Improved intestinal health leads to enhanced performance

The importance of intestinal health

The first parameter that we are normally interested in when we are rearing animals is their live performance: this is the easiest way to have a return on investment (R.O.I.). Anyway, the improvement of animal health and management are useful as well to reduce the rearing costs (and even to achieve better production and growth). To improve animal health, one of the most important organs to look at is the intestine. It is deputed to absorb the ingested dietary nutrients and it harbors in its lumen a huge amount of different microbial species, the intestinal microflora. Among these microorganisms, some species can become harmful for the animal, especially during stressful periods. E. coli is a typical example: it is normally part of the intestinal microflora but it can proliferate in an uncontrolled way in particular conditions. The intestinal mucosa is the first defense of the organism against intestinal pathogens and dysmicrobisms. A healthy mucosa avoids the passage of microbes and toxins from the lumen to the bloodstream, preventing endotoxemia and systemic infections. At the same time, a healthy intestinal mucosa allows the maximization of the use of all the ingested nutrients for the best performance of the animal.

What feed additives can do?

There are many feed additives normally included in the standard diets of poultry and some of them address intestinal health. An example is the combined use of organic acids and nature identical compounds. These molecules demonstrated a synergistic activity both against pathogens and as anti-inflammatory agents. The only problem is that they are both fastly degraded in the stomach so that their free form cannot reach the intestine, where their activity is needed. Microencapsulation overcomes this issue: AviPlus® is a combination of citric and sorbic acid, thymol, and vanillin, protected into a vegetable lipid matrix. Vetagro microencapsulation technology allows the protection of the active ingredients through the stomach and their simultaneous slow release along the whole intestinal tract. This ensures their synergistic effect in terms of microflora modulation and reduction of the mucosa inflammation. The result is a healthier intestine with a consequent improvement of the animal live performance.

Some example of the efficacy

During the last years, Vetagro conducted many in-field trials worldwide. In Italy, we administered AviPlus®P to broiler chickens for 45 days and we compared their performance to a control group, fed standard diet. During this period the FCR of the treated group was significantly improved (-4 points). A similar experiment was conducted on a US broiler farm for 42 days. In this case, the animals were subjected to a necrotic enteritis mild challenge. Even in this case, the FCR of the treated group improved (-6 points in the overall period) as well as the animal body weight (+52 g compared to the control). Three different farms were tested in Poland, where the broilers were fed AviPlus®P or the standard diet (controls) for 40 days. In these cases, the FCR of the treated animals improved by 7 to 9 points. The same experimentation in the Slovak Republic leads to an FCR improvement of up to 11 points. In China, AviPlus®P improved the FCR by 2 points, while the same dietary supplementation with the feed additive, in combination with AGP, gave even better results (6 points compared to the control) during the 41 days of the trials.

What’s the conclusion?

For sure, the improvement of animal live performance is related to several factors, such as animal management. Nutrition is one of the most important tools we have to increase our R.O.I. in animal rearing. Feed additives are commonly used to balance the nutrient intake to meet animal requirements, but some of them can be useful even to improve animal intestinal health and performance. AviPlus® is part of these feed additives and it has been demonstrated to be effective in improving animal life performance in different geographic areas all over the world. This is proof that, even with different management, rearing, and dietary conditions, the right feed additive can make a difference!For more information: