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A microbiota in imbalance (dysbiosis) can be related to enteric problems that will cause losses to the poultry industry.
In the case of layer hens, which are long cycle birds, care needs to be doubled. Dysbiosis can occur at any stage of life and needs to be controlled whenever it happens, especially with the help of probiotics, which stimulate the proliferation of beneficial bacteria and allow the rebalancing of the microbiota and the return to eubiosis conditions.
But what are the factors that can negatively impact the intestinal microbiota? What are the key points to promote its balance throughout the life of layer hens? That’s what we will talk about next.
Microbiota and intestinal Integrity
Intestinal microbiota are composed of microorganisms – mainly bacteria – that live in the gut of chickens and perform functions essential to their health and performance.
This complex community of bacteria is of great importance for maintaining intestinal integrity, a broad concept that goes far beyond the morphological aspect.
In addition, this microbiota connects various organs and systems – digestive, immune, visceral and central nervous systems – and brings benefits in physiological, nutritional, immunological, health and animal welfare.
The microbiota actively participates in cell proliferation, blood supply, and mucus production;
The microbiota metabolizes fiber that the chickens cannot utilize, such as non-starch polysaccharides, and through its metabolism produces vitamins and organic acids, which will serve as an energy source for the chickens;
The microbiota influence the GALT (mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue), which accounts for 70% of the birds’ immune response. In addition, it contributes to the maintenance of the tight junctions (narrow spaces that exist between intestinal cells) preventing increased intestinal permeability and consequent inflammation;
The beneficial bacteria of the microbiota constantly compete with the pathogenic bacteria;
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Below the brain, the gut is the organ that has the most nerve endings in the body. A microbiota in balance contributes to the chickens’ well-being and productivity, since 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut.
Intestinal microbiota of layers: 5 key points
An intestinal microbiota helps improve nutrient absorption, reduces intestinal inflammation, modulates the expression of inflammatory cytokines, stimulates mucosal immunity, reduces apoptosis-related proteins, has antioxidant action, and increases the number of IgA and B cells.
After understanding how the microbiota works and the importance of eubosis for the intestinal integrity of chickens, let’s show what are the decisive points to follow.
The intestinal microbiota is essential for layer´s rearing.
This is the first point to be understood. When we talk about layers, one of the most important pillars to increase productivity and profitability is to produce flocks with adequate body weight and high uniformity – especially during the growing and rearing phase.
In this regard, a balanced microbiota favors weight gain and flock uniformity, because it will protect the intestinal mucosa against pathogenic microorganisms.
Early colonization is the starting point.
The application of probiotics – rich in lactic acid bacteria – in the hatchery initiates intestinal colonization with beneficial bacteria, favoring intestinal formation and increasing protection against undesirable bacteria such as salmonella, pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli (APEC) and Clostridium perfringens, which will jeopardize intestinal integrity.
Thus, early colonization is the starting point to obtain flocks with adequate weight and high uniformity.
Once colonized, the goal is to maintain the intestinal microbiota in balance.
As the intestinal microbiota is not static, i.e., it undergoes variations throughout the chicken’s life, it is necessary to maintain its balance.
It is worth remembering that several factors can promote dysbiosis. The practice of management essential to production (beak trimming, vaccinations, feed changes, transfers, etc.) associated or not with environmental/climatic variations favor the unbalance of the microbiota and the respective appearance of enteric problems.
Prebiotics, probiotics, organic acids, nutrition, environment, management, and antibiotics can modulate the intestinal microbiota.
During the life of layers, these factors can affect the microbiota. On the one hand, prebiotics, probiotics, organic acids and herbal medicines positively modulate the microbiota, favoring the physiology and development of the chickens.
On the other hand, nutritional failures, environmental problems, and stressful management practices will negatively affect the microbiota, promoting dysbiosis and the appearance of diseases that require the use of antibiotics, and thus favor the selection of resistant bacteria, which can cause short, medium, and long term losses.
Intestinal microbiota in balance is synonymous with health for the chickens and profitability for your business.
In the daily production puzzle, it is necessary to see the intestinal microbiota as a central piece, because naturally numerous challenges will be present throughout the production cycle.
And, as mentioned above, keeping it in balance is synonymous with healthy flocks and profitable business.
Relying on Probiotics
Probiotics, by improving the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract of poultry, they establish an ideal environment for the development of a balanced microbiota and at the same time stimulate the development and maturation of the immune system (GALT).
This scenario is essential for the layer to have an efficient defense against pathogenic microorganisms. And this enables the poultry intestine to perform essential functions, such as digestion and absorption, which will result in better zootechnical and economic performance.
Now that you know the key points for maintaining the intestinal microbiota throughout the life of layer hens, we can help you set up a program to promote the intestinal integrity of your flocks. Talk to one of our experts! In our portfolio there are products ideal for early colonization with hundreds of species of bacteria – lactic, anaerobic and facultative anaerobic!