Engormix/Poultry Industry/Technical articles

Specialized diets with plasma improve the productive performance of chickens

Published on: 7/6/2021
Author/s : Luís Rangel, Director of Technical Services for Latin America at APC
Read the interview with Luís Rangel, Director of Technical Services for Latin America at APC, on the importance of an adequate diet to the needs of the chick in their first days of life.
What is the importance of a diet adequate to the chick's needs in its first days aiming at a better productive performance?
According to Leeson, (2015a), the digestive enzyme capacity of the newly hatched broiler chick is not fully developed, partially due to the change in composition of nutrient intake from the readily available yolk and albumen to complex carbohydrates, proteins and lipids in conventional cereal-soy starter diets. Therefore, even though chicks grow quite rapidly in the first few days of life, early growth and development can be further enhanced by use of specialized diets with highly digestible ingredients that can help support intestinal development. Any issue of early indigestion today is more important because of the shorter growth cycle of the broiler, and the current trend to less reliance on antibiotic growth promoters. The young chick digests soybean meal and cereal up to 10% less efficiently than our “book values” for amino acid and metabolizable energy, and often any undigested residues today can fuel microbial overgrowth in the large intestine and ceca. The first week of the chick’s life will impact the bird at slaughter.
Is there a trend of the market to have more and more rations and products directed to specific phases within the productive cycle of the bird?
In general, the Genetic companies suggest the Phase Feeding according to the level of production their clients require considering the market conditions, broiler prices and ingredient costs. According to the Cobb Manual of December 2018, the nutritional requirements of broilers generally decrease with age. From the classical point of view, pre-starter, starter, growing and finishing diets are incorporated into the program of broiler breeding. However, the needs nutritional status does not change abruptly in days specific, but on a continuous basis, over time. Most companies offer various types of feed in an attempt to meet the nutritional needs of the birds. The more types of feed or phases the bird receives, the greater the probability that the producer meet the birds nutritional needs and increase the income over feed cost.
What is the impact of the bird's first seven days of life on its future productive performance?
Traditionally has been well accepted that for each 1 g increase difference during first 7 days translate to 10g difference at 38 days. Therefore, it is very important to have a strong gastrointestinal tract development during first days because having a good starting helps to have healthy and heavy birds at the end. One example of the impact of the first seven days of life on the future performance is the impact of spray-dried plasma (SDP) in pre-starter diets. SDP modulates immunity, improves gut health, gut functionality, and overall performance in chickens (Campbell et al., 2019). Feeding SDP to broilers in the first few days of life improves economically important parameters at the end of the production cycle such as weight gain, feed efficiency and livability in seemingly healthy flocks in both control studies and field experiments (Belote et al., 2021; Beski et al., 2016a; Cogan et al., 2020; Gonzalez-Esquerra, et al., 2019a). Furthermore, the effect of feeding SDP to chicks of different quality was assessed recently (Arce-Menocal et al., 2021). Cobb 500 1d-old chicks were weighed individually at arrival and divided into groups of 36.6 or 44g of BW on average. At 7d of age, SDP improved BWG, intake and FCR in 36.6 and 44g birds. At 42d of age, SDP improved intake and BWG vs Ctrl in 36.6g greater than in 44g birds. Feeding SDP improved carcass weight and yield by 70g & 1.48%, respectively. Feeding SDP improved performance at 7d and 42d. Overall, SDP improved gut development and gut functionality regardless of chick quality. 
In the specific case of feed, is there a more adequate size of grains / pellets to be offered to chicks?
We see in the field mash, pelleted and crumbled feed being fed to chicks, ideally should be offer feed products with high quality ingredients to reduce possible impacts caused by anti-nutritional factors and degradation of raw materials. Pre-starter feeds pelleted, or crushed form allow for better use of the nutrients in the feed by the chicks and better performance (Freitas et al., 2008). According to Nir et al. (1994), young broilers select the feed particles and prefer feeds with particles whose average geometric diameter is around 0.7 and 0.9 mm. There are commercial feeds pelleted and crumbled with particle sizes around 2.2 mm that claim to improve the efficiency and use of nutrients, in addition to avoiding the selection of ingredients. The idea is to ensure that the bird maintains a homogeneous consumption of the formulated nutrients.
Has the company invested in research and development of new products for the early chicks?
In general, companies must invest in science in order to prove a concept or to generate a new product application. As an example, APC, LLC has been investing in the SDP application in Broilers the past 18 year and recently an abstract of ameta-analysis on the effect of cumulative SDP intake (g/bird) on BWG, feed intake, FCR, and livability of broilers was performedand published at the IPPE 2021. This search has involved more than 20 publications. This literature search yielded over 90 control vs. plasma comparisons. Studies were divided into a challenge or non-challenge conditions. Overall, feeding SDP improved ΔBWG, Δ Intake, ΔFCR & ΔLiv during the starter period. The work indicated that most of the value of feeding SDP in broilers is realized when fed in the first few days of life. The main improvement observed with SDP at slaughter age was ΔFCR, ΔBWG & ΔLiv (Krabe et al., 2021).
Today, what product does the company specifically target for the initial phase of the bird?
APC has been focusing on the use of Spray Dried Animal plasma fed during the first 4-10 days of life of the chick.
How do these technologies offered by the company generate benefits in the bird's productive and economic performance for the producer?
Information looking at the response of SDP in broilers indicates that the first few days of life are critical when supplementing SDP to chickens. As chickens eat a small amount of diet in that period, the total investment per chicken is relatively low. Recent work suggests that a cumulative total SDP intake of 3 to 4g per chicken fed in the first few days of life captures a significant amount of value making the practice economically feasible (Beski et al., 2016a; Gonzalez-Esquerra et al.,2019 ab, Cadogan et al., 2020). This would imply feeding between 1 to 2% in the first diet depending on the length of the feeding phase. For example, a starter diet fed from 0 to 7, 0 to 10 or 0 to 12 days of age could have a level of SDP of 2, 1.5 or 1%, respectively which, given the typical feed intake observed in those phases, would result in a cumulative intake of SDP of about 3 to 4g per chicken. Feeding less than 1% is not recommended in broilers since the response seems to be shaky, while special prestarter diets fed for less than 5 days could require up to 3% of SDP addition.
The price of SDP can vary among regions but typically the investment of feeding 3 to 4g of SDP per chicken is covered by a reduction (improvement) of 1 point of feed conversion (i.e., - 0.01) which is a value observed for many feed additives currently used by the poultry industry globally.
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