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%.

Probiotics, dietary supplements that contain live beneficial bacteria "…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.
This means 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.


Editor WorldPoultry

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