VIV Asia is one of the largest and most important trade shows in animal production, showcasing the latest technologies, products, and services related to animal health, nutrition, genetics, and processing.
As part of the Feed Strategy Seminar at VIV Asia, Dr. Enrique Montiel, Anitox Director of Nutrition and Live Production, presented The Impact of Feed Quality on the Microbiome of Commercial Poultry. Dr. Montiel discussed the role of the microbiome in poultry gut health, its impact on performance and effective strategies to support reduced pathogen loads and prevalence as well as poultry health and performance.
Impact of Feed Quality on Poultry Gut Health
From the day of hatch, every chick is considered to have a virtually sterile gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Most of the microbial load that will populate the GIT comes from the environment, feed being an important element. Therefore, the microbial loads of the environment, feed and water surrounding the chick in the first week can substantially impact microbiome development and continued health.
Within the GIT, the poultry microbiome can contribute or interfere with the digestion of nutrients, protect or harm physical gut integrity, support intestinal immunity and prevent the colonization of pathogens. To accomplish a positive outcome in terms of intestinal health, the microbiome must remain balanced. Disruption in the microbiome leading to dysbiosis, can result in direct competition for nutrients between commensal bacteria and the bird, reduced nutrient digestibility and the production of toxic compounds, all of which negatively impact poultry gut health and flock performance.
A well-established, healthy microbiome is a delicate balance between “beneficial’ bacteria and pathogens. Due to its prevalent, central presence in poultry production systems, feed is a critical component of intestinal health, and effective interventions can reduce and balance microbial loads in addition to positively impacting intestinal health and productivity.
Feed quality plays a critical role in the health and performance of commercial poultry, especially through its direct impact on the microbiome, which is particularly sensitive to changes in feed composition and microbial quality. Poor quality feed can lead to dysbiosis, resulting in reduced nutrient absorption, increased pathogen prevalence and decreased overall health and productivity.
Normal intestinal flora, such as Clostridium perfringens can become a feed or environmentally-sourced pathogen, and as a consequence of overwhelming challenge, can cause Necrotic Enteritis. However, this condition is also favored by dysbiosis. Trials have shown that feed sanitation reduces microbial loads in the feed, contributing to the development of a healthy, productive poultry intestine. Compared to other feed hygiene options, a true feed sanitizer will reduce microbial loads in feed and protect feed against recontamination, ultimately leading to lowered enteric disease incidence and improved performance in egg or meat poultry production systems.
A trial conducted through a collaboration between Colorado Quality Research and Anitox has evaluated the impact of feed sanitation on bird health by examining changes in health and performance metrics. Results indicate that broilers offered sanitized feed during their juvenile development exhibit improved production metrics, reduced lesion scores and mortality under a Necrotic enteritis challenge model. While more work is underway, study results show that feed sanitation caused a decrease in the feed bacterial load and had a beneficial effect during critical developmental stages. This beneficial effect of reducing microbial loads in feeds was reflected in the reduced mortality after the challenge and improved body weights and feed conversion in treated birds when compared to untreated control groups.
Feed quality clearly plays a significant role in the health and productivity of commercial poultry, and implementing feed interventions to decrease microbial loads is an effective strategy for supporting poultry gut health and improving performance.
To learn more about how feed sanitation can reduce pathogen load and prevalence in your feed and support poultry health, performance and productivity in your operation, contact your clean feed expert today.