Adding a yeast supplement to the early diet of young chickens helps boost the immune response, hence giving them a healthy start in life.
These latest results were presented at the 3rd IHSIG International Symposium on Poultry Gut Health held on 15– 16 October 2015 in Ghent, Belgium.
The trials, done at IRTA in Spain in early 2015, looked at the effects of supplementing the feed of chicks aged 0 to 10 days with a yeast extract*. “We measured the impact of this supplement on the height of intestinal villi, which has a direct effect on feed absorption, and on goblet cells, which help protect the intestinal wall. The results for both are very positive, showing a definite dose-dependent effect. The best results were obtained with 0.4% and 0.6% concentrations,” explains Dr Romain D’Inca from the company Phileo. According to D’Inca, this study confirms the benefits of supplementing feed with the yeast extract between 0 and 10 days in order to help batches get off to a good start and to improve farming success through suitable and controlled nutrition.
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In a follow-up webinar after the conference, the topic innate immunity was further discussed by Dr Mike Kogut from the USDA and veterinarian and consultant Maarten De Gussem from Belgium. Kogut: “Innate immunity is a mechanism that allows poultry to react to external aggressions such as stress or disease. It is a quick, non-specific reaction, a kind of first-line defence. However, this immunity can trigger ‘over-inflammation’, which can harm animal development.” Recent studies from Phileo have shown that supplementation with a yeast fraction**, from the earliest age (i.e. between 0 and 10 days) can ‘modulate’ the immune response, allowing farmers to reap only the benefits of innate immunity without impeding animal growth.
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“Chicks need to receive the vaccine very early on to protect them from stress, which can affect their growth,” said Maarten de Gussem. “Early vaccination will become even more necessary by 2020, when the rearing period will be reduced from 42 to just 35 days for chickens weighing over 2.5 kg.” Phileo has shown that early supplementation with the yeast fraction best prepares chicks for enjoying the full benefits of vaccination. “The components of this supplement react with the animal’s immune cells to activate the various immunity pathways. Experiments have shown that poultry supplemented from their first days of life with this product have higher antibody levels 10 to 15 days after vaccination than chicks that have not ingested the supplement. This form of vaccination management holds great promise, because it improves vaccine response and so ensures animals are in good health for more effective farming,” said Alain Riggi, poultry technical manager for Phileo. “We are also exploring another avenue of research in our laboratories, which involves purifying certain components of this product, such as beta-glucans, to improve the vaccine response.”
*Nucleosaf 600, **Safmannan