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Canola Meal in Poultry Diets


Canola Meal in Poultry Diets

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Canola meal can be a major component of a nutritionally balanced diet for all types of poultry. In addition to its high protein content and excellent amino acid profile, canola meal is a great alternative or complement to other protein ingredients. Recent academic studies have demonstrated that canola meal can provide consistent value for poultry producers. Some of the value canola meal provides lies in these attributes:

  • Excellent amino acid profile and availability, right in line with the needs of the birds;
  • Excellent source of sulfur-containing amino acids;
  • Often an economic advantage when formulated on a digestible amino acid basis;
  • Additional energy with expeller canola meal, allowing for ready inclusion in certain diets (see Table 1); and
  • Enhanced digestibility with carbohydrate-digesting enzymes used extensively by the poultry feed industry. 

This page is divided into six sections. Use the links below to learn more about:

Canola Meal Palatability and Anti-Nutritionals

Are you currently limiting inclusion of canola meal in poultry diets due to palatability and feed intake concerns? Perceived limitations regarding palatability of canola meal are being laid to rest by research scientists and industry professionals. The glucosinolate content in Canadian canola meal is currently so low (3.7µmol/g) that any negative effects would only be observed if canola meal was included at levels far surpassing the protein requirements of the birds. As well, brown-shelled egg layers can enjoy the full benefits of canola meal as the incidence of fishy taint in eggs has disappeared with the currently available genetic strains in North America. Studies have shown that when you formulate your diets on a digestible amino acid basis, you can readily up your inclusion levels to test the full benefits of canola meal’s powerful amino acid profile.

Animal Diet Type Inclusion Level Reason
Chick starter 20% Intakes may be reduced with higher inclusion
Broiler grower 30% High performance results reported at 30% inclusion
Broiler finisher 40% High performance results reported at 40% inclusion
Layers 24% No data available beyond 24%
Broiler breeders 30% Limited data available
Turkey starter 24% No data available beyond 24%
Turkey grower 24% No data available beyond 24%
Ducks and Geese starter 7% Limited data available
Ducks and Geese grower 21% No data available beyond 21%
Quail 18.5% Limited data available

Diet Formulation

As Table 2 shows, an extensive amount of research has been conducted to determine the apparent metabolizable energy value (AMEn) of canola meal for poultry, with the bulk of the research being conducted with broiler chickens.

Solvent extracted canola meal Expeller canola meal
Broiler chickens
Laying hens
1Rahmani et al., 2017; Rad-Spice, 2017; Adewole et al., 2017; Jia et al, 2012; Gorski et al., 2017; Gallardo et al., 2017; Chen et al., 2015; Jayaraman et al., 2016
2Jia et al., 2012
3Jia et al., 2012; Kozlowski et al., 2018
4Wickramasuriya et al, 2015
5Mandal et al., 2005
6Woyengo et al., 2010; Kong and Adeola, 2016; Bryan et al., 2017; Bryan et al., 2017 Toghyani et al, 2014
7Extrapolated from broiler results

In addition, a large amount of research effort has been invested in determining the ileal digestibility of amino acids for broiler chickens, laying hens, turkeys and even ducks. As an example, Table 3 provides values from many studies with broilers. Determined digestibility values are generally greater than assumed in the past, resulting in ease in formulation when canola meal is used.

Amino Acid % of Meal (Assuming 36%protein) % of Crude Protein Standardized digestibility, %
Alanine 1.58 4.38 82.3
Arginine 2.19 6.08 87.3
Aspartate + Asparagine 2.49 6.92 78.6
Glutamate + Glutamine 6.22 17.28 87.8
Glycine 1.73 4.81 79.7
Histidine 1.08 3.00 71.2
Isoleucine 1.38 3.84 81.1
Leucine 2.38 6.60 84.0
Lysine 2.04 5.66 78.8
Methionine 0.69 1.93 88.9
Methionine + Cysteine 1.33 3.69 82.6
Phenylalanine 1.34 3.71 84.0
Proline 2.49 6.92 78.2
Serine 1.32 3.66 78.0
Threonine 1.43 3.97 76.2
Tryptophan 0.48 1.33 90.7
Tyrosine 0.90 2.51 85.2
Valine 1.61 4.46 78.6
1 Adewole et al., 2017; Almeida et al, 2014; Berrocoso et al., 2015; Flavero et al., 2014; le et al., 2017; Maison and Stein, 2014; Mejicanos and Nyachoti, 2018; Sanjayan et al., 2014; Trindade Neto et al., 2012
2 Average of 24 values


