Hemp Improves FCR, Boosts Omega-3 in Eggs

Research conducted by the University of Manitoba has show the inclusion of hemp products in the diets of laying hens improves feed conversion and raises the omega-3 fatty acid content of the eggs, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 29 September 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Hemp products are widely used in human nutrition but hemp is not approved in Canada for any class of livestock diet.

Researchers are halfway through a three-year study examining the use of hemp oil and hemp seed products on the performance of laying hens and broiler chickens and on the nutritional profiles of the eggs and meat produced by the birds.

Dr Jim House, the head of the University of Manitoba's Department of Human Nutritional Sciences, says so far researchers have looked at the feeding value of hemp products in laying hen diets and whether or not the hemp oil can contribute to the deposition of omega-3 fatty acids in the eggs.

Dr Jim House – University of Manitoba:

What we've found so far is that in essence we can go up to 20 per cent hemp seed in the diets without any significant effect on production and in fact, we do see a slight improvement in feed conversion, conversion of the diet into egg product at the higher level of hemp seed.

At the higher level of hemp oil inclusion the same thing, no impact on performance and also we found that there was a linear relationship between the amount of omega-3 that we fed to the birds and the omega-3 that was deposited into the egg.

It's not quite enough to allow us to reach an omega-3 content claim but it certainly does significantly increase the amount of omega-3 found in the eggs.

With the eggs themselves, we've conducted sensory analysis and we've determined that hemp oil or hemp seed does not have any negative effect on the taste, aroma or flavour of the egg products and we'll be doing the same thing with the meat from the broilers that have been fed the hemp products.

Dr House notes the data gathered through this study will be used to help to establish registration for hemp seed products for use in livestock diets in Canada.

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