• Posted by Anitox

Nurturing Gut Health in Antibiotic-Free Poultry Production

Antibiotic-free poultry production has revolutionized how we manage and produce meat and eggs. One crucial aspect of this transition is ensuring optimal gut health in poultry, as it plays a significant role in overall bird health and productivity. In this blog, we will delve into the importance of gut health in antibiotic-free poultry production and explore strategies to support and maintain a healthy gut microbiome in birds.

Looking to learn more? Listen to Dr. Enrique's IPPE 2024 Tech Talk Today.

Understanding the Gut Microbiome

Strict biosecurity practices help ensure the health and well-being of the birds. However, one often overlooked aspect of biosecurity is the feed. Feed can serve as a potential source of pathogens that may enter the production cycle if not properly monitored and tested. From the quality of raw materials used in feed to the environmental sampling throughout the production process, every step is essential in ensuring the safety and quality of the final product. Interventions like feed sanitizers can help control the microbial risk of feed ingredients and finished feed.

Antibiotics used for growth promotion were previously administered via feed; now we use feed as a carrier for other additives that improve performance and boost gut health and immune response. These interventions include essential oils, feed sanitizers, probiotics, organic acids and phytochemicals. By promoting intestinal health and balancing the microbiome, these products aim to enhance performance and reduce the risk of infections such as salmonella. Studies have shown that feed sanitation can lead to lower mortality rates, improved body weights, better feed conversion rates, and reduced prevalence of pathogens in both broilers and layers.

Gut Health in Antibiotic-Free Poultry ProductionStrategies Promoting Gut Health in Antibiotic-Free Poultry Production

Since the early 2000s there has been a significant decline in antibiotic use in poultry. In 2014 only a small percentage of chicken sold in the United States was labeled antibiotic-free, but by 2020, over half of poultry products were marketed as such, reflecting a growing consumer demand. The transition to antibiotic-free practices in poultry production necessitates improvements across all aspects of the industry, from breeder management to processing and distribution. Promoting gut health in antibiotic-free poultry production means the industry has been more proactive with regard to management, including hatchery sanitation, brooding practices, and vaccination programs. Managing the microbial load entering the system of commercial poultry is a key part of antibiotic-free poultry production. One way we can manage the number of bacteria entering the gut is feed sanitation. Feed is known to be contaminated with both pathogenic and apathogenic bacteria and even viruses specific to commercial poultry. Adding a feed sanitizer to your current antibiotic-free program is a simple and effective way to reduce the overall load your poultry are exposed to.

One of the many focuses in antibiotic-free poultry production is improving intestinal health by maintaining a balanced bacterial community, known as the microbiome. Interventions in feed such as feed sanitizers can help control microbial loads and benefit commercial poultry by enhancing intestinal healthy by reducing the overall load of bacteria birds may be exposed to.

For example, a continuous body of research indicates that feed sanitation:

gut health in antibiotic free poultry productionAs the poultry industry transitions towards antibiotic-free production, the importance of feed sanitation becomes even more pronounced. The absence of antibiotics has led to a more comprehensive approach to maintaining bird health and performance. Understanding the impact of feed interventions on the microbiome and immune responses is crucial for optimizing poultry production. By combining feed sanitation with other strategies like probiotics, to ensure the right populations are in the gut, producers can create an environment conducive to healthy microbial balance and improved overall poultry outcomes. Ultimately, the success of antibiotic-free poultry production hinges on holistic practices that encompass health, nutrition, and management aspects throughout the entire production process.

To learn more about how feed sanitation supports gut health in antibiotic-free poultry production contact a clean feed expert today.

Looking to learn more? Listen to Dr. Enrique's IPPE 2024 Tech Talk Today.