November 25, 2015
Poultry gut health discussed during Biomin seminar in Italy
Gut health problems are a consistent companion of current poultry growing systems that impair bird welfare and performance, according to Dr. Franco Calini, an advisor to the feed and animal industries.
He presented his opinion during a BIOMIN seminar, titled "The Multifacets of Gut Performance and Lameness", at the University of Bologna's School of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, in Italy on November 12. Over 60 delegates were in attendance.
"Litter problems tend to be most prevalent gut health issues, followed by ammonia, Hock burns and footpad dermatitis. The wide variability among gut health issues means that a 'one problem, one solution' approach cannot work," Dr. Calini added.
Genome sequencing is one technology that is allowing researchers to investigate the relationship between the ceca microbiota and the chicken more closely.
"Recent technological advances have made genome sequencing much quicker and less expensive than in the past," noted Alessandra De Cesare, research assistant in the Food Safety Laboratory at the University of Bologna.
"Next generation sequencing (NGS) can serve to analyse bacterial populations within the gastrointestinal tract and interactions within that community. Bacteria in chicken's gastrointestinal tract can vary a lot even among samples taken from a single flock," she said.
Metabolic diseases are also linked to gut health.
"Bacterial Chondronecrosis with Osteomyelitis (BCO) is a bacterial infection that starts in the growth plate cartilage. Right now, it's probably the most common cause of lameness in the US," Prof. Robert Wideman of the University of Arkansas explained. He presented peer-reviewed study results showing that Biomin's PoultryStar® can reduce the incidence of BCO lameness in broilers by more than half, even across different genetic lines.
"A competitive exclusion strategy using a multi-strain probiotic additive such as PoultryStar® can play a role in reducing the incidence of BCO lameness in birds," said Luca Vandi, BIOMIN's technical and marketing director for EMA. He shared results from a farm in the Netherlands showing genuine performance improvements and net return on investment (ROI) gains in 75% of barns applying PoultryStar® for broilers.
"The clear reduction in BCO lameness in this case was accompanied by less antibiotic use," he added.