Phyto-active ingredients successfully replace antibiotic growth promoters and maintain or improve productivity
There is increasing concern about antibiotic residues in meat
Consumers around the world are progressively concerned about the presence of antibiotic residues in meat, eggs and milk. Furthermore, the use of antibiotic growth promoters is increasingly restricted or prohibited and there is more and more control over the use of antibiotics for the treatment of diseases. Recently, some top integrators, fast food chains and supermarkets use “antibiotic free” labelling as a marketing strategy.
The finisher stage of broilers is a critical time as there is a high density of animals and therefore the risk of diseases increases, while the use of many antibiotics and anticoccidials is restricted due to their withdrawal period. During this crucial stage, phyto-active ingredients are more effective than other products to maintain digestive health and productivity avoiding the use of antibiotics. We discussed why phyo-active ingredients are able to replace antibiotic growth promoters in this blog.
Advantages of phyto-active ingredients over organic acids
The USDA-Food Safety and Inspection Service advises to use organic acids in drinking water (USDA-FSIS, 2008) during finisher stage to control pathogens in broilers, especially during feed withdrawal period. Acidification of drinking water is fairly cheap and therefore it is a common practice in farms around the world.
However, it must be stressed that water acidification will only be effective if pH of water at bird level is between 3.5 and 4. The concentration of organic acids in water it’s not important when it comes to bacterial control; final pH of water is the determining factor. As a consequence, the water acidification is a cheap practice, but has some major disadvantages:
- The dose of organic acids needed to reach a pH=3.5-4 is high, makes the drinking water sour, and may depress water and feed intake.
- Acidified water may lead to intestinal inflammation, metabolic disorders and decrease the absorption of some nutrients.
- Acidified water may interfere with other pharmaceutical and animal health products administered by drinking water.
- Water at such a low pH corrodes drinkers, dosing pumps and pipelines, increasing the maintenance cost.
- Low pH promotes the growth of algae and fungi in the water lines.
Phyto-active ingredients are an excellent alternative to organic acids. Besides overcoming all the disadvantages described above, they show other benefits:
- Organic acids given by drinking water are absorbed into blood mainly in the upper part of the digestive system. Therefore they are not useful for infections that happen in the small and large intestine, such as necrotic enteritis. This is not the case of phyto-active ingredients and they are effective all along digestive tract.
- Organic acids are bacteriostatic, meaning that they only prevent the growth of the pathogenic bacteria temporarily, while most phyto-active ingredients are bactericide, meaning that they completely kill the microorganisms.
Advantages of phyto-active ingredients over antibiotic growth promoters
Phyto-active ingredients also show some advantages over antibiotic growth promoters:
- Thanks to their mechanism of action (toxicity to the bacterial cell membrane), spectrum of action is wide and bacterial resistance is unlikely to develop.
- Unlike many antibiotics, that kill beneficial flora, some phyto-active ingredients boost the growth of healthy intestinal flora.
- Some phyto-active ingredients such as cinnamon show anticoccidial effect.
- Due to their flavor, some phyto-active ingredients improve palatability and feed intake.
- No withdrawal period is needed; no residues are generated; phyto-active ingredients are environmentally friendly.
The aim of this trial, carried out during 2014, was to evaluate possibility of completely removing antibiotic growth promoters during the finisher period (from 28 days of age to slaughter at day 42) in the farms of the customer.
Control group was administered a combination of antibiotic growth promoters plus organic acids. Trial group was fed with phyto-active ingredients through drinking water.
The use of phyto-active ingredients resulted in more weight gain, better efficiency, less mortality and a similar FCR. Therefore, it can be concluded that phyto-active ingredients improved the health and the productivity of the farm.
Product of choice
PlusProtect Digestive® is a liquid cocktail, rich in phyto-active ingredients, intended to all species and ages.
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Certain health statements may not be applicable in your geographical region. Product claims may differ based upon the requirements of your government.
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Picture of the chickens: ©Shutterstock. Picture of the capsule and leaf: vectoropenstock.com