Neonatal Poultry Nutrition

Neonatal Poultry NutritionOver the last five decades improvements in nutrition and genetic selection have reduced the time required to produce a 2 Kg broiler within 1.7 FCR. The neonatal period is defined as the first seven days of the production cycle after hatch. It is a crucial time when the chick requires special management and nutrition. Efforts to control metabolic disorders such as ascites and leg problems have led to recommending early feed restriction during the first two weeks post-hatch. Thus, it is essential to know the effect of poultry management practices on subsequent chick development. A paper presented in the ohio university explains the importance of the relationship of neonatal nutrition to muscle development. Muscle growth and development can be divided into two distinct periods: hyperplasia and hypertrophy.

Hyperplasia is an embryonic period characterised by proliferation of muscle fiber number whereas hypertrophy is a post-hatch muscle growth which results in the enlargement of existing muscle fibers. Nutritional deprivation has a significant effect on the myoblast cells. Research was conducted to evaluate the effects of an immediate post-hatch feed restriction on breast muscle formation. The increased number of nuclei in muscle fibers correlates with increased synthesis of protein and muscle fiber size enlargement. Myoblast cells are extremely responsive to the mitogenic effects of their environment, including nutrition. A 42-day length of study conducted with feed restriction on the neonatal chickens showed a significant difference morphologically in the development and structure of the breast muscle between the feed restricted and unrestricted diet treatments. It also increased deposition of fat in the breast muscle of the birds with the 20% feed restriction.


Nutrient deprivation in the first few days after hatch may interfere with normal muscle protein development in broiler chicks. However, if you believe that flavor and juiciness follow the fat, there may be some benefit from early feed restriction.

Effect of Protein and Amino Acids on Fat Deposition in Poultry

Effect of Protein and Amino Acids on Fat Deposition in PoultryThe abdominal fat tissue is very important in chickens due to its rapid growth as compared with other fat tissues. Most fatty acids are produced in the liver and stored as triglycerides in adipose tissues. Thus, the abdominal fat is a reliable parameter for estimating total body fat content as it directly correlates with the total lipid content in avian species. Nutritional factors play a key role in regulating body fat deposition. Therefore, this article discusses the effect of two such nutritional factors viz., protein and amino acids on the abdominal fat content and the mechanism of regulating abdominal fat deposition in poultry in a beneficial manner.

Protein is the most expensive component of poultry diets. The increase in the dietary protein content improves the daily weight gain, carcass yield, and meat quality by reducing body fat deposition and increasing protein content. A report shows that reducing dietary protein level during the starter, grower, and finisher phase, and compared with normal-protein diets as recommended by NRC, 1994 led to a significant increase in the abdominal fat content. An analogous study where increasing dietary protein level in the diets of broiler chickens in all three phases led to a significant reduction abdominal fat deposition compared with diets formulated according to NRC (1994) causing lean broiler chickens. Therefore, dietary protein content must play a direct or indirect role in the regulation of lipid metabolism. In 2002, it was found that reducing dietary protein content upregulates malic enzyme mRNA expression increases malic enzyme activity in the liver of broilers compared with the control, and vice versa. Further study also showed that increasing dietary protein content caused a significant reduction in hepatic enzyme mRNA expression in the livers of broiler chickens. Therefore, dietary protein level directly affects body fat deposition. Thus, it is important to suffice the protein requirements of birds to produce high-quality meat with low-fat deposition.

At present, only methionine, lysine, and arginine are known to beneficially regulate body fat deposition in poultry. Therefore, the addition of these amino acids in poultry diets should be ensured to prevent unnecessary fat deposition. Among these, methionine is the first limiting amino acid in poultry diet. It is essential amino acid as it directly affects on growth performance and helps in producing lean meat. A report shows that inclusion of L-methionine in poultry diet leads to a significant reduction in body fat content. The effect of dietary L-methionine in reducing the fat deposition may be associated with changes in lipolysis and lipogenesis. Lysine also has a prominent role in meat quality by increasing protein deposition, reducing the water-holding capacity, and enhancing muscle pH. The lysine supplementation in poultry diets significantly enhances lean meat production. A meat-type ducks fed with lysine-deficient diet gave significant high abdominal fat percentage while the inclusion of lysine eliminated this effect. Hence, addition of lysine in poultry diets promotes lean meat production by reducing carcass fatness via lipogenesis inhibition.

