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Special Select® premium fish meal is a high-quality protein made from menhaden. Unlike sources of plant proteins such as soybean meal, Special Select® fish meal is a complete source of highly digestible, low-allergenic protein, has a superior amino acid profile, is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and is a natural protein source for animals and fish.

Special Select fish meal differs from conventional regular grade fish meal in the quality and freshness of the raw material. Special Select meal is produced from a single species of fish, the Menhaden. The Menhaden are delivered chilled and whole to the processing facility in modern refrigerated vessels where they are immediately processed.This immediate processing technique allows OPI to optimize the quality of the meal through low temperature drying conditions and stabilization at the time of manufacture. The product is therefore of high protein quality, showing enhanced digestibility.

Nutritional attributes

Fish meal has a high crude protein content ranging from 62% to more than 70% (Sauvant et al., 2004) and a high amino acid quality (Médale et al., 2009).

Potential constraints

Contaminants and toxic substances

Since proteins and lipids from fish are highly degradable, adequate processing has to be achieved in order to prevent protein breakdown into biogenic amines (especially histamines) or fatty acids breakdown into oxidized compounds. Bacterial development, although low, should be avoided given the low levels of moisture and the absence of carbohydrates. Cooking fish meal above 80°C normally destroys bacteria but the whole chain-process is susceptible to re-infection: high air-temperature must be reached in the dryers, external sources of contamination (rodents, birds, flies and insects) must be eliminated, and storage buildings must be dry (no condensation) and clean (FAO, 1986).

Fish meal is also susceptible to chemical contamination with harmful substances (chlorinated hydrocarbons: dieldrin, lindane, PCBs, dioxins) (Erne et al., 1979), due to the accumulation of those anthropogenic substances in the marine food chain and finally in the fatty tissues of fish used for the manufacture of fish meal. The levels of such contaminants (PCBs, dioxins) in fish meal depend on the fish source: fish meals from Central America have lower levels than those from the Northern hemisphere (New et al., 2002).

A toxic substance called gizzerosine is formed when fish meal is directly dried at 180°C (vs. 140°C) in order to improve fish meal productivity. Gizzerosine is detrimental to poultry as it causes gizzard erosion and black vomit (Hinrichsen et al., 1997). This problem can be avoided if steam is used to dry fish meal (Sugahara, 1995).

Ban in ruminant nutrition

Fish meal has been banned in the European Union since 2000 in ruminant nutrition but remains authorized for pigs, poultry and fish (European Commission, 2001). It was re-authorized in 2009 to make milk replacers for young ruminants (European Commission, 2009). Fish meal is banned in Australia under the Ruminant Feed Ban (AHA, 2014).


Although the use of fish meal is prohibited for ruminants in the European Union and in other countries, it is a valuable source of by-pass protein (cooking fish causes protein binding) and is thus used as a by-pass protein.


In lactating cows, when compared to other sources of undegradable protein such as soybean meal or cottonseed meal, fish meal gave higher results (Broderick, 2005; Broderick et al., 2000; Korhonen et al., 2002), improving amino acid balance and reducing N excretion (Ohgi, 2004; Abu-Ghazaleh et al., 2001; Schroeder et al., 2000).

Cows’ response to fish meal protein is improved by urea treatment in a rice straw-based diet (Talukder et al., 1990; Khan et al., 1990). Fish meal resulted in increases in milk yield and protein yield in dairy cows (Malleson et al., 2008; Ibarra et al., 2006; Broderick, 2004; Ohgi, 2004; Yeo et al., 2003; Korhonen et al., 2002; Hill et al., 1999; Wright et al., 1998), especially if the forage:concentrate ratio is high (Pike et al., 1994). However, several papers referring to low inclusion levels reported that it had no effect on milk yield or milk protein content (Moussavi et al., 2008; Moussavi et al., 2007; Serbester et al., 2005; Allison et al., 2002).

Fish meal also enhanced the response of cows to high milking frequency (Yeo et al., 2003) and reduced PGF2α concentration that could have been responsible for early abortion in lactating cows (Mattos et al., 2002), thus inducing higher conception rates (Staples et al., 1998). Feeding fish meal may also increase milk n-3 fatty-acid content (Abu-Ghazaleh et al., 2001).


In Sheep, the undegradable protein content of fish meal improves forage intake. Inclusion levels range from 2.5% in lambs to 7.5% in milking ewes (FIN, 2000). High protein content improves immune status: feeding ewes with fishmeal during late pregnancy decreased worm infestation and thus reduced the use of anthelmintics (Donaldson et al., 1998).

Fish meal supplementation increases reproduction performance in ewes: conception rates, lamb litter weight, lamb weight and vigour at birth, including colostrum and heat production (Vipond et al., 1996; Robinson et al., 1989; Robinson et al., 1999). Milking ewes supplemented with fish meal produced more milk. Fish meal also improved live-weight gains in early weaned lambs grazing tall fescue (Poppi et al., 1988).


Fish meal has a high biological value for pigs. Protein of fish meal is of good quality: it has a high methionine content and the protein is highly digestible. Its contents in vitamins, n-3 fatty acids and minerals are very valuable for pigs. Levels of incorporation vary from 5 to 10% in piglet feeds to about 3% in feeds for finishers or sows (FIN, 2000; Patience et al., 1995).

