Researchers develop new health evalutation system
Researchers at the University of Georgia have developed a new intestinal health evaluation system for poultry that has been designed to accurately reflect bird performance.
At the International Poultry Scientific Forum, Natalie Armour spoke about the ‘why’ of a sophisticated measuring system. She said, “Many current intestinal evaluation systems score clinical disease, but disregard more subtle intestinal pathology, which may significantly affect flock performance.”
In order to develop a holistic scoring system, the researchers launched ‘FACET’ – a five-step approach. It scores seven indicators of intestinal health:
- Area (villus height; measured histologically);
- Caecal content and Consumption (litter);
- Exudate (intestinal mucus);
To test the approach, tests were designed with broiler chicks; they were given a mannanoligosaccharide (Actigen) diet, alone or in combination with a standard antibiotic growth promoter (AGP) programme (bacitracin methylene disalicylate (BMD) and virginiamycin). In two consecutive experiments, 2, 160 (Trial 1) and 2, 400 (Trial 2) broiler chicks were assigned to the following treatment groups.
For both experiments, Actigen/AGP treatment groups had the highest intestinal health scores, followed by Actigen and AGP treatments. The same trend was seen in performance, with feed conversion ratios in the Actigen/AGP groups significantly lower than in the Actigen (Trial 1), Actigen starter (Trial 2) and AGP only groups.
These results demonstrate the application of an intestinal health scoring system incorporating parameters which correlate with bird performance.
The International Poultry Scientific Forum is held in conjunction with the IPPE 2013 in Atlanta, GA.
University of Georgia
International Production & Processing Expo
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