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Do modern broilers need feed additives?

We are in for some new trials with broilers where we will evaluate a modern, single and low-cost premix for vitamins and trace minerals.

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Stay tuned for results from new trials with broilers that evaluate a modern, single and low-cost premix for vitamins and trace minerals.

Ξ™ recently had a long discussion with a group of broiler growers. In short, their position was that broilers do not need any feed additives simply because they do not benefit from them.

What?

Well, modern broilers marketed at 35 days of age do not have the time to benefit from any additives and, as such, these producers had simplified their formulations. Now, I am one who has always advocated simple (but never simplistic) formulas, but at the same time, I am also a case-by-case consultant. Simply, I am not following the all-in or all-out when it comes to nutrition; in animal management, this is another story.

I asked them if they use phytase, because phytase is indeed an additive. They all did use phytase, but their excuse was that phytase enters alone in the formulation through the matrix nutrient values (brilliant work on the phytase manufacturers). But, when it comes to other additives (here I use an irrelevant example), say a probiotic, they all said no. I have written in the past about the need to establish a positive beneficial microflora the first week post-hatch, but it appears the flimsy margins of broiler production has resulted in simplistic feeds.

Then, it is the world affairs, the prices, the inflation and, in general the high cost of production, low demand, and low prices – all pointing to low profits or, in fact, to much lower profits. So, it is hard to argue against their down-to-earth approach.

What about vitamins and trace minerals? That was my next question. There I caught them unaware because these are additives, too. They all use them – and at high levels, as it turns out. When I questioned this practice, a very fruitful conversation ensued. Some were convinced, some were adamant, but change takes time and, above all, testimonials. So, we are in for some new trials with broilers where we will evaluate a modern, single and low-cost premix for vitamins and trace minerals. This will reduce logistics in terms of products used (one product for all ages), and cost, as the most sensitive and most essential nutrients for the age in question are emphasized. Results anon!

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