Swedish researchers at the department of animal nutrition and management of the university in Uppsala looked at early feed access in chicken starter diets.
They found that early feeding can be used to improve growth performance in broilers. Hatching concepts, such as on-farm hatching, provide an opportunity to supply newly-hatched birds with optimal nutrition that supports growth and the development of a healthy gut.
Inclusion of brown algae in one of the diets to further enhance growth performance, organ development, gut microbiota and vaccine-induced antibody responses, did not have the expected outcome.
The results showed that although the algal extract did not influence gut microbiota or vaccine-induced antibody responses, they did show that during the first 38 hours, early-fed chicks consumed an average of 19.6 g of feed and gained 27% in body weight, while late-fed chicks lost 9.1% which lowered body weight and feed intake throughout the study.