• Posted by Anitox

Exploring the Unique Role of Feed as a Fomite in Turkey Production

Feed plays a crucial role in turkey production by providing essential nutrients that enable birds to reach their genetic potential in terms of productivity and growth. While feed is primarily focused on its nutritional benefits, it can also serve as a carrier for pathogens and contaminants, highlighting the importance of careful management.

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Clean feed expert, Dr. Enrique Montiel, answers the frequently asked questions related to feeds unique role within turkey production.

turkey productionQ: What is feed's true impact on turkey production?

A: Feed is a vital source of nutrients for birds, enabling them to showcase their genetic potential in terms of productivity, growth rate, and overall performance. Ideally, feed should encompass all the necessary nutrients for the birds. It is often a dynamic process where adjustments are continuously made to include additional nutrients essential for the birds to reach their full potential.

While efforts are made to enhance the appeal of feed by improving its flavor, texture and other characteristics, the primary focus remains on its nutritional benefits for the birds. Nevertheless, feed can also serve as a carrier for undesirable elements such as disease-causing microorganisms and other contaminants such as mycotoxins. Given its extensive reach within poultry operations, the role of feed in potentially disseminating pathogens is a crucial aspect of biosecurity that requires careful consideration and management.

Q: Why is feed different from other fomites in turkey production?

A: One of the most significant ways feed differs from other fomites in turkey production is through the way it is disseminated. The feed mill is a meeting point for ingredients sourced from different locations, potentially containing variable microbial loads. Throughout the manufacturing process, these ingredients are ground down, mixed and exposed to conditions that may foster bacteria survival and growth. One batch of finished feed can go to multiple farms within an integrated operation on the same day and become a very efficient way to disseminate pathogens throughout turkey production.

Lastly, feed is fundamentally different from other fomites, because it is ingested every single day. As soon as it is consumed, it gets replaced with another batch of feed. Every time that happens, a new microbial load is potentially introduced, not only to the rearing environment but directly to the gastrointestinal tract of the turkey.

turkey gut healthQ: What impact can the feed mill have on integrated turkey production?

A: Feed mills are dynamic and vital operations within turkey production. Its primary responsibility is to ensure the timely provision of the correct type of feed to prevent any instances of starvation or nutritional deficiencies among the birds it serves.

Feed mills play a crucial role in enhancing the quality of production and controlling the expenses involved in turkey farming. Many feed mills are part of a vertically integrated operation. Vertical integration in poultry production aids in managing costs and ensures efficient delivery of the feed in dedicated vehicles, giving producers better control over biosecurity protocols and delivery systems to the turkeys.

Q: How can producers maximize their turkey feed investment?

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A: Ultimately, performance is a multifactorial, multidisciplinary act where factors such as nutrition, management and disease prevention exist in a delicate balance. By harmonizing these three elements, you can achieve the desired performance goals.

When implementing a nutritional program, consistency is key to meeting the birds' requirements and ensuring it aligns with genetic improvement. Effective management serves as the crucial final touch.

Good management acts as an insurance policy for achieving expected bird performance.

Q: What comes to mind when you think of feed interventions?

A: Feed manufacturers take pride in ensuring that their feed meets all the nutritional requirements of the animals they are meant for. This can involve adding vitamins, minerals, and amino acids and adjusting the protein levels to optimize nutrition. The nutritional aspect is just one part of the equation.

In addition to nutrition, interventions in animal feed production have shifted towards reducing the use of medications, particularly antibiotics, in favor of more natural alternatives Organic acids, essential oils and other products are being incorporated into feeds to promote intestinal health. Another level of intervention involves the feed mill biosecurity, including the use of feed sanitizers to reduce microbial contamination in raw materials and finished feeds. Research shows that decreasing microbial loads not only benefits the health of the animals but also improves their performance and overall profitability of the operation.

Q: What does clean feed mean for turkey gut health?

turkey productionA: Commercial meat birds, such as turkeys, possess a uniquely designed digestive system, which plays a crucial role in poultry production as a vital protein source for humans. The key to optimizing bird growth and performance lies in maintaining a delicate balance of microorganisms within their intestinal tract. These microorganisms, including bacteria, are essential for the bird to thrive, stay healthy, and achieve its full potential.

The quality of the feed in terms of microbial contamination directly impacts the bird’s intestinal balance. Feed contaminated with harmful microorganisms can disrupt this equilibrium, hindering the bird's development and potentially causing disease outbreaks. Providing cleaner feed promotes a healthy intestinal environment, enabling the bird to efficiently digest food and absorb essential nutrients.

To learn more about how Anitox supports turkey performance through feed sanitation, check out our Guide to Pathogen Control in Turkeys, or if you are ready to strengthen your feed pathogen control efforts, speak to an expert today.

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