A solution to increase footpad integrity… or how to boost your profit
8 September 2016
The efforts in animal health research worldwide are driven by industry needs but also by welfare concerns. With the aim to optimise productivity, new ways of solving ongoing animal production challenges are constantly introduced. An innovative solution to improve litter quality and reduce footpad lesions in broilers is a good example of these efforts.
A challenge in broiler production and a rising demand for quality products.
Footpad dermatitis is a condition characterized by necrotic lesions on the feet of growing broilers. This condition harms the business as much as the animal. It causes downgrades of saleable chicken paws while raising animal welfare concerns, especially in U.S and Europe. As a large export market in Asia is boosting chicken paw prices, the demand for flawless products is increasing.
Recent findings suggest that several interacting factors are involved in footpad lesions. Litter moisture seems to be the most likely kick-start of the problem. In order to address this issue, Trouw Nutrition set up a trial in China, aiming to improve both litter quality and foot pad integrity in broilers.
About the study
The study found that combining two feed additives was the best strategy to reduce litter moisture and footpad lesions. The in vivo study was performed with 900 Ross 308 broilers at the Animal Research Farm of Sichuan Agricultural University in China.
Three treatments were compared during the 42 days trial period. The control group received a standard diet. The other two groups got the same diet supplemented with either a combination of two different feed additives (Selko’s Presan-FY and Selko-pH) or an antibiotic growth promotor (colistine sulphate). Litter samples were taken on day 21 and day 42 from each group. Litter moisture and footpad integrity in feet were determined based on those samples.
The experiment showed the best results when using the Selko feed additives, thanks to the improved microbial balance in the gut. This was clearly reflected in better results for litter moisture, which impacted on footpad quality. Broilers fed feed additives presented up to 50% less foot pad lesions and 5% less litter moisture on day 21.
The products used in the trial
Two Selko additives were tested:
Selko-pH lowers and stabilises the pH of drinking water of animals. It supports digestion in the crop and stomach and maintains a healthy microbial balance in the proximal intestine. Presan-FY boosts the broilers’ gut barrier function and may maintain their microbiota. This integrated approach is a formula designed to raise profit by decreasing wet litter and improving footpad quality. It enhances the broilers’ technical performance and helps to maintain a healthy status of the animals.
Selko is the feed additives brand of Trouw Nutrition, a Nutreco company. Selko’s portfolio consists of natural feed additive solutions that add value to integrators, feed mills and farmers. Focus areas are Salmonella control, feed safety, gut health in antibiotic-free production systems and trace mineral nutrition solutions. Selko solutions are offered as a complete package consisting of products, know-how and services. The Selko brand encompasses blends of organic acids, organic minerals, betaine and mycotoxin binders. Trouw Nutrition’s global sales organisation commercialises the Selko feed additives brand.