Project properties

Title <B><i>Insects as superfood for chickens!</i>
Group Entomology, Laboratory of
Project type thesis
Credits 24-39
Supervisor(s) Anna D�rper, Dr. ing. Teun Veldkamp
Examiner(s) Prof. dr. Marcel Dicke
Contact info anna.doerper@wur.nl
Begin date 2022/09/01
End date
Description Insects in food and feed are the secret rising stars within the academic world. While in the past insects have been rather perceived as pests, nowadays several species have been proposed to be multifunctional mini-livestock. One major property of them is to convert low quality substrate into valuable body mass. Regarding animal feed production, it is substantial to notice that insect bodies contain considerable quantities of protein, which are also of high quality. So why is this important?

Protein in animal feed, such as poultry diets, commonly originates from unsustainable sources (soybean meal & fishmeal). Since the production of insects is more environmentally friendly, the latter have been proposed to be a good replacement of fishmeal and soybean meal. Moreover, insects contain bioactive compounds such as lauric acid, chitin and antimicrobial peptides which provides the opportunity to boost the immune system of poultry. Furthermore, because insects are naturally part of poultry diets, they are assumed to have additional functional properties. For instance, insects are highly attractive for poultry, and might trigger them to perform natural behaviour such as foraging. The ability to show more natural behaviour indicates higher welfare. For instance, laying hens are known to perform feather pecking as misdirected pecking behaviour or stress release. Feeding insects might trigger them to be more actively looking for feed which will in turn reduce the occurance of negativ stereotypic behaviour. Therefore, insects are highly interesting feed sources for poultry from the inside (content) to the outside (appearance).

When? the experiment starts September 2022, the start date of the thesis can be arranged individually
What? Testing the effect of partially replacement of soybean meal by insect products on performance, health (blood parameters) and welfare (behaviour) in laying hens
Why? SUPER interesting and HIGHLY novel topic!
Expectation? Enthusiasm and curiosity to explore new fields!

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Used skills Behavioural observation,video tracking, data-analysis, scientific writing, enthusiasm, teamspirit
Requirements For doing a BSc-thesis at Entomology, there are no requirements for specific courses.
For doing a MSc-thesis or internship at Entomology, the following requirements apply: ENT-30806 + a second ENT-course (preferably ENT-30306 or ENT-50806 or ENT-53806). As an alternative for the second ENT-course, PHP-30806 or BHE-30306 can be selected.
Note: these requirements do not apply for MBI students; MBI students should check the requirements for doing an ENT MSc-thesis or internship in the study programme of their specialisation.