Useful tips for poultry health and disease control | Glamac
Maintaining poultry health is a priority concern of the farm owners to get optimum output considering the rising challenges at the farm level and disease outbreaks. The increasing demand for poultry products and the market price also has been adversely affected for the past few years due to historically high raw material prices affecting the overall global poultry business. To combat such commercial and economic threats, farmers and the large-scale poultry industries have adopted several measures to maintain poultry flocks with particular emphasis on nutrition.
Scientific evolution of poultry nutrition
The paradigm shift from basic grain feeding to the recommended use of balanced feeds is for the holistic wellbeing of the poultry flocks, thus securing the ultimate business objectives. The introduction of feed additives in poultry nutrition aims to meet three focused purposes—(i) immunizing poultry health with additional supplements, (ii) promoting healthy growth (iii) securing commercial interests.
The raging demand for poultry meat as the leanest and healthiest source of protein has led the farmers/owners of the unorganized farms to adopt the unethical practice, and overdosing-which does more harm than any good. Considering all these potent factors damaging to poultry health, researchers and scientists are on a constant spree to invent safer supplements to enhance the feed’s nutritional value and boost immunity.
To simply put, poultry feed additives are like human nutrition supplements besides the main diet for additional nutrition requirements.
Types of poultry feed additives and benefits
Poultry feed additives are formulated in pharmaceutical labs or facilities where they are clinically tested and tried multiple times before the final market launch. These feed additives are generally non- nutritive products used in minute quantities primarily to improve feed quality, nutrient utilization, growth/ laying performance. The most commonly used feed additives for poultry are AGP (antibiotic growth promoters), probiotics, acidifiers, enzymes, antioxidants, emulsifiers, anticoccidials, mold inhibitors or mycotoxin binders etc.
• AGP (antibiotic growth promoter) has been used in animal feeds since the 1940s. They improve growth performance and control infections at sub-therapeutic doses, but prolonged use of the same molecule may raise drug resistance.
• Probiotics are “live micro-organisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host” (FAO & WHO definition). The mode of action of probiotic feed additives is mainly based on three principles, including competitive exclusion, bacterial antagonism, and immune modulation (Patterson & Burkholder, 2003).
• Acidifiers are fast getting recognized as a successful alternative to AGP. A smart blend of buffered acids can perform even better than AGP. Acidifier reduces the gut pH, ensures bactericidal action and improves digestion.
• Exogenous enzymes are among the most used feed additives. Enzymes are proteins that facilitate speciﬁc chemical reactions and work on speciﬁc substrates. Poultry naturally produces enzymes to aid the digestion of feed nutrients. However, they do not have the enzyme to break down fibre completely and need exogenous enzymes in feed to aid digestion. The benefits of using enzymes in poultry diets include enhanced bird performance and feed conversion and fewer environmental problems due to reduced excreta output.
• Antioxidants are essential in poultry nutrition to eliminate the ill effects of free radicals and promote their metabolism health. The recommended dose of naturally extracted antioxidants is vital for improved immunity of the chicken flocks and meat quality by preventing lipid oxidation.
• Emulsifiers assist fat digestibility. Dietary supplementation of emulsifiers improves fat utilization at an early age when both bile salt and lipase secretion in vivo remain at a much lower level.
• Toxin binders are clayey soil of specific nature, which can bind mycotoxins in the GI tract, avoid their absorption and ensure their elimination. The feed/ ingredient contamination with toxins may occur anywhere in the supply chain, from the harvest of maize or oil pulses to storage to feeding channels in the farm and poses a significant threat to humans & animals.
• Anticoccidial additives are formulated to eliminate a load of coccidia, one of the biggest causes of economic losses in poultry worldwide. They also act as a growth promoter for the poultry flocks, besides promoting and supporting their intestinal integrity.
Tips to maintain poultry health
• Procure DOC free from any diseases or abnormalities
• Keep it in a clean hygienic environment
• Offer the best diet whose every pick is balanced
• Follow a standard farm management practice (SOP)
• Maintain strict bio-security measures
• Adopt “All in all out” system
• Inspect routinely to prevent any ailment
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