Poultry producers have been cautious in the application of probiotics, due to mixed experiences of their effectiveness and lack of knowledge regarding the scientific basis for their modes of action. Prebiotics have been more readily accepted because they can be added without any significant change to traditional practices. Recent research has increased our knowledge of the effects of both types of treatment, their possible modes of action, and the strengths and limitations of their use. We are beginning to understand why some products may give variable outcomes and what may be done to further validate the performance of existing products and develop a new generation of more reliable and effective probiotics and prebiotics.
Paul A. Iji, Mehdi Toghyani, Emmanuel U. Ahiwe, Apeh A. Omede
Soya bean and canola meal are the conventional ingredients used to provide protein in poultry feed. However, they are relatively expensive and must be imported to many poultry-producing areas. Developing alternative protein sources for poultry nutrition will reduce the pressure on these key protein sources, as well as promote the development and sustainability of the poultry industry. In this chapter, we first review the supply of conventional protein sources for poultry, and then consider the range of alternative protein sources that might be developed, including grain by-products, oil seed and fruit by-products, pulses, algae, duckweed and certain animal protein sources. We consider how birds respond to diets containing alternative protein sources, and provide recommendations for improving the nutritive value of these alternative sources.
Feed is one of the most significant costs involved in animal production, and feed efficiency is therefore a very important genetic trait in animal agriculture. In poultry, a clear link between breast muscle mitochondrial function and feed efficiency has been reported. This chapter provides an overview of the mitochondrial processes which occur in muscle cells, presents the evidence that enhanced mitochondrial functions lead to high feed efficiency, and then considers the role of enhanced nucleotide metabolism and muscle cytoarchitecture in the feed efficiency of broilers.
In plant seeds, the primary storage form of phosphorus (P) is phytic acid (InsP6), which is usually present in salt form (phytate). Utilization of P from InsP6 and lower forms of InsPx by animals requires stepwise cleavage of P from the inositol ring by phytases. In broiler chickens, the potential to utilize InsP6-P is very high. However, degradation of InsP6 in the gastrointestinal tract is variable and affected by supplements of calcium, P, and other dietary factors. Fine adjustment of feed ingredients and supplements of P, calcium, and phytase are crucial for practical feed formulation to be sustainable through high utilization of InsP6-P and low inclusion of feed phosphates. The potential of turkeys to utilize InsP6-P is lower compared to broiler chickens.
Systematic evaluation of each stage of the feed manufacturing has the potential to identify opportunities for improvement in manufacturing efficiency and reduced nutrient variation in finished feed, ultimately resulting in lower cost sustainable poultry production. This chapter examines the role of automation technology in composing and delivering feed, and addresses the issues of batching, mixing and pelleting feed as well as means of assessing feed quality. The chapter suggests some future developments in the use of technology in poultry nutrition and directs the reader to further reading in this area.
Natural and artificial contaminants in poultry feed may result in deteriorated feed quality, reduced performance and increased incidence of disease in poultry, ultimately leading to a significant economic loss for producers. Moreover, since poultry are raised to produce meat and eggs for human consumption, contaminants in poultry feed may also pose risks to human health. This chapter focuses on those contaminants considered to pose the most significant risk to poultry and human health: mycotoxins, dioxins and bacterial pathogens. Each section will discuss the negative effects of these factors as well as possible control measures that may be implemented to reduce feed contamination and secure feed and food safety.
Hen nutrition must address a number of different goals, including maximizing egg production, maintaining egg quality, extending the laying cycle and ensuring hen health and welfare. This chapter focuses on the role of nutrition in optimizing energy intake, egg size and egg weight. It reviews the different nutritional requirements hens have in their pre-laying and laying phases; discusses how feed consumption can be controlled; and then reviews the effects of energy concentration, dietary lipids, dietary proteins and amino acids on egg weight. It also offers a discussion of how the inclusion of cereals and alternative protein sources in the diet can affect egg characteristics.
Feed and water efficiency are two vital economic and agricultural traits. Selection for phenotypic feed efficiency has tremendously improved livestock productivity over the past 50 years. However, there have been a number of undesirable changes in the regulation of energy homeostasis and probably water balance associated with this success. Feed and water efficiency encompasses complex mechanisms regulating feed and water intake, energy expenditure, water retention and excretion, and intermediary metabolism related to nutrient and water utilization and partition. Knowledge of these should be used to guide more effective selection. This chapter focuses first on feed intake regulation, offering a review of current understanding of both central feed intake regulation and peripheral and hormonal regulation. It then turns to the issue of the regulation of water homeostasis. It aims to facilitate further progress by asking new questions which may help in developing mechanisms-based strategies to improve both feed and water efficiency.
Dietary amino acids are central to optimizing growth performance, meat yield, and egg production of poultry. This chapter addresses amino acid digestibility coefficients for feed ingredients, digestible amino acid requirements of poultry based on production efficiency, and the role of supplementation of crystalline amino acids on nitrogen balance and ammonia output of poultry. In addition, knowledge gaps in the scientific literature related to amino acid responses of poultry will be discussed.
This chapter reviews the current status of research on feed enzymes with an emphasis on identifying the key challenges researchers face in terms of current trends in enzyme development, mechanism(s) of action and enzyme efficacy. It also addresses new research directions and the development of consensus protocol and/or research approaches to prevent potential duplication of effort and to aid coordinated research and collaboration. Sections cover the key drawbacks and opportunities in the application of phytase, non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) and NSP enzymes, β-mannanase, supplemental α-amylase and protease, with a focus on achieving effective use of feed ingredients and more sustainable production of poultry meat.
The poultry industry has witnessed remarkable advancements in recent years. This chapter provides a discussion of the advances and future directions in the poultry feeding. Advancements include defining nutrient requirements, composition and ingredient quality, better feed formulation and the advent of additives. It also discusses the developments in feed processing and phase feeding. Future directions include sustainability, ingredient quality, antibiotic-free nutrition, crystalline and synthetic amino acids, feed enzymes, chick nutrition and growth models. Optimal feed processing and the related hygiene practices are discussed briefly. The chapter then discusses future trends in poultry feeding. The chapter concludes with a section dedicated to further information on these topics, in order for the readers to expand their knowledge.
Hen nutrition must address a number of different goals including maximising egg production, maintaining egg quality, extending the laying cycle and ensuring hen health and welfare. This chapter focuses on the dietary influences on eggshell quality and bone health. It looks first at the role of phosphorus and calcium in the diet. It then goes on to review other nutritional factors such as fatty acids, vitamins, magnesium and trace elements. After a review of dietary influences on egg yolk coloration, the chapter concludes by discussing the ways nutrition can promote hen health in such areas as the prevention of hepatic steatosis, osteoporosis, keel bone disorders and feather picking.
Today’s commercial poultry production is about making decisions and implementing them, the main objective being to maximize profit for the enterprise. Alternative courses of action should be thought of and the consequences of these actions need to be predicted. Animal nutritionists face various problems when formulating feeds for poultry. Advances in simulation modelling have made it possible to look into all aspects of production when formulating feeds for animals. This chapter deals with these issues and looks at the use of simulation models to optimize poultry production. The goal of nutritionists and modellers is to predict the responses of the poultry to nutrients. This chapter looks into this issue. The chapter also describes the methods used to predict the potential laying performance of hens and the environmental factors that affect the desired feed intake. Finally, this chapter also explains how models can be used to optimize feeding programmes.