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A balanced mixture of medium chain fatty acids improves zootechnical performances and slaughter results of broilers

A balanced mixture of medium chain fatty acids improves zootechnical performances and slaughter results of broilers

For years the focus of broiler breeding companies has been the improvement of growth rate and feed conversion. This ‘less for more’ strategy has put tremendous stress on the health of the animals. To be able to reach the increased potential of genetic selection birds not only need a well-balanced diet but also benefit to a large extent from functional feed ingredients. Poultry performance and feed efficiency are closely interrelated with the quantitative and qualitative microbial load of the host animal. Medium chain fatty acids (MCFA; C6-C12) are known to have unique nutritional, physiological and antimicrobial properties (KABARA et al., 1972; SKRIVANOVA et al., 2006; BATOVSKA et al., 2009). In pigs a strong in vitro and in vivo regulating effect of MCFA on the proximal gut flora was obtained (DIERICK et al., 2002). The use of MCFA in broilers decreases the excretion of Salmonella enteritidis as measured in the cloacal swabs (VAN IMMERSEEL et al., 2004). Moreover, the same research showed that MCFA are able to lower invasion of Salmonella enteritidis in the intestinal organs. Finally oral supplementation of MCFA to dairy cows supports the systemic as well as the local innate immunity of dairy cows shortly after calving by improving neutrophil quality (PIEPERS et al., 2010).

The objective of the current studies was to determine the effect on zootechnical performances of Aromabiotic Poultry, a carefully balanced mixture of MCFA in broilers.

Materials and Methods
One day old, male broiler chicks (Ross 308) were used in the described trials (Origin: Belgabroed Hatchery, Merksplas-Belgium). Birds from the different transport boxes were evenly distributed over the different treatments. The birds were housed in the poultry experimental facility of ILVO/ Section Small Stock Husbandry. For trial A (two treatments), 18 pens of 2.55 m² (32 birds/pen) were used following a randomised block design whereas for trial B (three treatments) 21 pens of 1.90 m² were used with 30 birds/pen. The broilers were vaccinated the 1st day of age against Newcastle Disease (NDW, spray) and Infectious Bronchitis (Poulvac IB Primer, spray). At 16 days of age the vaccination against Newcastle Disease was repeated with La Sota (Clone 30, drinking water). No other treatments were administered to the animals during the entire study period.
The test product in both trials was Aromabiotic Poultry, a carefully balanced mixture of medium chain fatty acids. The product, delivered by Nuscience, consisted of 60 % MCFA (C6, C8, C10, C12) on a support of silicium dioxide. Trial A consisted of two dietary treatments with each 9 replicates of 32 birds or 576 birds in total. The first dietary treatment (control group A1) consisted of a wheat/corn/soy diet which met all dietary recommendations for chickens from 1 to 39 days of age. For the second treatment (A2) 1.7 g/kg, 1.25 g/kg and 0.8 g/kg of the test product was added to the starter, grower and finisher, respectively. Trial B consisting of three dietary treatments (7 replicates of 30 birds or 630 birds in total) also had a wheat/corn/soy control diet (B1). For the second and third dietary treatment (B2 and B3) respectively 0.8 g/kg and 1.2 g/kg were added to the control diet. In both trials a 3-phase feeding scheme was applied with periods of 13 days each. No other additive with growth promoting properties was used except for an endoxylanase enzyme. Feed was provided ad libitum in (finely ground) meal form by feed mangers, with sizes appropriate to the size of the animals. Drinking water was provided ad libitum by drink belts. 

Daily the animals and housing facilities were inspected for the general health status, constant feed and water supply as well as temperature and ventilation, dead birds, and unexpected events. Daily mortality and cullings were recorded for each pen. Corrections for mortality calculating zootechnical performances were done using the number of ‘broiler days’ (number of broilers x days alive). For each trial, average pen weight was recorded at day old, 13, 26 and 39 days of age. Feed intake was recorded for 1-13, 14-26, and 27-39 days. Feed conversion, daily growth rate, bird-days and daily feed intake per bird were calculated. Necropsy was performed on all dead and culled birds to determine cause of death during the studies (results not shown). At the end of trial B from each pen 2 broilers were selected with a weight near to the average pen weight. These birds were fed their respective diet till the age of 42 days. After a 4h starvation period, they were weighed, slaughtered and cut to determine carcass and breast meat yield. All parameters were subjected to a 2-factorial (treatment, block) analysis of variance (ANOVA, Statistica 9 program).

Results and Discussion
At arrival, one-day old Ross 308 birds showed a good quality with an average body weight of 41.6 g in trial A and 42.1 g in trial B). The results of trial A are summarized in Table...

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