The Role of Feed Efficiency in Gut Health


Something all poultry businesses have in common is that feed costs represent the biggest portion of production expenses. Integrators therefore spend a large part of their time looking at ways to cut dollars and cents out of their feed costs. In fact, the average million birds per week complex will save an estimated $313,500 per year by reducing feed costs by just $1 per ton. What many don’t know is that a lot of the wasted money is the result of undigested feed.

Many studies have found a direct relationship between feed efficiency (FE), and overall poultry health, performance, uniformity and quality. This is because FE impacts the microbial balance in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of poultry. Proper FE has been shown to reduce the amount of undigested energy available to pathogenic bacteria in the lower gut. Further, enzymes that help break down indigestible feedstuffs have also been shown to have a prebiotic effect by producing oligosaccharides in the upper part of the GIT. Collectively these two health benefits can potentially save integrators money by improving the health and performance of their flocks.

The Agristats® report for March 2015 reveals how even minor performance changes can have a major impact in poultry operations:

(Applicable to a 1 million birds per week complex)

  1. Parent Breeding:
    • Change of 1% in rate of lay represents $173,000/year
    • Change of 1 chick produced/hen/year represents $265,000/year
  2. Hatching:
    • Change of 1% in hatchability represents $33,000/year
    • Change of 1 cent/chick cost represents $543,000/year
  3. Broiler Growing:
    • Change of 1% in mortality represents $241,000/year
    • Change of 0.25% in condemnation represents $267,000/year

Getting the most from your feed

Alltech® True Check is an example of an in vitro digestion system developed to evaluate diets and impacts of feed technology in monogastric animals. Utilizing samples of feed, Alltech True Check mimics the real-life conditions of the animal’s digestive system.

Alltech True Check has the ability to screen diets or individual feed components with and without feed technologies more rapidly and economically than costly animal trials.  After digestion is simulated, nutrient availability and digestibility values are obtained that can help integrators see potential cost savings. Ask your Alltech representative about True Check and unlock the hidden potential in your poultry feed.

“True Check is a game changer since it allows us to graphically show our clients how effective their feed is at releasing digestible nutrients,” said Paulo Rigolin, Alltech poultry director.