Why is Lecithin added to Animal Feed?


Lecithin is an all-rounder ingredient and I have talked about its significance in countless posts on our website’s blog, and on various other resources, as a matter of fact. What I haven’t talked about before is how it has become an indispensable part of Animal nutrition.

Every year, around 180,000 tons of lecithin is produced to regulate and enhance the attributes of many products. This naturally occurring component in plants plays a vital role in the nourishment of livestock.

Lecithin is added to animal feed to produce healthier poultry, ruminants and fish. It can help in faster growth spurts and better immunity to fight infections, diseases and mortality rates. Adding lecithin to the farm feed can yield good meat quality as well.

Here’s a deeper look at the reasons lecithin is added to animal feed:

Why Lecithin is beneficial in Animal feed?

The trademark use of lecithin is as an emulsification agent. It’s used for the same purpose in animal feed. It makes feed fats and fat-soluble vitamins more digestible. It also performs an interactive function in cholesterol absorption in the intestine, which aids in the growth and survival of aquaculture species.

As a milk replacer, it’s easier to feed calves and piglets. It works well for fish farming and broiler fattening. Lecithin also supplies the amino acids required for optimal focus on productivity.

It’s also a well-known source of highly accessible phospholipids for a variety of shellfish, lobsters, krill, shrimp, and fishes. The advantages of lecithin are particularly noticeable in the diets of young aquatic species. These immature organisms’ digestive tracts are severely constrained in their ability to synthesise necessary amounts of phospholipids.

Supplementing larval fish with lecithin as a source of phospholipids, choline, and inositol improves their development and survival chances.


Let’s have a look at the applications of lecithin in different animal feeds:

Cows and Calves

Lecithin behaves as an energy supplement for cattle during the breeding and lactation period. The composition of colostrum (first milk after breeding) is improved by adding soy lecithin in feeds for cows prior to calving.

Feed enhanced with lecithin results in an increase in linoleic acid in the colostrum milk of the cow, which affect the activation of antibodies in the calf serum. In consequence, colostrum with a higher concentration of these nutrients improves calves survival rates during the first few weeks of life.

It not only aids in milk production but also increases fat composition in milk. The long-chain fatty acids in lecithin are precursors for synthesizing milk fats. These fatty acids are adsorbed by the rumen particles and subsequently hydrogenated by the action of enzymes and microorganisms. These are then absorbed by the intestines resulting in increased fat proportion in cow milk.

It also improves the birth rate, weight, milk yield and Ketosis by enhancing the absorption of minerals and fat-soluble vitamins. Not to forget, The feeds taste better with lecithin in it.

Aquatic Animals

Phospholipids are known to enhance dietary effectiveness through improved water stability in food particles, acting as an antioxidant or as a feed attractant.

Soy and rapeseed lecithin, particularly are the varieties of lecithin used in aquafeed or fish food. Fish farmers choose to incorporate lecithin in fish and shrimp diets because it has nutritional advantages in addition to acting as an emulsifier of lipids in the stomach and intestines of aquatic creatures.

It is frequently utilised in larval and juvenile fish and crustacean feed since these growing species have a limited capacity for the production of new phospholipids. The most prevalent phospholipid in fish tissues, phosphatidylcholine serves as an essential catabolic energy source for the development of eggs and larvae as well as playing an essential role in intestinal lipid absorption.


Lecithin is added to chicken feed to specifically form combinations that are high in energy. Its excellent dust-binding ability increases the effectiveness of the feed while assisting in pelletizing and acting as a physiological agent.

Another form of lecithin that’s used in poultry feed is lecithin oil. It has anti-oxidant qualities that help chickens avoid liver enlargement, hasten recovery from diseases, and improve survival rates.

It also serves as an energy source and supports the enrichment of fat and protein to boost egg production and mass. As a growth promoter, lecithin oil is added to chicken feed to increase growth and feed conversion ratios.

Swine feed

Just like in other feeds, lecithin enhances the ability to provide energy when added to pig feed as it holds more metabolizable energy than common carbohydrate sources such as corn, wheat, and sugar. However, its fat content is lesser comparatively.

Pet Food

Lecithin is a crucial component of pet diets, including those for dogs, cats, small animals, and even decorative birds. These foods benefit from the capacity to guarantee strong immune systems, high digestion, and usability.

The recovery period after exertion is shortened significantly among pets that consume food laced with lecithin. Additionally, it promotes resistance to diseases and enhances the skin, ensuring a thick, lustrous, and silky coat.


To sum it all up, some prominent beneficial effects of lecithin added to animal diet includes accelerated growth, increased effectiveness of the feed, enhanced energy, provides the body with choline and inositol, acts as a natural antioxidant, and aids quality fur growth.

In end, the benefits of lecithin far surpass its cost as it is one of the cheapest ingredients that do wonders to many aspects of animal farming, ultimately resulting in a better quality of life for them and higher yields for farmers.

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