Recent studies have shown that canola meal can be effectively fed as the supplemental proteins source in broiler diets without negatively affecting growth performance, as long as the diets are formulated on a digestible amino acid basis.
Furthermore, the maximum inclusion level for canola meal increases with stage of growth. A recent study demonstrated broilers can readily tolerate up to 40% canola meal in the starter period with no loss in feed efficiency, but intakes are reduced when the meal is included in diets above 20% (Table 4), confirming previously conducted research.

Inclusion level Average gain, g Average intake, g Gain/feed
0 (control) 34.4 43.7 0.78
10 34.2 44.3 0.77
20 32.6 41.1 0.77
30 30.8 39.7 0.77
40 28.8 37.4 0.77
1Gorski et al., 2017 (gains were statistically lower than control with 30 and 40% inclusion)

In contrast, canola meal was found to be well tolerated during the grower and finisher periods, with no declines in feed intake when compared to a control diet based on soybean meal (Table 5).

Inclusion level Average gain, g Average intake, g Gain/feed
0 (control) 64.1 92.3 0.70
10 64.7 93.3 0.69
20 65.2 94.4 0.69
30 64.6 93.6 0.69
40 61.3 92.6 0.67
1Gopinger et al., 2014 (numeric differences were not statiscally different)

Although the energy value of solvent-extracted canola meal is lower than some other vegetable proteins, such as soybean meal, this is offset by the lower cost per gram of key available amino acids and phosphorous, allowing nutritionists to consider greater dietary inclusions of canola meal in broiler diets. As always, care must be exercised to ensure that nutrient requirements of the bird are met, including available amino acids, energy and minerals. Often, fat is added to elevate the energy content of the diet, but expeller-pressed canola meal can also be used, as the fat content is naturally higher.

Laying Hens

Canola meal is a commonly fed and economically effective feed ingredient in commercial egg layer diets. Because lower-energy diets are usual for layers, this means that canola meal can be used very effectively in diets for laying hens.

Feeding canola meal to laying hens supports peak production, with no loss in egg size. Because hens do not need as much protein in their diets as broilers, practical feeding levels of canola meal rarely exceed 20 percent of the diet. Problems once associated with canola meal, such as hemorrhagic liver disease or fishy taste, no longer are issues that reduce the use of canola meal, as Canadian canola meal contains, on average, 3.7µmol/g of glucosinolates, a level that is considered quite negligible.

Figure 1


Canola meal is an excellent source of protein for growing turkeys and is commonly included in grower and finisher diets throughout Western Canada. Because of the high methionine and cysteine content, which is desired for feathering, the sulfur levels of diets containing canola meal tend to be high. Nutritionists have had good success when diets are balanced for electrolytes.

Studies conducted in Minnesota (Noll, 2017) demonstrated that up to 24% canola meal can be included in turkey diets. Results in Table 6 show that 20% canola meal can be included in turkey diets, and the addition of multicarbohydrase enzymes is an option that can be applied to further enhance the energy value of the diet.

Control 20% Canola Meal 20% Canola meal plus enzyme
Starter Period
Average daily gain, g 35.7 34.7 35.4
Feed intake, g/day 48.7 49.7 48.6
Gain/feed 0.73 0.70 0.73
Grower Period
Average daily gain, g 103.4 99.0 102.2
Feed intake, g/day 190.0 187.6 182.6
Gain/feed 0.55 0.55 0.55
1Kozlowski et al., 2018

Recently Published Articles

How much cold pressed canola meal can we use in layer diets? July, 2019 M. Bhulyan and R.A. Swick
Canola meal has been available for the layer feed industry in Australia for over 30 years. However, very little has been used due to the concerns of “fishy taint” in eggs. The authors demonstrate that this may no longer be an issue.

