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Why is meat and bone meal best for poultry diets?

Why is meat and bone meal best for poultry diets?

Importance of good nutrition for poultry

Using meat and bone meal for poultry helps them get all the nutrients they need to grow, lay and reproduce. 

Protein is a primary part of a laying hen’s nutritional requirements, and, as omnivores, it is good to choose pellets that have meat and bone meal with animal proteins. 

If you’ve never heard of bone meal for chickens, we’ll show you what meat and bone meal (MBM) actually is, the cost difference between MBM and soya chicken feed, and why meat and bone meal is the best choice for poultry diets. 

Whether they are laying hens or breeding chickens, there are a few key nutrients they should have in their diet for optimum production. 


What is meat and bone meal for poultry?

Meat and bone meal is a processed product made from offal (offcuts of animal meat). 

Although offal isn’t something you’d commonly find on supermarket shelves, there is a lot of protein and nutrients hiding in it that can be used in animal feed. 

Meat and bone meal for poultry helps birds get the protein they need for meat and egg production, growth and basic functioning. It can be added to chicken pellets and crumbles to help them meet dietary requirements. 

Protein is one of the most important nutrient factors for laying and growing chickens. 

Chicken feathers are made up of 75% protein, and eggs are basically little balls of protein potential. These metabolism functions don’t even include what a chicken needs to grow and exist without egg production and moulting. 

Sharpes Hi-Lay Pellets contain meat and bone meal as an excellent source of protein for your flock. It is the perfect mix to support chicken growth and egg laying!


Meat and bone meal (MBM) vs soya: What is the cost difference?

Protein is one of the key nutritional ingredients in chicken pellets. 

Soya is a plant-based protein source that is often used in chicken feed. It is a traditionally good source of protein for poultry, however meat and bone meal usually has higher levels of calcium and phosphorus, which are especially important for laying chickens. 

MBM helps increase shell thickness and final body weight. 

In terms of cost, MBM does tend to be more expensive than soya based chicken pellets in New Zealand. 


Is meat and bone meal (MBM) best for poultry diets?

So is meat and bone meal the best chicken feed? Although it is ultimately up to you what you feed your flock, bone meal for chickens has a lot of health and nutritional benefits for growth and production. 

  • Extremely good source of protein

MBM’s most important quality is its protein content. 

Chickens are omnivores (i.e. they eat a mixture of vegetation and animal products) and so choosing an animal protein source means you don’t need to supplement their diet alongside pellets. 

Due to its high protein and energy density, it can reduce the volume and therefore the cost of chicken feed overall. 

  • Good source of amino acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of all growth so chickens need to acquire this either through their food or produce it naturally themselves.

MBM provides chickens with 10 out of the 20 essential amino acids that they don’t produce naturally. 

  • Fat content 

As well as protein and other important trace minerals, MBM has higher levels of fat than other plant-based protein sources.

Fat, aka lipids, have a high metabolizable energy (ME) in comparison to other macronutrients

  • Excellent source of calcium and phosphorus

Not only do chickens need protein, carbohydrates and fats, they also need vitamins and minerals. One of the most important minerals for laying age hens is calcium.

MBM is a great source of calcium, which helps eggs develop thicker egg shells. Phosphorus helps with the uptake of calcium when in the right ratios. 



Meat and bone meal for chickens is a great source of protein and minerals, and has other great nutritional benefits. While plant-based protein sources can be a good option, MBM contains a lot more calcium for growing thick egg shells and is often a much more energy dense and, therefore, more efficient chicken feed. 

Sharpes’ range of meat and bone feed are high quality, New Zealand made chicken pellets and crumbles that give your chooks everything they need to grow. With a full range that covers them from chick to adult, Sharpes supports healthy poultry in every stage of their life!



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