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Early feeding: Nutritional strategies to improve the health and well-being of chicks after hatching

14 June, 2023|

The “hatch window” represents the 24–48-hour period in which hatching begins and ends for all eggs from the same batch. During this time, the chicks remain in the incubator until all the eggs hatch, after which they undergo routine treatments, including selection, vaccination, sexing, and sorting, before being transferred to the farm. In conventional commercial hatcheries, when chicks hatch, they have no food or water available until they are transported to the farms (delayed access). Long transports to their destination could exacerbate store depletion and dehydration through excessive thermoregulation and stress, which could affect body weight and chick mortality rates. European Union legislation stipulates that newly hatched chicks may be transported within the first 72 hours of life, including a maximum transport time of 24 hours, without food or water. This recommendation is because the metabolic reserves stored in the yolk sac may be sufficient for the chick during the first three days after hatching. However, chick mortality during the first week of life may reflect the stress of the transport process, as well as the fact that increased mortality is the most [...]

Natural solutions against Salmonella in poultry: Prepare for battle!

30 June, 2022|

Salmonella infections in poultry are a problem for consumers, as Salmonella-contaminated animal products pose a serious risk to human health. Since the use of antibiotics needs to be reduced to maintain their effectiveness, control of Salmonella in poultry requires alternative solutions. This article shows how organic acids and phytomolecules can help combat this complex disease. Salmonellosis: what it is, how it works and why it is a problem Salmonellosis is a zoonosis that can be easily transferred from animals to people. The transfer can occur in different ways: - Direct contact with an infected animal. - Handling or consuming contaminated animal products, such as eggs or raw pork, turkey, and chicken. - Contact with infected vectors (insects or domestic animals) or contaminated equipment. Frozen or raw chicken products, as well as eggs, are the most common means of transmission of Salmonella infections of animal origin in humans. The following graph shows a clear relationship between the occurrence of Salmonella in laying hen flocks and the occurrence of the disease in humans: Figure 1. [...]

Innovative nutritional specialties for poultry: butyrate and its benefits

29 June, 2022|

For many years, the intestinal health of broilers was supported and preserved by the use of antimicrobial growth promoters (AGPs), antibiotic substances that, added to the feed in certain amounts, have subtherapeutic effects that favor animals’ productive performance. In 2006, the European Union banned the use of these substances as a precautionary measure to prevent AGPs from increasing antimicrobial resistance in bacteria and their subsequent transmission to humans. It is very likely that intestinal health problems in chickens were partially masked by the routine use of AGPs. Since their ban in Europe, alternative strategies have been sought to control the intestinal health of birds. These research efforts have revealed the complexity of the intestinal ecosystem. Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) have been widely used as feed additives in recent years. SCFAs are a group of molecules that contain from one to seven carbon atoms and that exist as straight or branched chain compounds. Among them, acetic, propionic and butyric acid are the predominant forms. Butyric acid also has multiple other health-promoting effects, such as mediating the immune response, inhibiting the growth of harmful [...]

Early feeding in chicks: how to implement it

28 June, 2022|

The “hatching window” represents the 24-48 hour period during which the eggs hatch. The newly hatched chicks remain in the incubator until all of them have hatched, after which they undergo routine treatments such as selection, vaccination, sexing and grading, before being transported to the farm. Depending on the length of the hatching window, routine procedures and transport to the farm, the chickens can remain under fasting conditions for a period that could reach, according to legislation (EC No 1/2005), up to a maximum of 72 hours. Chicks need to learn to consume feed as soon as possible to allow their digestive system to undergo a rapid anatomical and physiological transformation, as well as help the development of the immune system. They also need to start consuming water in a short time to compensate for the dehydration they experience from hatching to their arrival at the farm, thus also favoring the consumption and digestibility of the feed. Fasted chicks are more susceptible to pathogens, lose weight easily, critical tissue development and survival can be compromised, and those that survive often exhibit stunted growth, [...]

The main predisposing factors for necrotic enteritis in broilers and the use of probiotics as a new strategy to prevent the disease

23 June, 2022|

Necrotic enteritis (NE) is one of the most common and, at the same time, the most economically devastating diseases of broiler flocks. NE is an infectious disease caused by Clostridium perfringens species, a Gram-positive anaerobic bacterium found in soil, litter, dust and, at low levels, in the healthy gut of birds. C. perfringens causes disease when it converts from a non-producer to a toxin producer; in fact, NE is caused by the species that synthesizes the NetB toxin, which is responsible for the formation of necrotic lesions in the intestine. Although NetB toxin-producing strains of C. perfringens have been confirmed to be the ultimate cause of NE in chickens, it appears that a simple infection is not sufficient to trigger the disease. Predisposing or risk factors are necessary to create a favorable environment for the proliferation of the pathogen. The classic clinical form of necrotic enteritis is characterized by a sudden increase in mortality of the birds, up to 50%, often without any visible or warning signs, although wet litter can be an indicator of the disease. The subclinical form of the infection [...]

Bioacoustics analysis for the detection of animal welfare in chicks fed with Licuicel Complex

3 May, 2022|

Bioacoustics is the study of the production, transmission and reception of sounds emitted by animals. Most animal welfare studies aim to reduce potential negative experiences from the farm environment that could threaten animal health by allowing improvements to be made to environmental factors such as light, noises, flock density, facilities, disease prevention, to define all those stress factors that could negatively affect animal welfare. One of the most relevant and first stress factors to which newborn broilers are subjected is the prolonged fasting caused by the routine practices to which they are subjected in the hatcheries before reaching their destination in the farms. Prolonged deprivation of water and feed has long-term negative effects on the health and behavior of the chick, affecting its growth and the correct functional development of the gastrointestinal system. The objective of this preliminary study is to simulate fasting during the first two days of life (48 hours) of newborn chicks in a control group without early feeding and a second group administered a complementary gel feed, Licuicel® Complex, to assess the improvement in the health and welfare of the [...]

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