Canola in Poultry Diets – Dr. Jacquie Jacob, University of Kentucky
Canola is a variety of rapeseed that has an oil low in glucosinolates and that produces a meal that is low in eruric acid. The name “canola” was coined to distinguish the variety from rapeseed, though in Europe canola is often referred to as “double-zero” rapeseed. Canola meal is a by-product of the oil extraction process. In oil production, the majority of canola is solvent extracted. In contrast, the extraction method that yields double-pressed canola meal is mechanical, a requirement for organic feedstuffs. Mechanical extraction is not as efficient as solvent extraction, so the meal produced from double-pressed canola is higher in fat than the meal produced by solvent extraction.

Unlocking the full power of canola meal – July 2015
A new era of opportunity has emerged for Canadian canola meal as a premium, highly sought feed ingredient across livestock sectors around the world. One of the keys to unlock its full potential lies in groundbreaking scientific advances to understand and capture the hidden nutritive power of dietary fiber, said Dr. Bogdan Slominski of the University of Manitoba

Using Whole Canola Seed in Livestock Diets

Replacing supplemental oil with full fat canola seed in broiler diets – Bob Swick and Reza Barekatain
Virtually all modern commercial broiler diets are supplemented with liquid oil or fat. This provides energy, improves the absorption of fat soluble vitamins, provides essential fatty acids and acts as a lubricant and dust control agent in feed processing. There has been renewed interest in the use of full fat oilseed meals to replace a portion of added feed grade fat as the price dynamics between oilseeds, protein meals and extracted oils has changed due to increased oil demand from the biofuel sector.

Scientific breakthroughs could make Canadian canola meal a world’s favourite – July 14, 2015
Canada’s canola meal could become a popular choice of feed ingredient worldwide if critical scientific approaches could obtain the undiscovered nutrient power of fiber, according to Dr. Bogdan Slominski of the University of Manitoba.

Recent Research Abstracts
Additivity of apparent and standardised ileal digestibility of phosphorus in corn and canola meal mixed diets; basal endogenous loss of phosphorus responses to phytase and age in broiler chickens. 

Babatunde, O.O. and Adeola, O., 2021. British Poultry Science62(2), pp.244-250.
True ileal calcium digestibility in soybean meal and canola meal, and true ileal phosphorous digestibility in maize-soybean meal and maize-canola meal diets, without and with microbial phytase, for broiler growers and finishers

David, L.S., Abdollahi, M.R., Bedford, M.R. and Ravindran, V., 2021. British Poultry Science62(2), pp.293-303.
Performance and ileal amino acid digestibility in broilers fed diets containing solid-state fermented and enzyme-supplemented canola meals.

Olukomaiya, O.O., Pan, L., Zhang, D., Mereddy, R., Sultanbawa, Y. and Li, X., 2021.Animal Feed Science and Technology, 275, p.114876.
Brassica napus and Brassica juncea extruded-expelled cake and solvent-extracted meal as feedstuffs for laying hens: Lay performance, egg quality, and nutrient digestibility.

Oryschak, M.A., Smit, M.N. and Beltranena, E., 2020. Poultry science99(1), pp.350-363.
Metabolizable Energy of Soybean Meal and Canola Meal as Influenced by the Reference Diet Used and Assay Method

Veluri, S. and Olukosi, O.A., 2020. Animals10(11), p.2132.
Processed Canola Meal Effects on the Traits of Egg, Fertility, Cecal Microbial Population and Carcass of Broiler Breeder Hens. 

Dolatifard, A. and Jafari, M.A., 2020. Brazilian Journal of Poultry Science22.
Effect of different levels of canola meal and protease enzyme on performance, egg quality traits and nutrient digestibility in laying hens. 

