Modern animal production always constitutes a huge challenge for high-yielding animals. Disruptive influences such as heat, stress, critical hygiene and pathogens can never be completely eliminated, even with the best management. Therefore, successful production very much depends on taking these stressful conditions into serious consideration as a matter of principle. One approach to building animals’ resistance to all these disruptive factors and consequently achieving sustainable successful production is through feeding. This is because the key to resilience and resistance is the gut.
The important link between gut and brain
A gut microbiome that is out of balance, be it due to infection, feed change, external circumstances or other stressors, spells the beginning of a destructive vicious circle. Dysfunctions and inflammation in the gut trigger the nerve that links the digestive system to the brain. These in turn negatively affect the digestive system and disrupt the gut function. Infections due to Clostridia, Salmonella and E. coli, among others, are on the rise, require costly treatment and weaken the animals even more. Therefore, a high stress level can always disturb the digestive system. Breaking this vicious circle starts with supporting the gut.
For this purpose, the most promising candidates are phytogenic additives, such as Anta®Phyt. These use natural plant-based active ingredients to strengthen the digestive system, reduce infection and improve resilience, without antibiotics and the associated risk of resistance. A recent study presented at the 23rd European Symposium on Poultry Nutrition in Rimini demonstrates the beneficial effect of Anta®Phyt both on gut health and on performance. The results speak for themselves.
In this trial, 200 male broilers (Cobb500) were divided into two groups, each with 10 replicates from day 1 to day 42. The negative control group (NC) received a customary standard ration. The second group was additionally administered Anta®Phyt (200 g per tonne of feed) for the duration of the trial. The animals had free access to feed and fresh drinking water at all times during the trial. To add a further challenge, they were exposed to considerably higher daytime temperatures of 30–36°C from the third to the sixth week. In addition, soiled litter was used to simulate poor hygiene conditions.
Stress levels and carcase quality were evaluated and compared at the end of the trial among other parameters to determine the extent to which administrating Anta®Phyt affected the digestive system, health and performance of the animals. Various blood parameters can be used to scientifically determine stress in animals, including the stress hormone corticosterone and antioxidant enzymes catalase and glutathione peroxidase, which are responsible for protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals. The higher the values, the greater the animal’s physical struggle with stress.
On day 42 of the trial, physical indicators as well as appendix and blood samples of 10 birds per group were examined. The blood samples were tested for corticosterone, catalase and glutathione peroxidase, while the gut was examined to determine the proportion of pathogenic germs (Clostridium perfringens and Escherichia coli) present. Finally, the carcase yield of the Anta®Phyt group was compared with that of the NC.
The results show significant differences between the two groups. The Anta®Phyt in the feed significantly reduced the corticosterone in the blood, to the tune of 28.1 per cent (fig. 1). The values for radical scavengers catalase and glutathione peroxidase were reduced by no less than 51.3 and 47.5 per cent respectively compared to the NC (p < 0.05).
Fig. 1: Reduced stress parameters in the blood with Anta®Phyt MO
Anta®Phyt also significantly reduced the pathogen values: the level of Clostridium perfringens was 10.86 log cfu/g compared to 11.37 log cfu/g in the NC, while that of Escherichia coli was 11.45 log cfu/g compared to 11.88 log cfu/g in the NC (p ≤ 0.05, fig. 2). Both scores were reduced statistically in a significant range.
Fig. 2: Reduced pathogen values
Finally, the Anta®Phyt group also produced a significantly higher carcase yield. Here, for instance, an increase in leg yield (+ 1.6 %; p ≤ 0.05) was achieved (fig. 3).
Fig. 3: Significantly improved carcass yields
These results show that while challenges and stressful conditions in livestock production cannot be avoided, their detrimental effects on health and performance can. When administered daily as a part of the feed mix, Anta®Phyt helps farm animals to cope better with stress in every situation and contributes significantly to improving gut health, well-being and performance. Consequently, the phytogenic Anta®Phyt is a major component of any modern and sustainable feeding strategy.
How can you make the most of Anta®Phyt? We’d be pleased to help you.