Perdue Farms explains benefits of all-vegetarian feed

Perdue Farms explains benefits of all-vegetarian feed

David Tadevosian I

Using animal byproducts in feed can make no-antibiotics-ever production more difficult, Perdue’s Bruce Stewart-Brown says

Poultry producers wanting to have a no-antibiotics-ever (NAE) operation would be wise to consider an all-vegetarian feed, said Dr. Bruce Stewart-Brown, senior vice president for technical services and innovation for Perdue Farms.

Speaking during the 2020 Perdue Animal Care Summit on October 22, he said that the company removes animal byproducts with the feed, because “there are things associated with animal byproducts that make NAE quite difficult, or more difficult.”

Animal byproducts can get rancid at certain points, and sometimes the quality of the feed varies, he said.

“People who use them do everything they can to stop that, but in the end if you want, at least in our opinion, to run an NAE program successfully, the best thing is to take byproducts out of the feed,” he said.

Feed with animal byproducts also can tend to be high in bacteria. Stewart-Brown said that you can “cook” the bacteria out, but in eliminating the animal byproducts, producers have “really, one less thing to worry about.”

Also during the animal care summit, there was a discussion about how an increasing percentage of Perdue’s chickens were now given access to the outdoors. Stewart-Brown said that, because of that, some Perdue chickens could eat an insect while outside. Wanting to be truthful, the company rather than saying the chickens eat an all-vegetarian diet, they instead say they are fed all-vegetarian feed.

Perdue Farms, according to the Top Companies Database, processed 63.02 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken on a weekly basis in 2019, making it the fourth largest broiler company in the United States, and the eighth largest in the world. It also ranks as the seventh largest turkey company in the United States, having slaughtered 294 million pounds of live turkeys in 2019.

Perdue Farms is headquartered in Salisbury, Maryland.