Field peas (Pisum sativum) contain 20-29% crude protein and are a potential protein-energy source for poultry diets. Research has reported that replacing a large portion of the soybean meal with field peas can result in reduced performance of growing chickens and laying hens. The presence of alpha-galactosides is proposed as the cause of the poor growth in broiler chickens but the cause of the reduced performance of laying hens is not known. Research suggests that broiler chickens can tolerate up to 20% of field peas in their diets. Up to 40% can be used if the diets are supplemented with the enzyme pectinase and the diets formulated to 15% higher than NRC recommendations.
Peas, as with other legumes, are low in methionine. In addition, some varieties have high levels of tannin. Peas are also high in starch but the starch is less digestible than the starch of any cereal grain.