Health in general—gut health in particular—is an important pillar of animal welfare. Gut health can be affected negatively in broiler chickens by coccidiosis. To limit the effect of this disease, coccidiostats have been used with success for decades. However, their intensive use in broiler chicken flocks has led to resistance. Moreover, societal demand for an antibiotic-free animal product is increasing. Thus, there is a need to develop natural and efficient tools to support modern poultry producers to fulfil the productivity needs along with market demand. Saponin-rich plants like Yucca schidigera and Trigonella foenum-graecum are promising tools. The objective of this presentation is to share the different evaluation methods applied to assess the efficacy of the saponin-rich plant-based solution Norponin XO 2 (NPXO2) and draw a clear picture of the available alternatives for gut health managers. From 2016 to 2021, 2 types of experimental design were applied. The first one consisted of experimental infestations within research facilities. In this experimental design, 4 groups of birds were used: infested-untreated control (IUC), untreated-uninfested control (UUC), infested-ionophore treated (positive control group), and infested-NPXO2 treated (NPXO2). The second experimental design was used in commercial farms with 2 groups, one with “conventional” coccidiosis management tools and one supplemented with NPXO2. In both designs, production performance parameters were monitored and gut health was assess using the Johnson and Reid methodology to score intestinal lesion score (ILS) related to coccidiosis infestation. Results from the first experiment showed that both ionophore and NPXO2 supplementation were able to reduce Eimeria spp. infestation-related ILS and maintain zootechnical performance. In the second experiment, in addition to the fact that NPXO2 supplementation was as efficient as conventional tools, NPXO2 birds displayed a higher livability. These results suggest that NPXO2 supplementation is a reliable tool to be included in gut health management in broiler chicken flocks.
Key Words: gut, Eimeria, chicken.
Presented at the 9th Symposium on Gut Health in Production of Food Animals, St. Louis, USA, 2021. For information on the next edition, click here.