Canadian researchers produce healthier chickens with probiotics
A University of Guelph professor, and an Agriculture
and Agri-Food Canada food researcher have found that giving chickens probiotics
stimulates their immune system and reduces the Salmonella bacteria in their gut
by more than 99%.
, dietary supplements that contain live beneficial
bacteria "â€¦seems to be quite an immune stimulator," said Shayan Sharif, a
pathobiology professor in the Ontario Veterinary College
, who worked in collaboration with
James Chambers of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
chickens treated with probiotics early in life are able to mount higher immune
responses and, as a result, may be better protected against disease-causing
microbes, said Sharif. "After looking at the antibodies in the intestine and
blood of the chickens, we found that the antibodies were more than twice as high
in chickens treated with probiotics."
The researchers also looked at two kinds of Salmonella that are most
prevalent in Canada and found that some probiotics reduce, to less than 1%, the
level of colonization of Salmonella
in the chicken gut.
"There's a hope that probiotics could actually work as a replacement for
antibiotics, or at least be used to work in a complementary fashion with
antibiotics," he said. Probiotics are available from veterinary pharmaceutical
suppliers and are fairly inexpensive. The overuse of antibiotics in chickens is
a concern that has already caused European countries to place restrictions on
prophylactic antibiotic use within their poultry industry.
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