Create a free Feed Strategy account to continue reading

Should we remove additives for broilers marketed at 35 days?

Even if we get a 2% to 3% boost in performance by adding this or that additive, the cost may be relatively higher than the benefit.

Broiler Chicken Eating
Iaroslav Konnikov |

With modern broilers marketed at 35 days of age, does it still make sense to feed them additives? This is a question from one of my contacts in Israel not long ago.

Here’s the thinking behind this question: Broilers have a short digestive system and food passes through it very rapidly. A good quality cereal/soy-based diet with macro- and micro-minerals and vitamins is the basis of their nutrition. Even if we get a 2% to 3% boost in performance by adding this or that additive, the cost is relatively higher than the benefit. Is it true?

Yes, in many cases that I have examined, when the growing period is very short, the benefits of adding most – but not all – additives do not justify their expenses. I say most, because I would not feed a broiler diet in Israel or any other hot place without an antioxidant. That would be counterproductive unless feed manufacturing and feeding happened within a couple of days. There are some other additives (mostly technical) that I would consider indispensable, but these do not have to do with boosting performance, but rather preventing problems from happening.

Of course, there is the opposite school of thought, which is also partially correct. As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle. It says that it is the first week post-hatch that such growth performance-boosting additives should be used, even if broilers are marketed at very young ages.

Here is an example: Assuming there is a probiotic that works, it makes most sense to have it introduced and established in the first week post-hatch, and then remove it for cost savings. Perhaps one week is not enough to establish it in a hostile gut system, but that is beyond the scope of this discussion.

In the end, marketing fast-growing broilers, raised in a healthy environment, at a very young age has created some questions about the practice of loading their feeds with all the additives that circulate in the market. I would welcome suppliers to provide such answers, hopefully with research trials where they can prove it is worth the money to continue using their products.

Page 1 of 37
Next Page