Zamir, S.N.S., Goudarzi, S.M., Saki, A.A. and Zamani, P., 2020. Animal Production Research9(4).
Phytic acid reduction in canola and camelina meals by fungal fermentation for potential broiler feeding.

Olukomaiya, O., WC, F., Mereddy, R., Zhang, D. and Sultanbawa, Y., 2019. In 30th Annual Australian Poultry Science Symposium.
Nutritive Value of Expeller-Pressed Yellow Canola Meal for Broiler Chickens Following Enzyme Supplementation

Bryan, D.D., MacIsaac, J.L., McLean, N.L., Rathgeber, B.M. and Anderson, D.M., 2019Journal of Applied Poultry Research28(4), pp.1156-1167.
Evaluating Brassica napus and Brassica juncea meals with supplemental enzymes for use in laying hen diets: production performance and egg quality factors.

Savary, R.K., MacIsaac, J.L., Rathgeber, B.M., McLean, N.L. and Anderson, D.M., 2017. Canadian Journal of Animal Science97(3), pp.476-487.
Evaluating Brassica napus and Brassica juncea meals with supplemental enzymes for use in brown-egg laying hen diets: production performance and egg quality factors.

Savary, R.K., MacIsaac, J.L., Rathgeber, B.M., McLean, N.L. and Anderson, D.M., 2019. Canadian Journal of Animal Science99(4), pp.820-832.
Nutritional evaluation of conventional and increased-protein, reduced-fiber canola meal fed to broiler chickens. 

Gorski, M., Foran, C., Utterback, P. and Parsons, C.M., 2017.Poultry science96(7), pp.2159-2167.
Meat quality, fatty acid profile, and sensory attributes of spent laying hens fed expeller press canola meal or a conventional diet. 

Semwogerere, F., Neethling, J., Muchenje, V. and Hoffman, L.C., 2019. Poultry science98(9), pp.3557-3570.
Digestibility of amino acid in full-fat canola seeds, canola meal, and canola expellers fed to broiler chickens and pigs.

Park, C.S., Ragland, D., Helmbrecht, A., Htoo, J.K. and Adeola, O., 2019. Journal of animal science, 97(2), pp.803-812.
Feed preference of weaned pigs fed diets containing soybean meal, Brassica napus canola meal, or Brassica juncea canola meal. 

Landero, J.L., Wang, L.F., Beltranena, E., Bench, C.J. and Zijlstra, R.T., 2018. Journal of animal science96(2), pp.600-611.
Phosphorus bioavailability in increased-protein, reduced-fiber canola meal, conventional canola meal, and soybean meal fed to crossbred chicks.

Hanna, C.D., Foran, C.K., Utterback, P.L., Stein, H.H. and Parsons, C.M., 2018. Poultry science97(1), pp.188-195.
Research Note: Phosphorus digestibility in conventional canola meal determined using different balance assays.

Hanna, C., Munoz, J., Utterback, P. and Parsons, C.M., 2020. Poultry science 99(5) pp.2650-2654
Productive performance, egg quality and bone characteristics of quails fed with meal and canola oil.

Moraes, P.D.O., Gopinger, E., Bavaresco, C., Catalan, A.A.D.S., Dias, R.C. and Xavier, E.G., 2017. Acta Scientiarum. Animal Sciences39(1), pp.97-102.
Higher inclusion rate of canola meal under high ambient temperature for broiler chickens. 

Aljuobori, A., Zulkifli, I., Soleimani, A.F., Abdullah, N., Liang, J.B. and Mujahid, A., 2016. Poultry Science95(6), pp.1326-1331.
Additivity of apparent and standardized ileal digestibility of amino acids in wheat, canola meal, and sorghum distillers dried grains with solubles in mixed diets fed to broiler chickens.

Osho, S.O., Babatunde, O.O. and Adeola, O., 2019. Poultry science98(3), pp.1333-1340.
Energy values of canola meal, cottonseed meal, bakery meal, and peanut flour meal for broiler chickens determined using the regression method. 

Zhang, F. and Adeola, O., 2017. Poultry Science96(2), pp.397-404.

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