Another essential amino acid is the arginine which plays multiple roles in poultry production, implicated in reduction of carcass fat deposition. A study reports a significant reduction in the abdominal fat content in Japanese quails at 42 day of age 2.0% arginine supplementation at day zero of incubation. A corresponding study reported that providing 1.0% more arginine in addition to the NRC (1994) recommendations reduces the abdominal fat content by decreasing the activities of enzymes involved lipogenesis. In avian species, therefore, dietary L-arginine supplementation inhibits certain hepatic enzymes, which causes a reduction in the abdominal fat content by reducing the size of abdominal adipose cells.

Hence, the fat-reducing effects of protein and certain amino acids have not been fully clear. Thus this article makes an effort to elucidate our current understanding of the mechanism related to the effects of protein and amino acids that beneficially regulate abdominal fat deposition in poultry.

Step Towards “Ammonia- Free” Environment For Poultry

Step Towards “Ammonia- Free” Environment For PoultryNitrogen is highly found in animal excreta and can exist in various forms. One such form is “Ammonia”. Primarily ammonia is a result of breakdown of urea present in urine of birds by the enzymes; urease and uricase. It is a potential source to create bad odour and negatively impact air and water quality and animal as well as human health. Presence of ammonia above 25ppm in the poultry house can damage the respiratory system of the birds and also there is a reduction in immune system; leading to declining flock health and performance. In addition to the effects on bird’s health, ammonia has significant hazardous effect on the caretakers and to the environmental ecology.

High levels of ammonia emission inside the poultry house have also become a cause of concern for the atmosphere outside the poultry house. Therefore there is a great need to develop strategies to reduce ammonia formation, volatilization, or downwind transmission of ammonia after it is volatilised from the poultry manure to minimise the harmful effects of ammonia on animal and human health as well as the environment.

Keeping this in mind and with a view to develop ‘ammonia- free ‘and organic environment for all, Vinayak Ingredients have launched a product with a brand name “KiFAY” which is a blend of various herbal extracts in a diatomaceous carrier which acts as a DL-Methionine replacer and a nutritional feed additive and goes directly into the feed and acts as an amino acid optimiser and improves the apparent ileal digestibility of the feed and hence improves the protein turnover this also reduces the amount of amino acid degradation by the liver and excretion by kidney which form the major part of nitrogen compounds excreted by poultry. In turn these compounds are also responsible for ammonia and smell in the poultry house, apart from posing stressors for liver and kidney.

Vinayak Ingredients have also launched a Bio-security product which combats the remaining ammonia emission in the droppings of the birds which acts as a litter amendment system under the brand name of “ESSENTIOLITT-POULTRY”. Essentiolitt poultry is an ammonia binder and has bactericidal action on urease and uricase enzymes and inhibit the ammonia formation by increasing 45% nitrogen retention and ammonia emission.

Bone Defects In Fast Growing Chicken

Bone Defects In Fast Growing ChickenBirds pertaining rapid growth and heavy body weight, are usually associated with a week skeletal body. This has been implicated in musculoskeletal and cardiovascular disease in meat-type poultry. It does not always necessarily result in disease but many of the complications can be eliminated by slowing down the growth rate and research on this has produced contradictory results. Therefore it would be more correct to be called as metabolic disease, since most of these diseases are due to metabolic imbalances associated with rapid growth.

If the hypothesis that musculoskeletal deformity caused due to rapid growth is valid, then we must take into account how specific defects could be associated with rapid growth.

1) The defect may be due to increase in body weight.

2) The defect could occur because of undeveloped tissues (bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles).  This is because as the strong tissue is produced, remodelling and bone alignment would require more duration than rapid growth.

3) The defect could be related to high amino acid supplement, enzyme, hormone, or oxygen requirement by specialised cells.

4) The defect may be due to metabolic by-products such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid that are increased by rapid growth.

5) Rapidly dividing cells could be more prone to toxic or metabolic injury.

Most of the skeletal deformities in birds result in birds that are not able to walk. Birds in these cases find difficult to get feed and water due to chronic pain and anxiety associated with aggression from other birds.

