Poultry and chickens
You can actually buy calcified seaweed, which is small granules and hens love it. Calcified seaweed are valuable source of organic calcium for broilers; it was possible to provide effectively calcium to growing broilers at lower doses than with limestone (inorganic calcium) which is desirable for bone health and reduces leg weakness and lameness Seaweed is full of iodine and lots of minerals including calcium and include selenium. However I would be worried about them eating it just off the beach, poultry cannot handle salt properly, that is why many feed fish in oil rather than in brine during the moult.
However they love and need lots of protein/insects and feeding mackerel which is also a product of the sea an alternative. A pinch of seaweed per bird, during the laying season, comfrey and/or nettle make for a mineral rich feed, giving you nutritious eggs. Seaweed also helps the thyroid gland stay healthy, which is needed for healthy egg production and even with special properties like the ability to lower cholesterol after consumption.
Chickens need lots of protein The best form of protein for chooks is in worms, slater's and snails. Let the chickens into your compost area to scratch around and find worms
Basically seaweed is used in poultry for 3 reasons: it was thought to improve animal immune status, to decrease microbial load in digestive tract and to have beneficial effect on quality of poultry products (meat and eggs) Because most seaweeds are low feed from a nutritional point of few not suited for that use other than as mentioned above. Most studies did look at the use of sea lettuce analogue to the vegetable use during growth.
Growing poultry .
Green seaweed Enteromopha prolifera have been fed to day-old chicks. It was shown that inclusion level ranging from 2 to 4% provided best nutrient availability, high apparent metabolisable energy (maybe due to high level of amylase in duodenum)(Wang ShuBai et al., 2013a; Sun JianFeng et al., 2010).
Enteromorpha prolifera at these levels of inclusion had positive effect on feed intake, feed conversion ratio and average daily gain while it reduced abdominal and subcutaneous fat thickness, thus improving breast meat quality (Wang ShuBai et al., 2013a). Other green seaweeds Ulva lactuca and Ulva rigida have also been assessed. Inclusion of Ulva lactuca at 3% dietary level in broilers (12 to 33 day-old) had no effect on feed intake, body weight gain, feed conversion ratio and nutrient retention.
Green seaweed Enteromorpha prolifera included at 1 to 3% resulted in improved egg production and quality (improve weight, shell thickness, and yolk colour; reduced cholesterol in yolk). Feeding green seaweed resulted in lower E coli load in faeces, suggesting better animal health and it was found to decrease FCR (Adubados et al., 2013).
Inclusion of Ulva rigida at levels higher than 10% however resulted in lower feed intake and reduced growth rate in 3 week-old broilers and cockerels (Ventura et al., 1994). It was thus suggested not to overcome 10% inclusion of Ulva rigida in broilers diet (Ventura et al., 1994). Seaweed best seen as a Natural additive to aid the health and vitality of your hens and used in small amounts 1-3%
There is an indirect way to provide poultry and hens with seaweed enhanced products by using it as fertilizer. Adding it to the compost heap or veg beds. A farmer used to give his cattle seaweed meal, the shine it puts on their coats as wonderful, but the hens seem to have little interest in it, but they are more than happy to eat all the veg that is grown using it as fertiliser, so he did reckon they are getting their minerals that way.
Brown seaweed Sargassum spp. raw, boiled or autoclaved have been included at 0, 2, 4 and 6% in broilers diet (18 to 39 day-old). Processed seaweed had no better feed value than raw seaweed. Including brown seaweed in broilers diet resulted in lower growth rate compared to control but it had no effect on dressing percentage and it enhanced poly unsaturated fatty acids and n-3 fatty acids thus improving meat quality (El-Deek et al., 2011).
Brown seaweed (Sargassum spp.) from the Red Sea shore have been used in laying hens diet during 20 to 30 weeks at levels varying from 1 to 12%. They had no deleterious effect on body weight, egg weight, egg production, feed conversion ratio (FCR) or egg quality (El-Deek et al., 2009). It was further shown that Sargassum dentifebium fed raw, boiled or autoclaved at 3% or 6% could positively alter egg quality: it decreased yolk cholesterol, triglycerides and n-6 fatty acids and it increased carotene and lutein+zeaxanthin pigment, thus providing better quality eggs improvement a desirable trait in cholesterol (Al-Harthi et al., 2012). Boiling seaweed was effective for HDL (high density lipoprotein)
Brown seaweed were also shown to alleviate negative impact of induced acute phase response in broilers aged 1 to 21 days: for example brown seaweed could reduce protein breakdown due to acute phase response and thus limit the negative effects of acute phase on animal performance (Koh et al., 2005).
Ascophyllum nodosum meal to a complete poultry feed, resulted in diarrhoea, whereas additions up to 7% had no negative effects (Guiry and Blunden, 1991). Hatching results of laying hens were improved if A. nodosum meal was supplemented to an animal protein deficient diet. The authors related these positive effects to the contribution of vitamin B12 from the seaweed meal (Guiry and Blunden, 1991).
Experiments with dried red seaweed (Polysiphonia spp.) in ducks demonstrated an useful nutritional value of this seaweed source (El-Deek and Brikaa, 2009). After collection, the fresh seaweed was washed several times with water in order to remove associated salts and water, and subsequently it was dried at 60°C for 72 h in a cross flow dryer.
Chemical analyses of this ingredient (94% DM)showed a high amount of crude fat (17.7%), and reasonable amounts of protein (32.4%), crude fibre (14.9%), ash (6.0%) and nitrogen free extract (23.4%). Leucine and lysine were the most abundant amino acids in the seaweed protein. The metabolisable energy value of this seaweed was high, 3518 kcal/kg (14.7 MJ/kg) due to the unusual high fat content.
Seaweed addition up to 3% did not adversely influence growth performance of ducks. The inclusion of seaweed meal in the diet for ducks had no significant effects on any carcass trait. The authors concluded that seaweed is a valuable feed resource for poultry feeding.
The nutritional value of different seaweeds can be increased by washing or rinsing well prior to drying, toasting or roasting the product at higher temperatures. Micro wave heating the most efficient way. At the same time however the bio-available marine properties as such will be lost and have to be reintroduced by adding a small amount of low temperature dried seaweed like vitamins.
This concept of poly-culture, or integrated cultures to use the more recent terminology, has since been utilized in many situations where the effluent from the culture of one species, and potentially threatening environmental damage, can be utilized by another species to its advantage, with a reduction in pollution.
Faeces of chickens due to there digestion is still rich in polysaccharides and used to produce a cattle feed..
Adding between 2-4% of seaweed like nodosum meal to it to improve animal immune status, to decrease microbial load in digestive tract and to have beneficial effect on quality of poultry products (meat and eggs) and at the same time will start and enhance the fermentation process inside the gut. By roasted or a kind of toasting (70-90) Celsius and most of the nutrients come available in a form and shaped in which the can be used as feed for cattle.