The production cycle of broilers has been reduced to such an extent that the starter phase represents more than a quarter of the cycle, so poor feeding at this time can have a significant negative impact on the final weight of birds.
In this context, Australian animal scientists, Professor Bob Swick and Professor Paul Iji, based at the University of New England in New South Wales, set about trying to identify ingredients that would improve the growth of broiler chicks, post-hatch.
The results of their study indicated that spray dried porcine plasma (SDPP) improved feed costs per unit weight gain, and could be fed in wheat or maize-based diets during the starter period.
Iji told FeedNavigator: “Our interest in using SDPP for poultry stemmed from the long-held view that neonatal chicks have an undeveloped digestive system, and as such benefit from pre-starter diets that contain more highly digestible ingredients, particularly protein.”
Swick and Iji conducted four experiments to identify suitable supplements for starter diets for broilers.
An animal protein supplement, SDPP, and a fermented soy concentrate (HPA) were investigated.
The fourth experiment, said the research team, examined the potential of a complex dietary formulation that would enable the chicks to derive complementary benefits from SDPP and Soycomil (SPC), a food grade soy protein concentrate (non-fermented) and 10% additional digestible amino acids.
In all experiments, the diets containing the supplements were fed for 10 days, after which the chicks were transferred to regular grower and finisher diets. The researchers said the trials one through to three had no in feed antibiotic added, whereas experiment four used a commercial dose of zinc bacitracin.
Results demonstrated that SDPP improved both weight gain and FCR during the starter, grower and finisher periods. Notably, it could also be fed over five days rather than 10 days with similar outcomes, thereby reducing cost, said the team.
HPA improved weight gain and FCR but was only marginally effective in wheat-based diets compared to maize-based diets, said the professors.
Additional digestible amino acids improved performance in the fourth experiment but SDPP or SPC did not have a positive impact on performance. “The fact that soy protein as HPA improved growth while SPC did not may be related to the fermentation residues present in HPA. It would be of interest to compare both sources in a single study,” said the University of New England researchers.
“What is still missing is a large-scale test on litter to confirm the results we did using cages before we can recommend our findings to industry,” added Iji.
Infection transmission concerns
SDPP has a long history of use in the pig industry, particularly in North America. However, there has been a serious debate in the US pig sector over the past 12 months over whether porcine feed ingredients are a vector for the PED virus.
“I am not a veterinarian but I know that species tend to be more affected by infectious organisms coming from their own kind. I am not aware of any reports of development of disease in poultry due to use of porcine plasma but, then, there are not many producers using the product, as far as I am aware,” said Professor Iji.
The researcher said the benefits of SDPP for the broiler industry could be significant, particularly given the fact that the cost of the product is likely to reduce dramatically as the pig industry continues its migration away from the feed ingredient.
Source: Poultry CRC Australia