PoultryStar Hatchery takes probiotic strains that have evolved in the guts of poultry to deliver it to hatchlings during the most critical time of their development. Biomin claims the latest addition to the PoultryStar suite of products can promote good gut health and reduce mortality.
“The beauty of PoultryStar Hatchery is that it’s a gel. The chicks technically have a shower but it’s like dropping balls of gelatin dye on them,” said Neil Gannon, Biomin’s regional product manager for Asia.
Probiotics applied using water spray can soak the feathers of hatchlings, causing them stress. With the gel application, however, chicks’ instinctive preening means that intact droplets are preened off their down within seconds, and probiotic strains are quickly delivered to the gastrointestinal tract.
“The dye glistens like a pearl so under the lighting conditions at a hatchery. Birds are naturally attracted by glistening things and they will want to consume it,” Gannon added.
Between leaving the hatchery and arriving at the farm, chicks can potentially be exposed to a number of pathogens, with bad bacteria potentially colonizing the gut. But if they are given a probiotic in a form that the animals can eat, they will already have “foundation bacteria” that out-competes bad bacterial threats.
That way, good gut health can established right from the start, Gannon claims. “We then have to follow that up with the strategic application of Sol and the ME in the rest of the feed,” he said, referring to other products in the PoultryStar range.
“What we see in this first week is the bird grows much healthier, you reduce their reliance on antibiotics.”
Probiotics isolated from the gut
The probiotics used have been isolated from chicken’s gut, meaning they are synergistic and will not provoke an immune response to deal with unknown compounds, as might be the case if they were bacillus-based.
An immune response chews up energy and amino acids at a time when birds need these in reserve, and can also cause gut leakage.
“With a probiotic you want it to live in the gut,” said Gannon. “If it’s evolved from a chicken, it will live happily in a chicken. Colonization is very important because as the villi grow, the bacteria get in close association with the developing cells, stimulating mucous production and enhancing the maturation of the villi.”
Biomin says there is no other application of a probiotic at this stage in the hatchery. It costs less than 0.3 US cents per bird. In return, customers should expect a reduction in mortality that first week of 30-4%, when used in combination with other PoultryStar products. They should also see improvements in growth rate and uniformity. The Austrian company claims a return on investment is in excess of 20:1.
“When chicks hatch, the mother hen will start to feed them. In the wild, the chicks get colonized by mum’s bacteria in the clutch where feed is mixed with her manure,” Gannon explained.
“In the modern hatchery environment, however, where there is no exposure to the mother’s bacteria, so the chicks are naive. This is what we are trying to do naturally—doing what mum was doing by feeding her chicks in the wild in a way that boosts their gut health.”