Different studies proved that fish meal is beneficial in starters and weaned pigs at rates below 10% (Lopes et al., 2007; Zivkovic et al., 2007; Kats et al., 1992; Aas et al., 1984). Inclusion rates higher than 10% were not economically viable (Patience et al., 1995). Fish meal is also reported to be hypoallergenic to piglets and was found to decrease diarrhoea during post-weaning (Gore et al., 1990). It could be useful in low health status piglets to improve daily gain (Bergstrom et al., 1997).


Fish meal is an interesting concentrated protein source for poultry, particularly in situations where land animal by-products have been banned in poultry feeds. Fish meal has a high biological value in poultry, not only as a protein source but also as source of minerals, such as P and Ca, and trace elements such as Se or I. However, the high prices of fish meal limit the inclusion levels and those remain around or below 5% (Blair, 2008; Chadd, 2008).

Including fish meal in broilers diets increases body weight, daily weight gain and feed intake. Fish meal has greater impact on growing broilers than on starters. It is highly valuable to young turkeys. In laying hens and broilers, inclusion of fish meal may cause a fishy taste in eggs and meat (Blair, 2008).


Fish meal is a valuable feedstuff for rabbits. Due to its cost, there have been several attempts to replace it by less expensive products: it was possible to totally or partially replace fish meal with quinoa grain, blood meal, extruded hatchery wastes, meat meal and poultry viscera meal (Lebas, 2004).


Given that the indispensable amino acid profile of fish meal reflects that of the ideal protein pattern for fish or shrimp, fish meal is a major protein source in aquaculture. Protein digestibility of good quality fish meal is very high with equally high amino acid availability (Anderson et al., 1995). Fish meal is also a source of essential fatty acids, minerals and trace elements.

Currently available data show that out of the 6 million tons of fish meal available globally, more than 65% is used in feeds for fish and crustacean farming. The levels of incorporation of fish meal can range from 40 to 60% in feeds for marine fish to less than 5% in feeds for carp, catfish or tilapia (Tacon et al., 2008). Most cyprinids (carp) reared in semi-intensive ponds are fed with feeds practically devoid of fish meal. In recent years, much progress has been made towards the substitution of fish meal by mixtures of different plant protein sources even in intensively-reared salmonids or marine finfish, thus leading to significant economy as well as addressing sustainability issues (Kaushik, 1990; Kaushik et al., 2004; Kaushik et al., 2008).


Like fish feed, feeds for marine or freshwater shrimp contain high levels of fish meal (up to 40%). However, plant ingredients are being increasingly incorporated as an alternative to fish meals, or other marine-derived protein sources such as shrimp meal or squid meal, in order to ensure the sustainable development of shrimp farming (Amaya et al., 2008).

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    Mix And Match Available! Create your own custom Pallet of any type of 50 Lb Bag of Feed and save on shipping cost. A full Pallet is (40 to 50) 50 lb bags.

    Cost Per Ton is $FOB (Freight Cost on Buyer) US Dollars.

    Delivery options/Information

    Buying 1-10 bags we can UPS. (The cost will be calculated when you add the amount you want into the shopping cart and go to checkout, note this is before you enter any payment info).

    Buying 11 or more bags if you are out of our farm route delivery area in upstate NY, we can arrange LTL deliveries to the lower 48 and most of Canada.

    The lowest cost per unit way for us to deliver would be a full pallet, as it costs about the same to ship 2,500 lbs on a pallet as it does 1,000 lbs!

    Please in the delivery notes say if you do not have a business/farm with a way to unload a pallet, as that will change the shipping price as the LTL shipper will charge for lift gate service.

    LTL shipping for a 2,500 lb pallet generally costs between $60 for a delivery in the Northeast to a business with loading docks, all the way to $700 for a 2,500 lb pallet being delivered to a residential home with liftgate service needed in a rural area on the west coast. The only way to know for sure until we get a real time rate calculator API in the shopping cart is to email us what you want and how much and where you want it and if you have a business with a loading dock and of course your ship to address and we will ASAP go online and do a rate quote usually 2-6 hours we get back with an exact price.

    You can mix and match most products to make a full pallet, you do not need to buy a pallet of everything, we can pick and pack to create a full pallet to save you time and money.

    Mix and Match pallet's may take longer to ship, as there maybe 3-4 manufactures we have to get products from and lead times may vary, as only a few companies keep track and report to us what their real time inventory is, and as we sell 13,000 plus products we cannot afford to inventory the majority of them. Depending on where you are Northeast US we aim to deliver Mix & Match within 5 business days, midwest 5-7 business days, west coast and Canada typicly take 10 buisness days currently but we are trying hard to cut that time down.

    Bulk grain orders are fulfilled mostly by local feed mills and they generally require a min order of 3 tons and up to 30 ton total and when shipped request and auger or blower truck if it is needed, auger trucks it is best to order in 3 ton increments, and you can buy multiple different feeds on the same truck all in 3 ton increments.

    Bulk sawdust is from Quebec Canada and is shipped by walking floor semi from Ohio to Maine and it is best to order a full load 147 yards but smaller loads can be shipped but the trucking cost is the same but divided between fewer yards.

    And questions please call 315-557-6066! or email Ryan@feedsforless.com



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