In favor of life, naturally09/05/2021
3 points to consider when choosing a probiotic for poultry09/06/2021
The steady increase in production costs has been a recurring challenge for poultry farmers. Only in 2021, the Embrapa index (ICPFrango – Chicken Production Costs Index) accumulated an increase of 11.32%, reaching an increase of 43.43% in the last 12 months.
The scenario worries, even more in the shadow of the record percentage of the cost of production of broiler in 2020 – the increase was 38.93%. And this more than significant increase is directly related to the cost of the feed.
First, because the cost of corn and soybean, which are the raw materials that are the basis of poultry feed, continue to increase in the market. Second, because, according to Embrapa, poultry feed represents 76.62% of the total invested in the activity.
This means that if more than 75% of the broiler production is linked to nutrition, agroindustries need to think about alternatives that contribute to the reduction of feed conversion – and, consequently, so that there is no economic loss. But, how to put this into practice?
Feed Conversion and Intestinal Integrity of poultry
The health of poultry flock is one of the factors that most influence the feed conversion in broilers. An imbalanced microbiota prevents the nutrients present in the feed from being properly absorbed in digestion and, therefore, they end up being wasted in the feces.
To prevent this from happening and there is no loss in profitability, it is important for the technical team to be attentive to the intestinal integrity of broilers, whose maintenance is possible with the use of probiotics throughout the production cycle of the poultry.
This topic is so pertinent and relevant to the poultry market that veterinarian Bauer Alvarenga, Business Manager at Biocamp, granted an interview to the magazine aviNews Brasil [Brazil]. We took advantage of his expertise to bring the subject here on our blog.
What is intestinal integrity
Intestinal integrity is a very broad concept, which goes far beyond the morphological aspect and connects several organs and systems: digestive, immune, visceral and central nervous. For this reason, the importance of maintaining the morphological integrity of villi and intestinal crypts – as well as their functionalities – must begin even in the incubation process.
“After all, high temperatures in the final third of incubation affect the development of the embryos and limit the absorption of nutrients present in the yolk sac”, says Bauer. When this happens, chicks of lesser quality are born and are likely to underperform the rest, contributing to the increase in initial mortality.
The 3 phases of the formation of the intestinal microbiota
The intestinal microbiota has a direct relationship with intestinal integrity and its formation consists of 3 phases.
1st) Colonization phase
It happens during the perinatal period, that is, between the end of the embryonic phase and the first three days of the bird’s life. It is marked by a significant increase in the intestinal microbiota in terms of the number of microorganisms and diversity.
As the chicks are born with a rudimentary microbiota, after housing, there will be a significant increase in intestinal colonization, due to the intake of feed, water and litter.
2nd) Maturation phase
It happens between the 4th and the 14th day of life of the chickens and it is when the intestinal microbiota undergoes important transformations. In this phase, the differentiation of the microbiota along the intestine occurs, along with the maturation of intestinal functions that establish different pH, regulate the production of enzymes, create environments with a greater or lesser concentration of oxygen, etc.
These are the factors that favor the digestion of feed and the absorption of nutrients. At the end of the maturation phase, each intestinal segment will be colonized by different bacterial genera.
3rd) Maintenance phase
As of the third week of life, the maintenance phase of the intestinal microbiota begins, that is, a constant search for the domain of commensal microorganisms over pathogens (eubiosis).
The small intestine is colonized mainly by lactic bacteria, while in the caecum there is a predominance of anaerobic bacteria – restricted or optional -, resulting in greater microbial richness and diversity.
Factors that jeopardize the intestinal integrity of chickens
Bauer explains that intestinal inflammation can be caused by infectious agents, as well as non-infectious factors, which promote increased cell turnover and/or cause immunosuppression. “This has a negative impact on intestinal integrity and the functioning of the digestive system,” he says.
Thus, modulation of the microbiota is the best way to achieve intestinal integrity. It should start as early as possible, still in the hatchery, with probiotics of multiple strains or competitive exclusion. They will form the pioneering microbiota, favoring zootechnical gains, stimulating the immune system and hindering the colonization of pathogenic bacteria, which may be present in the chickens’ feed, water and house environment.
Probiotics assist in feed conversion
Probiotic bacteria are responsible for playing an essential role in colonization, maturation and maintenance of intestinal integrity. They balance the intestinal microbiota, compete with the growth of pathogenic bacteria and reduce the occurrence of disease.
Moreover, as probiotic bacteria allow better absorption of feed nutrients by the chickens’ organism, contributing to the reduction of feed conversion and increase in weight gain. And this has a direct impact on profitability.
Bauer points out that there are major differences among the probiotics available on the market. “When choosing a probiotic, it is important to pay attention to issues related to the number of strains that make up the product, its presentation, application routes, as well as the type of fermentation adopted (aerobiosis or microaerophilia). After all, oxygen levels vary significantly between the intestinal segments.”
We talked about the different types of probiotics in this post.
Colostrum® Bio21 Mix has 21 strains
For those looking for a program that accurately meets the flocks challenges and allows for better intestinal integrity, Bauer presents the Colostrum® Bio21 Mix, a probiotic composed of multiple bacterial strains and indicated for diets for all types of poultry. Its triple coating provides thermoresistance to high feed processing temperatures.
“During its development, 20 strains of lactic bacteria with high capacity to adhere to the intestinal mucosa and efficiency for the control of paratyphoid salmonella were selected. To them was added a specific strain of Bacillus subtilis, strain LFU-160, which targets Clostridium perfringens”, explains Bauer.
According to the Business Manager, this association of 21 strains in a single probiotic gives Colostrum® Bio21 Mix greater versatility resulting in zootechnical and sanitary gains. “Broiler customers from Brazil and Latin America, report zootechnical and health gains when using this product. The most common are reduced feed conversion and increased daily weight gain (GPD), making the program outlined economically viable. In addition, there are reports of reduced use of antimicrobials due to improved intestinal integrity”, he concludes.
Discover the benefits of Colostrum® Bio21 Mix for your broiler production.