The effect of deshelled and shell-reduced mussel meal on egg quality parameters of organic laying hens under commercial conditions

M. E. van der Heide*, N. F. Johansen, U. Kidmose, J. V. Nørgaard, M. Hammershøj

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Mussel meal is an alternative feed ingredient that can reduce the gap in available protein-rich feedstuff for organic layer hen diets. Mussel meal production requires high input of energy because of mussel deshelling. The production of mussel meal through filtration could create a more cost-efficient product. A field study was conducted on a commercial farm to compare feeding laying hens with fishmeal (control), deshelled mussel meal, or shell-reduced mussel meal. Eggs (N = 25) were collected at hen ages 22 (standard diet), 28, 35, and 42 wks. The egg weight was depressed with Ca 2 g overall when feeding shell-reduced mussel meal compared with fishmeal or deshelled mussel meal; however, this diet also had the lowest CP level. Moreover, feeding shell-reduced mussel meal gave more red and yellow yolks, whereas deshelled mussel meal only gave more yellow yolks than the control. Fatty acids in egg yolks from hens fed deshelled mussel meal had the lowest omega 6 to omega 3 ratios because of higher levels of eicosapentanoic and docosahexaenoic acid than the control or shell-reduced mussel meal treatments. No major differences in the tested sensory properties of the eggs in terms of aroma, flavor, and texture were found among the treatments. These results suggest that deshelled mussel meal can effectively replace fishmeal in organic laying hen diets. The production of shell-reduced mussel meal should be optimized to limit sodium chloride levels if not then the inclusion level is limited. Egg yolk color may, however, be positively affected resulting in a more red and yellow color.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100119
JournalJournal of Applied Poultry Research
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • fatty acids
  • Mytilus edilus
  • novel protein
  • omega 3
  • yolk color


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