Faccenda Foods has cut its antibiotic use by more than two-thirds by adopting a range of natural alternatives to medicines that stimulate good gut health in the poultry it farms.
Working with its vets, St David’s Poultry Team, Faccenda has developed a programme of healthcare that utilises substances such as probiotics and natural oils to manage birds’ health.
A probiotic is now administered to day-old chicks, while water analysis and the addition of natural acids to drinking lines helps to maintain safe and palatable water. A yeast extract included in feed rations “binds” undesirable bacteria in the gut.
Regular vet visits mean the farmers are able to act quickly should there be a health challenge, with an array of natural products available to get the birds back on track at all 80 of Faccenda’s poultry farms.
“It’s like a Holland & Barrett approach to bird health,” says David Neilson, general manager for chicken agriculture at Faccenda. “We use essential oils, oregano and garlic: If the chickens get an upset tummy we use natural oils to help them recover, rather than going straight in with antibiotics.”
“Antimicrobial resistance is a world human health issue,” adds Richard Turner, director at St David’s Poultry Team. “Antibiotic use in agriculture is also a growing concern for consumers so it’s really important that we focus on it.”