Skeletal deformities can be caused in a variety of ways. Nutritional deficiencies are one of the causes in skeletal disease in all birds. Birds that are growing fast have higher requirement of essential amino acid supplement and have more skeletal defects than in slower growing strains. Mechanically induced or trauma-associated problems are also much more frequent in fast-growing broilers. These problems may be caused due to immaturity and weight than rapid growth because tissue becomes stronger and more resilient with age. This age-related effect is particularly true of bone, tendon, and ligament. Toxins in feed or water can cause skeletal deformities. Toxin effects are not usually associated with rapid growth, although rapidly growing birds would consume more of the offending product. Genetic problems may also result in skeletal defects, but not related to growth.

To conclude, prevention of musculoskeletal disease in chickens must be the goal, and attempts should be made to find management and nutritional techniques to reduce bone defects such as better lighting programs appear to improve broiler mobility and better methods of catching and transferring birds.

What is The Term Matrix Related to The Poultry Feed Industry?

Matrix Related To The Poultry Feed IndustryMatrix is a term people will generally relate to the Keanu Reeves; even google will present you with this as a first page result. However matrix in the feed analogy is more related to something mathematical. The words digestible nutrients of feed ingredients and matrix are generally used as synonyms. But matrix actually represents the nutrients available in the feed additive together with the nutrients spared or made available by use of the same additive in the feed formulation. It represents the total nutrition provided to the animal body directly or indirectly by affecting the digestibility of feed. So, what is the use of matrix? We all remember our schooling days in mathematics and associate with a name called as Linear programming problems acronym as LPP. These are mathematical equations to link variables together to extract optimum results. One can set the key parameters such as price, dosage, availability, standards as variables with monetary profits as realistic outcomes. To give an example of LPP, let’s try this, for what combination of three machines A, B and C can work together with efficiency using each others limitations on different levels of time, use, power and accuracy to obtain an algorithm best suitable to manufacture maximum units of D in the least possible time, consuming least electricity and maintaining quality standards by reducing standard deviation. In layman terms it will give you a method of best utilization of available resources. So a matrix will enable us to use LPP, which are now-a-days coded in software’s that help in formulating feed.

So how does one calculate the matrix of a feed additive? The answer is to run digestibility trials. These trials evaluate the nutritional availability from the ingredient to the animal. The availability can be further refined as in case of terms in energy as gross energy, metabolizable energy and so on. The digestibility trials also are needed to be refined on the basis of species, age, breed, sex and diet. A mature broiler breeder will have an ability to digest nutrients from corn which will be a different for a layer chick and a corn-soy diet with fish meal will have different matrix then a corn-soy-bran diet with lupins. Once individual ingredient digestibility values are calculated the nutritional content can be corrected with these fractions to determine their true potential in feed formulations. Many phytogenic origin products have tried to replace certain high cost matrix products in the feed. But very few have succeeded to relate the plant sourced additive in terms of a compatible matrix value. The matrix can be also formed on the basis of growth studies where ingredient for ingredient replacement can be tested by using performance parameters. A correlation graph can be utilised to compare the new ingredients which fit better in an LPP for cost reduction with the old ones, falling short on the price front or other long term frontiers. In case of certain additives like phytase enzymes which result in mobilization phosphorus, the tibial ash content comparisons are also used to form matrix.

An in vivo digestibility assay in case of poultry ideally focuses of ileal sampling of digesta and deductively analysing the same with oral fed feed. The birds are sacrificed and digesta is sampled at different levels of the gut to understand the digestibility of ingredients. As ileum is the terminal region of the small intestine and digestion is considered at its optimum here, the feed sampled in these zones is used for developing a matrix. The fecal collection is generally contaminated with renal excretions and is not considered as ideal to evaluate digestibility of precision fed feed. The most accurate theoretical method to estimate digestibility values is to use cecectomized roosters. Only few attempts to replicate the digestive values in vitro are successful and are not as accurate as in vivo methods. Most of the values tested in vitro were based on activity of enzymes on a certain feed grain and do not replicate real time complexities of in vivo trials.

Research is now moving to the molecular level, and ultimately it is the nutrients that are utilised at a cellular level that matter the most. Current digestibility studies focus on the nutrients absorbed from the intestinal lumen to the blood, whereas growth studies compare the net benefits from the additive. In the future our goal should be a point of intersection between these two studies with molecular markers used to light up our path to the least cost matrix for success.