best application is to add some to their feed daily.
Image credits - Photo by Étienne Godiard on Unsplash
Including Fishmeal in Organic Poultry Diets - eOrganic