Assessment of protein digestibility of yellow mealworm in pigs at Geneva Farm Katooke
Kakembo, Fredrick Elishama
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Piggery farming is one the most rapidly growing businesses in Uganda in the past five years both on small and large scale. However this rapid growth is associated with an increased demand of inputs, feeds and their supplements being at the top. Among all feed supplements used, protein supplements are the most important as they contribute to the fast growing of the animal and quality of meat. Currently the most used protein supplements are silver fish and soybeans however which are consumed by humans as well leading to competition, hence making their use in pig farms very expensive reducing the profit margins of farmers and forcing many out of business. This therefore calls for alternative protein sources. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the potential of yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor) as a complete replacement of soybeans and silver fish in piggery farming. The effects were determined by comparing the protein content on dry matter basis, protein digestibility as well as daily weight gain in pigs. A total of ten 2-months old large white pigs were divided into 3 groups of 4pigs by 3 pigs by 3 pigs and fed on 20% yellow mealworm feed, 20% silver fish feed and 20% soybean feed respectively for a period of 14 days. Their fecal matter was collected and used to determine percentage digestibility. The protein content of yellow mealworm was 42.75% which was slightly lower for silver fish (48.42%) but much higher than that of soybeans (37.94%). The protein digestibility was highest in pigs fed on 20% yellow mealworm feed (92.63±0.64)% which was statistically similar to those fed on silver fish (89.96±0.96)% (p value > 0.05) but significantly different from those fed on soybean which had the lowest protein digestibility of (47.45±2.04)% (p value < 0.05). Average daily weight gain for pigs fed on yellow mealworm (0.443±0.031)kg was slightly lower than those fed on silver fish (0.452±0.037)kg but much higher than those fed on soybeans (0.367±0.461)kg. Thus the study clearly showed that the yellow mealworm can be used to completely substitute silver fish and soybeans in piggery feed rations.