Michael Edmonds, Vice President, Swine and Poultry Nutrition
Our broiler/poultry research effort for the last two years has been to identify and evaluate functional natural compounds that improve performance and economics. Our objective was focused on developing “a NutriVantage® Technology formulation” for poultry much like we have done in swine.
So what is NutriVantage® Technology for poultry (broilers, layers, turkeys, game birds)? It is a mixture of a specific organic acid along with proprietary natural chelating agents. This composition can promote both a healthier gut environment, along with providing immune system support. In addition, the use of NutriVantage® Technology can aid in improving nutrient availability along with helping in combating stress. This report will cover the research conducted with chicks at the Kent Nutrition Group Product Development Center during the summer of 2008.
Two trials were conducted with NutriVantage® Technology in Ross 708 male chicks. Trial 1 was started on April 29 and finished on June 12 (referred to as the “May” trial), whereas the “July” trial (Trial 2) was initiated on June 24 with the birds weighed off test on August 8. There were 240 chicks used in both trials in which 120 chicks were on the control diets with the other 120 chicks being on the control diets with NutriVantage® Technology. The control diets consisted Chick-Go® 20 Medicated (Product 3313) for two weeks followed by a grind-and-mix program consisting of 1190 lb of corn along with 700 lb of 36 GM® Poultry Base (Product 3373) and 110 lb of soybean meal (47.5% Crude Protein) to make a ton of complete feed that contained 20% crude protein. The chicks were fed ad lib with plenty of fresh water available at all times. The floor pens were bedded with wood shavings and heat lamps were used in Trial 1 for about two weeks and Trial 2 for about one week. We had 6 pens of 20 chicks used with each treatment for both trials, which simulated roughly 1.1 square feet per bird. In Trial 2, we also cleaned out about 75% of the waste and bedding from Trial 1 so the pens were “partially dirty” to simulate a condition with a bacterial load to further challenge the chicks.
The results from Trial 1 (conducted primarily in “May”) are shown in Table 1. During Days 0-14, weight gains and feed efficiencies were similar between both treatments. We did observe, however, slight advantages in gain and feed/gain for Days 14-44 and Days 0-44 for the birds fed the diets with NutriVantage® Technology compared to those not fed this technology. Overall (Days 0-44), the economics slightly favored the birds fed the diets with NutriVantage® Technology as opposed to not having this technology in their diets. In regard to death loss, there were 10 dead chicks on NutriVantage® Technology compared to five dead chicks without this technology during Days 0-2. Many of these chicks are simply unthrifty during the first day and are lost. During Days 2-14, there were five that died on the control diets with only one that died on the control diet supplemented with NutriVantage® Technology.
The data from Trial 2 (conducted primarily in “July”) are shown in Table 2. A significant response in gain occurred during Days 0-14 in which chicks on the NutriVantage® Technology treatment gained 4.3% faster than those without this technology, whereas feed/gain was numerically improved by 1.6% (1.3263 vs. 1.3476). During Days 14-45, gain and feed efficiency were both significantly improved in birds on the NutriVantage® Technology treatments compared to those without. Moreover, cost/lb of gain was reduced from 36.34 to 34.84 cents with the added technology. Overall (Days 0-45), gain and feed/gain were markedly improved by 6.3 and 4.3%, respectively from the diets with NutriVantage® Technology as opposed to those chicks not receiving this technology in their diets. Economics also favored the treatment with NutriVantage® Technology with cost/lb of gain being lower (34.59 vs. 36.07) and net return (value of gain minus cost of gain) being significantly greater by 24 cents per bird!
The death loss data are also shown in Table 2. During Days 2-14 and Days 14-41, there were five chicks that died on the control treatments compared to none on the control diets with NutriVantage® Technology. On August 4, 2008 we had a very intense heat stress imposed on our birds in which the Heat Index was 124.5 (temperature of 97°F with a Humidity of 65%) at the airport in Muscatine, Iowa. It should be noted that, according to one Meteorologist in our area, that the readings from the Muscatine Airport tend to read higher than surrounding sites. For example, in Moline, Illinois, that same day the Heat Index was 106.1 (temperature of 91°F and humidity of 66%), which is still very, very hot! Regardless, we discovered the next day (morning of August 5, 2008) that there were 57 dead chickens on the control diets with only 24 dead chickens on the control diets with NutriVantage® Technology! This resulted in a reduction in death loss of 58% from having the birds on NutriVantage® Technology compared to not using this technology.
The results of combining both the “May” and “July” trials are shown in Table 3. We observed a significant improvement in overall gain (3.7%) for the birds fed the diets with NutriVantage® Technology compared to those not having it in their diets. In addition, the net return value per chick was numerically improved by 13 cents per bird with the added technology.
The results from Trial 1 (“May” trial) showed that chick performance was slightly improved by the incorporation of NutriVantage® Technology into Chick-Go® 20 and the grind-and-mix program involving 36 GM® Poultry Base.
This slight improvement in performance was enough to pay for the added technology. In Trial 2 (“July” trial) we had marked improvements in performance (gain, feed efficiency), along with much lower cost/lb of gains and greater net returns from the supplementation of NutriVantage® Technology into our poultry programs. In Trial 2, the pens were not as clean and heat stress was a major factor. What was remarkable in Trial 2 was the fact that when we had a very intense heat wave on August 4, 2008, there was a significant reduction in death loss of 58% in the chicks fed the control diet with NutriVantage® Technology compared to chicks on diets without this proprietary technology!
Based on these extensive trials at the Product Development Center (PDC), we have incorporated NutriVantage® Technology into all of our poultry programs, which include broilers, layers, turkeys and game birds. This proprietary technology involves the use of natural compounds that have been evaluated in our broiler facilities at the Product Development Center for the last two years.