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Animal Health

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Animal Health
Friday, October 13, 2017 12:11:32 PM
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How to improve feed efficiency, especially during challenging periods?
G Rocaboy, poultry department, CCPA Group

Optimizing feed efficiency is crucial to maintain farm profitability, especially nowadays in a very volatile market. Several reasons can affect feed efficiency and some of them are caused by oxidative stress and/or inflammation (Costantini and Møller, 2009): Sanitary pressure, vaccinations, feed transitions, weather conditions (high temperatures, humidity), transport, human manipulations, environmental changes…

Under oxidative stress and inflammation, 30% of the performance drop is explained by the catabolism and feed conversion needed to manage inflammation, and 70% of the performance drop is explained by a lower feed intake (Journal Of Pathology, Vol. 181: 257–266, 1997).

Examples of heat stress

Heat stress is a factor that may cause a drop of feed intake and may deteriorate feed conversion rate. Quinteiro-Filho in 2008 and 2010 showed that a 31°C temperature applied for 10 hours on 35-42 days old chicken leads to:

-          -25% WDG

-          +3% FCR

-          -20% feed intake

-          +26% mortality

Other studies showed also a high impact of heat stress on performances:

For laying hens, many studies show that egg weight is impacted from 23°C (-0.4% between 23°C and 27°C ; -0.8% >27°C), Feed Conversion Ratio is deteriorated from 28°C and laying rate drops from 30°C.

In order to evaluate the risk level of heat stress in farms, CCPA GROUP has developed for the poultry producers a heat stress application for smartphones (Iphone and Android) entitled: ThermoTool™, which can be downloaded for free on Apple Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id981585161  and Google Play:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mobizel.thermotool. Thanks to this application, breeders can anticipate heat stress over 5 days and quickly adapt, if necessary, the management of their farm and the animal nutrition.


A global Nutrition and health approach

Due to the wide variety of stressing conditions, it is very difficult to solve it with a unique and single mode of action. And, among the possible options, nutrition can play an important role.

Indeed, reducing the acute inflammatory response and oxidative damage during stressing periods is necessary to improve egg production as well as growth.

The R&D of CCPA GROUP selected a specific plant extract, which clearly demonstrates in vitro and in vivo anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (International patent pending). Axion Feedstim is a phytogenic feed additive combining this concentrated extract and selected vitamins, trace elements and other synergistic plant extracts. Incorporated into complete feed, Axion Feedstim is developed to act at different levels:

 1)  Its active substances have the ability to reduce cytokine production (especially TNFα and Il-1) and to modulate the level of inflammation. This modulation contributes to reduce protein muscle catabolism, to promote body temperature regulation and feed intake.


Axion feedstim action on cytokines modulation (in green)



 2)  Axion Feedstim can also capture and reduce the level of free radicals, causing oxidative stress. Indeed, it boosts the macrophage anti-oxidant capacity by inducing a specific expression of its genome (via intra-cellular superoxyde dismutase) (Y. Zhang et al., 2012; Leonardo & Doré, 2011; Moskaug, Carlsen, Myhrstad, & Blomhoff, 2005; Z. Zhang, Cui, Li, & Yuan, 2012).


Trial Results for layers and broilers

Trial 1: Experimental trial on laying hens (France, 2013)

In the protocol, 72 laying hens (30 weeks old) were divided into 3 groups: Negative control group, positive control group (with 400ppm of oxytetracycline - OTC) and Axion Feedstim group (2Kg/T of complete feed).

Laying hens were put under the same conditions during 3 weeks, and then were submitted to a heat stress: 35°C, 24H/day, during 4 days. After this period, normal conditions were restored during 4 weeks.

The parameters measured were: feed intake, laying rate and feed conversion ratio.

                                                                                                                                     p-value < 0.05

Feed intake during heat stress is significantly higher with Axion Feedstim than OTC and Control groups (+5g/day and +7g/day respectively). Axion Feedstim has a better positive effect on feed intake many days after heat stress: +10g/day than in the control group, 3 days after heat stress and +2g/day than in the control group, 7 days after heat stress.

                                                                                                                                   p-value < 0.05

Laying rate with Axion Feedstim is significantly higher, especially during heat stress than in the control group. And, results between OTC and Axion Feedstim groups tend to be equals.

                                                                                                                                      p-value < 0.05

Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) is significantly lower with Axion Feedstim during and after heat stress than in the control group. FCRs with Axion Feedstim and OTC groups are similar.

Overall, Axion Feedstim allows a better feed efficiency and a better nutrient gut valorization.


Trial 2: Field trial on broilers (Czech Republic, 2015)

In the protocol, there were 1.2 million broilers in the control group (34 batches) with classic feed versus 2 million animals for the Trial group (60 batches) with classic feed and Axion Feedstim at 0.2% into complete feed.

Trials were made under hot conditions (summer, >30°C).The parameters measured were: weight, feed conversion ratio and mortality.

Results are described in the table below:

All criteria are improved with Axion Feedstim.

Slaughter age is significantly reduced with the Axion Feedstim addition by almost 1 day. FCR is significantly reduced by 3% for trial group.  Performance Index is significantly better for trial group: 339 versus 321 for the control group.

To sum up, Axion Feedstim nutritional approach - via its selected plant extracts - operates at different levels of the inflammatory process and enables to maximize feed intake, leading to a better feed conversion ratio and animal comfort. In a market more and more receptive to money savings, animal welfare and the respect of environment, CCPA Group's new approach is definitely an interesting way to improve breeding profitability, for both layers and broilers.



For more of the article, please click here.

Article made possible through the contribution of G Rocaboy and CCPA Group

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