Feedstuffs that contribute protein and energy for ruminants are costly all over the world. As a result, feeding usually constitutes the greatest individual cost constituting more than 50% of the cost of production in confined lactating dairy cows. Including byproducts form various industries into the diets is usually an economic alternative to reduce these costs. It also allows for reutilization of “waste” products, increasing the efficiency of production of human food. One example is hydrolyzed feather meal produced by cooking feathers under pressure.
Once dried, their protein content at close to 85%, rivals that of blood meal. It also supplies bypass protein and is rich in sulfur amino acids, usually limiting in dairy cow diets. In addition, hydrolyzed feather meal is rich in crude fat varying from 6 to 14% of the dry matter (DM), which increases its dietary energy content. As if these intrinsic properties were not enough, this basic technology can easily be applied in small family farms by simply using an old pressure cooker.