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6 minute read

Performance Trace Minerals Enhance Poultry Lifetime Performance®

Poultry Lifetime Performance logo.
Dr. Leonardo Linares

Global RNS Species Leader – Poultry
Zinpro Corporation

Click here to download this article as an infographic!

Supplementing poultry nutrition and feeding with performance trace minerals is essential to maximizing the production performance of your flock. While dietary trace mineral levels are important, trace mineral source is equally as important when making considerations for your poultry nutrition program. To truly thrive, poultry must receive optimum trace mineral nutrition during each life stage: hatch, growth, production and breeding.

Zinpro Lifetime Performance® starts during embryo development by building a chick’s ability to mount a robust immune response and skeletal structure. This will ultimately lead to better nutrient utilization for growth, production and breeding.

Performance Trace Minerals Support Strong Bones and Improve Chick Quality

Supplementing broiler breeder diets with performance trace minerals helps improve key performance factors, including eggshell quality, chick quality and hatchability. More chicks per breeder hen, healthier chicks at hatch, better eggshell quality, fewer cracked eggs and improved footpad quality all play important roles in breeder performance.

Trace minerals are deeply involved with chick quality, especially related to the development of bones in the embryo. Bone deposition starts early in embryo development and is important for overall growth and health. Zinc, manganese and copper play important roles in calcium metabolism and bone formation. If chicks don’t develop strong bones, they won’t be able to break the eggshell as easily during hatch. Embryo development is important for survival, growth and a chick’s ability to compete for feed and water and support muscle deposition. Feeding Zinpro Performance Minerals® to breeders helps improve bone thickness in the embryo. Research demonstrates that chicks develop stronger tibia and femur bones, each up to 3% wider.

Bar graph showing tibia width and femur width.

Research has also shown that supplementing broiler breeder diets with zinc, manganese and copper from Availa®ZMC results in longer chick length at hatch versus feeding inorganic sulfate trace minerals. Chick length is positively related to yolk-free body weight and negatively related to residual yolk weight. Longer chicks are in a further stage of development, have better gut health and a more advanced immune system.

Embryos from breeders fed Availa-ZMC also had higher relative calcification of the tibia and femur and thicker tibias and femurs at 18 days of incubation. Bone calcification is a very important result for the modern broiler genetic lines. These birds grow very fast and need a stronger skeleton to support the meat deposition.

Research shows that feeding Availa®Zn and Availa®Mn helps increase the number of Grade AA chicks per hen by 10%. Grade AA chicks will, certainly be broilers with greater body weight gains and better feed conversion rates.

Bar graphs showing chick quality at 20 to 65 weeks of age.

Feeding performance trace minerals to young broiler breeders is especially important because they produce smaller eggs with thicker shells; therefore, the chicks will need better nutrition in the egg to be able to hatch.

Performance Trace Minerals Decrease Presence of E. coli in the Liver

Trace minerals play an important role in helping animals mount a robust immune response during both stress and disease challenges. The gut serves two primary functions in poultry: digestive function (let in the good) and barrier function (keep out the bad). When an animal has poor gut integrity, pathogenic bacteria and other toxins pass between the epithelial cells, stimulating an immune response.

Feeding performance trace minerals in the growth stage will help improve gastrointestinal tract integrity, helping to keep harmful bacteria from passing into the blood stream and into the liver. Research demonstrates that feeding performance trace minerals like Availa-Zn and Availa-Mn helps reduce the presence of E. coli in the liver by up to 83 percent.

Bar graph showing presence of Liver E. coli.

Additionally, embryos can be contaminated with bacteria. Performance trace minerals can help develop an eggshell with a stronger membrane to help keep harmful bacteria out.

Performance Trace Minerals Help Improve Broiler Performance

Maintaining skin integrity is a critical means to prevent scratches, infection and potential carcass condemnation. To help improve skin integrity, nutritionists and broiler growers are incorporating the zinc from Availa-Zn into the poultry diet to help strengthen the skin and its barrier function. This also helps support the skin’s overall immune function.

Feeding zinc from Availa-Zn has been shown to heighten immunity and reduce the incidence of cellulitis alone or in combination with vitamin E. In a broiler study at Auburn University, skin lesions (sores, scabs and scratches) decreased from 42.7 percent to 9.6 percent when birds were fed Zinpro Performance Minerals, demonstrating how feeding zinc from Availa-Zn can help strengthen poultry skin integrity, resulting in fewer carcass defects.

Feeding Zinpro Performance Minerals also helps improve gastrointestinal tract (GIT) elasticity and strength. This helps to keep the GIT intact during processing, which helps reduce cross-contamination due to spillage of intestinal contents. This is important from a food safety perspective, keeping potentially harmful bacteria inside the GIT. Research has shown that feeding Zinpro Performance Minerals helps increase intestinal elasticity and strength by 27 to 30 percent.

Bar graph showing broiler intestinal elasticity.

With the ability to mount a more robust immune response, broilers are able to utilize nutrients for improved production. Research demonstrates that feeding performance trace minerals increases feed efficiency by 3 points and improves breast meat yield by 0.34 percent.

Image showing improvements in FCR and breast meat yield.

Improve Breeding Performance With Performance Trace Minerals

Feeding Zinpro Performance Minerals reduces the number of cracked eggs, which results in a higher number of chicks hatching. When more performance trace minerals are transferred from a broiler breeder to a chick, there is a higher survival rate through day 21 of incubation, improving hatchability of fertile eggs.

Research shows that feeding Availa®ZMC increases the number of chicks per hen housed from 24 to 48 weeks versus feeding inorganic trace minerals (sulfates).

Bar graph showing chicks per hen housed.

Transferring performance trace minerals from the breeder to the chicks also resulted in a 66-gram advantage in progeny performance. Hens fed Zinpro Performance Minerals produced broilers that showed a 3-point improvement in feed conversion on average. In addition, breeders fed Availa-ZMC + Availa-Fe (as the only source of iron) produced broilers with:

  • 66 grams more final body weight
  • 58 grams more hot carcass weight
  • 13 grams more breast meat
  • 5 grams more meat in breast fillet
Bar graphs showing effect of Availa-Fe in broiler breeder diets.

Performance Trace Minerals for a Lifetime

Including Zinpro Performance Minerals in your poultry program benefits every production stage: hatch, growth, production and breeding. Supplementing poultry diets with Zinpro Performance Minerals, such as Availa-ZMC, Availa®Z/M, Availa-Zn and Availa-Fe, delivers a strong return on investment to poultry producers.

Learn about how Zinpro Performance Minerals® improve poultry performance during every life stage. And read about Zinpro Lifetime Performance®.

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