How to secure gut health in poultry?

07-09-2017 | | |
How to secure gut health in poultry? Photo: Shutterstock
How to secure gut health in poultry? Photo: Shutterstock

Talking about gut health in poultry, it is important to realise that intestinal disorders in chickens have always existed and will also be present in the future. Nevertheless, some factors can influence the prevalence and severity of these disorders.

Genetic companies are turning broilers into top sports players that need a healthy gut to achieve a good end weight in the most efficient way. For a better end weight at a specific age, the feed intake capacity has to increase, resulting in an additional burden on the gut. Another challenge is the worldwide trend to antibiotic free production. If nutritionists don’t react, gut health will be a lost cause.

For many years, there have been a lot of alternative practices to improve gut health. Examples are carefully managing young animals and ensuring the biosecurity of the farm. In addition, feed additives can combat the pathogens in the gut.

MCFA as a starting point

Nuscience has a vast knowledge in feed formulation and additives securing a healthy gut. The combination of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) and specific phytogenics is not only highly bactericidal but can also act as a tool to increase digestion of the valuable nutrients: a bacterial overload in the gut will be avoided and nutrients will be absorbed in the most efficient way.

MCFAs have always been Nuscience’s approach to establish a strong antibacterial barrier at stomach level. MCFAs are well-known to exert excellent antimicrobial properties. The minimal concentration of medium chain fatty acids needed to inhibit microbial growth is much lower than for other acids. For this reason they are already used for a long time as alternative to antibiotics in poultry nutrition.

Being still convinced of this approach, MCFAs were the starting point of the search for the next generation broiler additives. This search was focused on identifying ingredients which work synergistically with MCFAs and add extra benefits.

A synergistic combination

A lot of phytogenic compounds are used in the market. The proven effects are very wide:

  • increased feed intake,
  • antioxidative capacities,
  • stimulation of digestion,
  • enhancing immunity,
  • increased growth,
  • decreased cases of dysbacteriosis,
  • reduced mortality,
  • better reproduction,
  • lower FCR,

With a higher profitability as the end result.

Because it is impossible to focus on all the effects of the phytogenic compounds, Nuscience went back to the basics of the challenges on farm level: lower disease pressures, with the most effective use of energy as a result, combined with a good feed digestion, for a better FCR. When the health and the feed digestion of the animal are optimal, reaching the genetic potential is possible, money can be saved and the financial result will be optimised. Based on many trials, the company selected the perfect mixture: the outcome was M-prove Poultry, being a synergistic mixture of MCFAs and specific phytogenic compounds.

Experimental trial

Results of an experimental trial (M-prove Poultry versus a negative control) are showed in Figure 1 and Figure 2 (body weight at day 14, 26 and 39 and FCR at day 39). The trial was carried out in an experimental farm in Belgium (ILVO) and included a total number of 480 male Ross 308 broilers, divided over 2 treatments (in a randomised complete block design), with 8 repetitions per treatment (= 30 birds / cage). The dosage of the product was 1.2 kg/MT until 26 days, and 0.6 kg/MT from 26 days until slaughter. Slaughter age was at day 39.

Even in perfect clean conditions, it is clear that supplementing poultry diets with the product can stimulate the birds to do better. With M-prove Poultry, birds are performing persistently better from the start until the end (significantly heavier body weight, with a significantly lower FCR at day 39). This shows especially that by lifting the gut health of the animals and improving the digestion, it is possible to optimise profits even more than ever before.

De Laet Product Manager Poultry Nuscience