September 21, 2015

21/09/2015: Anta®Phyt and PreAcid: Meeting the nutrition challenges for antibiotic-free poultry
The Latin American Poultry Congress in Ecuador (8-11 September 2015) focused on the future nutritional challenges faced by animal producers worldwide. Increased awareness of the potential health problems caused by the use of antibiotic growth promoters (AGP), animal farmers today are looking for alternative feeding solutions for a healthy and cost-effective animal nutrition.

Losses in profitability, a decrease in production amounts or any declines in health could potentially threaten animal producers’ future. Partners and suppliers with proven quality and safe products, specialised in optimised poultry nutrition, are essential for the future development and profitability of poultry producers in Latin America and other regions of the world.

Being the European 'First Mover' when it comes to antibiotic-free animal nutrition, Dr Eckel has more than 20 years of experience, providing efficient and extensively tested solutions for modern poultry production. In many different in vitro and vivo trials, the phytogenic product Anta®Phyt and the prebiotic acidifier PreAcid proved their positive effects on poultry performance and animal welfare, in layers, broilers and turkeys.

Anta®Phyt: Improved litter quality and healthier footpads – a boost for animal welfare and your profitability!
Footpad dermatitis (FPD) is a frequent concern in broiler and turkey production. In severe cases, footpad lesions cause pain, which together with a deteriorated state of health constitutes a welfare issue. Furthermore footpad lesions reduce animal performance and production profitability. The prevalence of footpad lesions is strongly linked to poor litter quality (wet and sticky). By maintaining a good litter quality, poultry producers can reduce financial losses and improve bird welfare at the same time. The mechanisms that lead to footpad lesions are complex, but diarrhoea is known to be a contributing factor since it directly increases litter moisture and decreases litter quality.

Anta®Phyt is a unique combination of carefully selected plant extracts and a prebiotic compound, developed to face the challenges of the modern animal production in a natural and healthy way. Anta®Phyt supports digestion and creates a healthy gut flora while promoting performance and animal welfare. The active ingredients in Anta®Phyt were found to have antibacterial effects against certain bacteria. Some of these bacteria, such as Clostridium perfringens, are one of the main causes of diarrhoeal disorders in poultry.

Anta®Phyt was found to reduce Clostridium perfringens colonies in vitro (Fig 1, Blässe et al, 2012) and might therefore reduce the incidence of necrotic enteritis, which is often related to wet litter problems. A broiler fattening trial conducted by the University of Berlin demonstrated the positive effects of Anta®Phyt in vivo. Adding Anta®Phyt to the feed reduced litter moisture content by a significant 14 percent compared to a control group. (Fig 2). In addition, feed conversion ratio (-2.1%) and weight gain (+3.7%) were improved compared to control group (Holl et al. 2013).

In the latest trial on a turkey farm with almost 10,000 birds per group, Anta®Phyt directly improved footpad health and contributed to a significant increase of return on investment. An evaluation at the slaughterhouse showed the difference: 64.5 percent of the animals in the Anta®Phyt-group showed no lesions, while only 33.2 percent of the control animals were showed to be free of lesions (score 1). Flocks with a lower incidence of footpad lesions have a higher growth rate, less downgrades and therefore an increased profitability. Since animal welfare and health go hand in hand with performance, it is not surprising that the financial return in the Anta®Phyt-group was €13,000 higher compared to the control group.

PreAcid: Improved laying performance and egg shell stability
Efficiency is a priority in egg production, but every precaution must be taken to guarantee output. Today, layers industry producers face multiple challenges to achieve quality and cost-effectiveness.

One such challenge is the current practice of increasing the laying period, which potentially could reduce egg shell stability. Similar to the effects of advanced age, extended laying periods can result in an increase of egg weights without a proportional increase in shell weight, making the eggs more fragile. Laying farms are constantly looking for ways to reduce losses due to cracked egg shells. Calcium deficiency is one of the primary causes of weakened egg shells. It can lead to reduced laying capacity, higher breakage rates, and an increased risk of salmonella due to the cracks. All of these can reduce laying farms profits significantly.

PreAcid, a mixture of organic acids, combined with the prebiotics gluconate and butyrate and a highly available calcium source, specifically target these issues. The prebiotic compound in PreAcid stimulates the microbial fermentation, and consequently the production of butyric acid (Biagi et al. 2006). The latter has been shown to be beneficial for the development of healthy intestinal structures.

The latest results from a control test by the University of Georgia confirm the positive effect of PreAcid. Villi height and crypt depth in the intestines of the broilers were greater compared to a positive control group who received antibiotic growth promoter (AGP) supplements. This was especially the case in the mid and final section of the small intestine (Fig. 3) (Adhikari & Kim, 2014). Strongly pronounced crypts expanded the surface area of the intestinal wall, resulting in an increased uptake of nutrients. This is crucial as calcium absorption takes place primarily in this section of the small intestine (Breves and Schröder, 2005).

To confirm the positive effects of PreAcid on intestine surface and nutrient uptake, a feeding trial was carried out in a layer farm with 18,000 laying hens per group. The addition of PreAcid had a significant effect on egg quality and laying performance. Compared to a negative control, the PreAcid group showed improved egg shell strength (up 9.5%), with an additional higher egg uniformity. The negative control group had 4 percent cracked eggs, the PreAcid group only had 1 percent, with an overall better laying performance compared to negative control (+4%) (Fig 4) (Vianello et al 2015).

The innovative formula of PreAcid has a pronounced effect on egg shell quality and laying performance in hens. Furthermore, it supports the development of the intestinal surface, increasing the absorption of nutrients. PreAcid helps laying farms to employ modern egg production techniques to increase efficiency and profitability as well as meeting consumers demands for high quality products.

Background information
The ban of antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) within the European Union in 2006 subsequently created new challenges for animal production. Also outside the EU, there is a growing awareness that the widespread use of antibiotics can lead to drug-resistant bacteria strains. Several large American-based companies like McDonald’s and Tyson have already pledged to eliminate the use of poultry and livestock treated with antibiotics by 2017. Wendy’s has begun testing antibiotic free chickens in late July to evaluate the chain’s broader guidelines on antibiotic free meat.

The impact of the ban in Europe has been seen on the performance, as well as on animal welfare during rearing husbandry and on general health issues of the birds. At the same time, a worldwide increase in the demand for poultry, meat and eggs requires constant, efficient and goal-oriented healthcare to prevent the development of diseases. With these issues in mind, it is more essential than ever to rely on experienced partners for optimised poultry nutrition.

Visit the Dr Eckel site HERE.

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine GFMT
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

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