An intestinal health evaluation system that correlates with bird performance
Evaluation of the intestinal tract during routine necropsis, allows an assessment of the bird's ability to digest and absorb nutrients and thus convert feed into animal protein.
Many current intestinal evaluation systems score clinical disease, but disregard more subtle intestinal pathology, which may significantly affect broiler performance. Intestinal health can be evaluated by using the FACET scoring system, which scores 7 indicators of intestinal health. Footpad lesions, Area (villus), Caecal content and Consumption (litter), Exudate (intestinal mucus), and Tone and Thickness.
To test the system two experiments were carried out. Several groups of birds received during the 52 days rearing period mannaoligosaccharide (Actigen), a standard antibiotic growth promoter program (AGP) consisting of bacitracin and virginiamycin, or a combination of these. Necropsies were performed on randomly sampled birds from each treatment. It was clear that highest intestinal health scores were obtained with a combination treatment of Actigen/AGP birds. The same trends were obtained in results related to bird performance. Overall results show that the FACET scoring system can successfully be applied as intestinal health scoring system, including aspects of bird performance.
(Natalie Armour and Stephen Collet, Abstracts 2013 International Poultry Scientific Forum, Atlanta, USA, pp 5 M12)
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