A complex of marine minerals has been shown to improve the nutrient availability of calcium and phosphorus and boost the immunity of broilers, optimising bird and flock performance. This is obviously key in broiler production given the current challenges around animal health and reducing production costs.
Supplying sufficient minerals is very important for healthy birds and optimum unit performance. It is important to have well-evaluated nutrient requirements and availability for the different stages of broiler production, for amino acid requirements, energy and available phosphorus (avP), for example.
Hand in hand with the requirements for avP comes the requirement for calcium (Ca) and the interaction that may occur between calcium and avP. The formation of Ca-avP and Ca-phytate complexes has a strong effect on feed efficiency. Reduced mortality rate can be achieved through an enhanced immune system that has a stronger gut barrier and can more effectively deal with challenges.
To evaluate the effects of Celtical, a marine mineral complex derived from Lithothamnion harvested off the coast of Iceland, a meta-analysis was performed. The product contains 30% calcium, 5.5% magnesium and 72 other minerals. The minerals are uniquely bound in a polysaccharide hydrogel.
A universal method for comparing the performance of a broiler unit is the Poultry Efficiency Factor, which takes liveability, body weight, feed conversion rate (FCR) and growing period into account. Six peer-reviewed studies were selected for this meta-analysis.
Two treatments were selected from all the studies:
The Poultry Efficiency Factor (PEF) was calculated for all these studies and compared with the control treatment. This led to an improvement of 1.04% for liveability, a total body weight increase of 35 grammes and a feed conversion rate (FCR) improvement of 4 points. When the results were combined to calcuate the Poultry Efficiency Factor, this resulted in an increase in the PEF of 19.6 points, or 5.6%.
The improvement in the PEF can be explained by the Icelandic Lithothamnion having a dual mode of action. Firstly, the unique structure of Lithothamnion, with the minerals being embedded in a polysaccharide hydrogel, reduces the interactions between the calcium and phosphorus, and phytate. This results in a greater bio-availability of both minerals. Secondly, Lithothamnion boosts the immune system of the birds by strengthening the gut barrier, and also has anti-inflammatory effects.
In conclusion, the meta-analysis showed that the Celtical marine mineral complex improves the nutrient availability of calcium and phosphorus and boosts the immunity of broilers, optimising bird and flock performance and resulting in a Poultry Efficiency Factor improvement of 5.6%.