Why the need for vitamin supplementation?
Under normal situations, feed can supply the needed vitamin.
However, modern production can generate stress situations. These stress situations change the requirements and can also lead to a low feed consumption.
In addition, animals today are required to have a high genetic potential. In industrial production, animals are required to reach their maximum potential to have the best muscle deposition or egg production.
Diseases can also lead to reduced feed intake. Some individuals with higher development have somewhat higher nutritional needs.
• Feed = approximately 70% of the production cost
• FCR: ability of animal metabolism to transform feed into meat, milk, eggs etc. The animal devotes some metabolic energy for growth and meat/milk/egg production.
• Stress: situation where one or more factors act on the animal, causing failure in normal metabolism leading to lower FCR and ultimately higher production costs
Stress caused by the thermal environment influences animal productivity by changing heat exchange, food consumption rate, body weight gain, and nutritional requirements.
Reduction in growth is also the result of endocrine and metabolic requirements of animals in response to the thermal environment (T3 and T4, important growth promoter in chickens, decrease with increasing ambient temperature, while other hormones such as corticosterone, increase).
Relationship between thermal stress and vitamins
Research has shown that birds kept under heat stress require higher supply of vitamins and minerals (El Boushy, 1988; Coelho & McNaughton, 1995; Miltenburg, 1999).
High temperatures change the requirement for vitamin C by reducing the synthesis and harming the absorption of vitamin C.
Supplementing diets with vitamin C can promote increase levels of T3 and T4 circulating, resulting in increased metabolism and feed intake, and consequently improved performance of animals kept under heat stress.
The performance and immune defence of birds subjected to heat stress have been significantly improved by increasing vitamin C levels (Pardue and Thaxton, 1984; Pardue et al., 1985), vitamin E (El Boushy, 1988) and pyridoxine (Blalock et al., 1984).
Although not directly evaluating immunological parameters, Rabbit & McNaughton (1995) subjected broilers to different stress conditions associated with different vitamin levels and rated the productive performance of the animals. The environmental conditions used were bed, density of birds, coccidiosis challenge, peroxided fat, mycotoxin contamination and diet density.
The authors concluded that in high-challenge environmental conditions, higher vitamin levels are needed for maximum broiler performance.
Discussion on coccidiosis
The absorption of many nutrients is performed actively, often through complex mechanisms. An important point to note is that a healthy intestine has the ability to make selection absorption, i.e. nutrients and water, and not bacteria and toxins. In contrast, a diseased intestine is impaired in its absorption of nutrients, while allowing in bacteria and toxins. The intestine has been reported to be responsible for 80% of bird immunity.
Anticoccidials are given in the feed to prevent disease and the economic loss associated with subacute infection. Therapeutic treatments are usually given by water because of the logistical restraints of feed administration.
Antibiotics and increased levels of vitamins A and K are sometimes used in the ration to improve rate of recovery and prevent secondary infection.
All phases of the development of chickens are important and present different challenges. The initial and the final phase deserve attention: the initial phase is a delicate moment because of poor thermal regulation and immunity; the final phase is the time when mortality is unacceptable. Stress factors have a direct impact mainly on intestinal quality and consequently on production and economic parameters. Between 18 to 28 days is a phase transition that is often neglected but is critical to ensure good results in feed conversion.
To help producers cope with these challenges, SANPHAR, a division of the ERBER Group, has developed a powerful effervescent vitamin formula, Celtz® EF Plus. It is easy to handle and transport and do not form a biofilm. This prevents possible contamination in the water system and clogging in the water cooler which would restrict water consumption, preserves water facilities, and has minimal impact on the cleaning routine of equipment. Celtz EF Plus is particularly important for the utilization of other nutrients and maintenance of immune efficiency. It also makes the most of the animal's genetic potential. Importantly, Celtz EF Plus is helpful in situations which lead to reduced consumption such as housing stress, post-beak trimming, heat stress, vaccine reaction, mycotoxin poisoning, and disease.
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Article made possible through the contribution of Marina Moreno, MSc., PhD, Marketing and R&D, SANPHAR