Poultry, like all animals, require certain essential minerals in the diet in order to thrive. As the average poultry diet may not deliver ideal levels of these minerals, feed supplements containing various essential minerals can be used to try to maximise poultry health and growth. The article below focuses on trace minerals (those required in minute quantities) and their function in poultry health. It goes on to detail factors that affect how well different trace mineral forms and combinations seem to work.
Minerals play a crucial role in the birds' growth and performance. Different minerals are required for the formation of the skeleton, as components of various compounds with particular functions within the body, as cofactors of enzymes, and for the maintenance of osmotic balance within the body of the bird.
In fact, plant and animal tissues contain more than 50 minerals, with around 25 of these minerals listed as 'essential' for animals.
For poultry, inorganic compounds are usually used as sources of trace minerals in the diet. Inorganic sources include salts such as sulfates, chlorides, carbonates, and oxides. The sulfate and chloride mineral forms are more available than the carbonates and oxides.
During recent years, organic chelates of trace minerals have become available for supplementation in poultry diets. A trace mineral chelate is defined as a trace mineral with ligands to amino acids or proteins.
A number of companies have patented organic trace mineral products. These have been classified by the American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO, 1997) into different classes of chelated minerals.
Research has indicated that these organic sources are more bioavailable than their inorganic counterparts due to the following reasons:
Numerous studies have reported beneficial effects of chelated organic trace mineral supplementation on bird health and production parameters as well as product quality.
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Article made possible through the contribution of Vetcare.