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Animal Health

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Livestock Production
Tuesday, September 11, 2007 10:16:18 AM
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Selenium yeast in poultry production
Ghislaine Roch



Ghislaine Roch, independent feed nutritionist in Canada and author of this article, has been working on antioxidants in animal production for over 10 years.


Roch runs a poultry research farm in Canada, where she has conducted several studies on Alkosel R397 compared with inorganic selenium, describing positive effects of the organic selenium source on:

    • Performance (average weight gain and feed conversion ratio are improved)
    • Skin elasticity and feathering (cellulitis prevention)

She also reported additional evidences that selenium yeast supplementation in broiler breeders and in layers improves hatchability, egg quality (colour) and antioxidative properties: selenium content, vitamin E content and GSH-Px (glutathione peroxidase) enzymatic activity are increased.


A trial was performed on 672 broilers, in three groups, from day zero to slaughter (5 weeks).


Results showed Alkosel R397 improved overall average daily weight gain when compared with selenite. This effect was statistically significant in the last week of the trial (106.6 grams versus 99.6 grams). Overall feed conversion rate and slaughter weight were also significantly improved with Alkosel R397, compared with inorganic selenium, offering the producer a good return on investment.


In another study (Venne, 2003), broiler breeders were supplemented with selenite or Alkosel R397 between weeks 20 and 35, and antibodies against several diseases were measured in the broilers.


It appears that for two of the pathogens tested, infectious Bursal disease and Reovirus, Alkosel R397 supplementation allowed a better maternal immunity transfer with a 20 to 25 percent increase in the antibody titer, offering better protection to the chicks and increased liveability for the first 10 days, according to Roch.


A four-month fertility study was performed in Portugal during 2004 on 520 cockerels. When compared with selenite, Alkosel R397 improved males' fertility, with an increase of 4.2 percent in the number of saleable chicks.


Roch reported that Alkosel R397 supplementation in layer hens increases egg selenium content, compared with equivalent doses of selenite, due to the higher bioavailability of organic selenium. In a trial performed in 2003, Roch obtained a 92 percent increase in egg selenium content with Alkosel R397.


It has recently been demonstrated that there is a linear correlation between the amount of selenium yeast in the diet and the egg selenium content.


Roch described a trial in broilers with a high dose of selenium yeast (5 ppm), showing significantly improved performance (FCR and slaughter weight), and a significant increase of the animals' blood, liver and muscle selenium content. She insisted that an equivalent dose of selenium in its mineral form would be highly toxic; hence the lack of toxicity of high selenium yeast dosage is another important argument in favour of selenium yeast.


Roch concluded that selenium yeast was the most bioavailable, less toxic source of selenium to be used in poultry diets. She also concluded that it contributes to improved growth performance in commercial conditions and appears to reduce the impact of stress in commercial farming, lowering mortality rates and improving flock uniformity.


For more of the article, please click here.


Article made possible through the contribution of Lallemand Animal Nutrition.

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