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9-minute read

Quality and Quantity of Chicks: Feed Zinpro to your Breeders!

Chicks eating together.
Dr. Leonardo Linares

Global RNS Species Leader – Poultry
Zinpro Corporation

The unprecedented market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has hit every segment of the food industry, including poultry. Processing plant disruptions, combined with increased production to fill grocery shelves, has put added pressure on producers.

Maintaining high performance of the broiler breeder flock is essential to the profitability of a breeder operation. Increasing the number of grade A quality chicks is the key objective. This has never been more important than now as producers work to get flock numbers back to normal.

High performance can only be obtained when all aspects of production are managed well. Flock health and management, hatchery management and feeding and nutrition programs must meet the high standards of the genetic strain.

An area of nutrition that is often overlooked is trace mineral nutrition, and their application in organic form to improve body’s trace mineral status, decrease mineral excretion, and improve animal performance.

The differences in trace mineral forms are well documented and represented in the degree of bioavailability of the specific trace mineral form. Among the organic form sources, the amino acid complexed trace minerals in Zinpro Performance Minerals are considered to have the highest bioavailability due to their different absorption pathway. Among the inorganic sources, oxide forms are considered to have the lowest bioavailability, followed by sulfates and hydroxy-chloride ligands with higher bioavailability.

Broiler Breeder Performance

Research has shown that feeding Zinpro Performance Minerals to breeders enhances immunity, increases hen’s livability, improves eggshell quality, increases hatching egg’s production, improves fertility and hatchability, decreases embryo mortality and increases the quality and number of saleable chicks produced by the breeder flock.

Immunity

One of the best reasons why health and performance is improved when breeders have a good mineral status is immunocompetence. Minerals play an important role in developing a strong immune defense system. Both innate and adaptive immune responses are affected positively by the use of Zinpro Performance Minerals.

Epithelial Tissue

Epithelial tissue is the first line of defense. Skin and the lining of the digestive system are the major surfaces exposed to foreign organisms and diseases. Respiratory and reproductive epithelial tissues are also important to protect against frequent infectious challenges that can impact production and welfare. Zinc, manganese and copper play major roles in the development, repair and maintenance of epithelial tissue. By providing adequate levels of these trace minerals we assure the strength of this defense system.

Read more: Epithelium is Essential First Line of Defense to Target BCO, Food Safety and Immunomodulation

Phagocytic Cells

Under the epithelial lining, heterophils are the first cellular line of defense. These capture foreign particles, neutralize them and initiate the inflammatory response. Then macrophages come into play, phagocytizing and coordinating inflammation and healing process. Macrophages are the most prominent members of the immune defense system as they are in charge of processing and presenting the antigens to the immune system (B-cells and T-helper cells). Zinc plays a direct role in phagocyte development and function. Young turkey poults fed Zinpro Performance Minerals had enhanced macrophage activity and phagocytic response. Macrophages collected from broilers fed Zinpro Performance Minerals showed higher killing activity of Staphylococcus agnetis in vitro.

Humoral Immunity

B-Cells are responsible for the production of antibodies. Research studies found increases in titer response to foreign protein (bovine serum albumin) and Salmonella in poultry when feeding Zinpro Performance Minerals. Also, vaccine titer responses for infectious bronchitis, infectious bursal disease and Newcastle disease were higher in breeders fed Zinpro Performance Minerals for all three diseases.

Cellular Immunity

Cellular immunity is directed by T- cells. A common test for cellular immunity is cutaneous basophil hypersensitivity (CBH) test. The size of toe web swelling or wattle skin swelling response is measured when phytohemagglutinin-P is injected just under the skin. The addition of supplemental Zinpro Performance Minerals to broiler breeders consistently increased the phytohemagglutinin-P response in the progeny.

Maternal Immunity

Immunity in the dam is passed on to the progeny in poultry. A common vaccination strategy is to obtain a high level of maternal immunity for her defense and also to pass on to the chick and improve its survival rate. Feeding Zinpro Performance Minerals to broiler breeders increases the yolk minerals’ content and increases embryonic bone thickness and mineral zinc content.

By enhancing the immune system through increased mineral status, the birds stay healthier and are better able to cope with disease challenges. Research has shown that birds with a longer productive lifespan, such as broiler breeders, have shown decreased mortality when fed diets supplemented with Zinpro Performance Minerals.

Eggshell Quality

Zinc, manganese and copper play roles in the formation of the eggshell. Zinc is a component of the keratinase enzyme, which is necessary for the formation of the eggshell membrane. Zinc is also required for carbonic anhydrase enzyme activation, which is required for the formation of the calcium carbonate shell. Manganese affects collagen metabolism and the formation of a strong shell matrix. Copper is necessary for eggshell membrane formation via the copper-containing enzyme lysyl oxidase.

Research with diets supplemented with Zinpro Performance Minerals to broiler breeders and also commercial layers shows a decrease in cracked eggs with a proportional increase in hatching eggs, in the case for broiler breeders, an increase in saleable egg proportion for commercial layers. When looking at the factors that decrease the number of broken eggs, researchers observed improvements in eggshell percentage, weight, thickness, and strength when layer hens were fed Zinpro Performance Minerals, increasing the egg utilization.

Fertility

Male broiler breeders benefit from the use of Zinpro Performance Minerals in the diet. Zinc is a necessary component of sperm and semen production. Within the male reproductive system, Sertoli and Leydig cells are important sources of ferritin, which acts as a readily available source of iron for the developing spermatozoa.

Recent research supports the effect of Zinpro Performance Minerals, especially zinc and iron complexed with amino acids, on increasing ejaculate volume, sperm motility and decreased sperm abnormalities, improving fertility rate.

Selenium plays a very important role in the formation of the spermatic cells, and its ability to increase the survival rate at the sperm storage tubules and in the female oviduct, supporting the quality of the sperm against stress factors, such as lipid peroxidation in the seminal liquid and changes in semen and environment conditions.

Hatchability

Several research studies looked at the effects on hatchability when supplementing Zinpro Performance Minerals to broiler breeder, where we see improvements from 1 percent to 7 percent in the hatchability values when compared to the control, being inorganic or any other form of organic trace minerals. That effect is achieved by improving fertility and through a significant decrease in embryo mortality during the incubation process. During the embryo mortality diagnosis, 15 percent to 20 percent lower embryo mortalities were observed in flocks fed Zinpro Performance Minerals compared to the control, especially on early and late embryonic mortalities.

Chick Quality

Uniformity, health, livability, size, adequate maternal immunity are traits producers want in broiler chicks. The degree of development that the embryo/chick has achieved at the time of hatch is important for survival, growth potential and capacity to compete for feed and water. So, improving mineral status in the egg will support the complete development of the embryo, reduce embryonic mortality, and greatly support the chick in its early stages of life.

Feeding Zinpro Performance Minerals to breeders improves mineral status in the eggs leading to higher embryonic skeleton mineralization, and consequently heavier and longer chicks with higher initial cellular and humoral immune responses, and improves a chick’s livability, gut development and health. This ultimately means improved broiler performance to market weight.

Chick Production

When all aspects of the broiler breeder production system are functioning properly, the producer will see improved flock performance. And improved performance means increased profitability. Feeding Zinpro Performance Minerals will improve immunity, decrease mortality, and increase fertility and hatchability. These benefits pay off in the production of higher quality day-old chicks. A number of studies with broiler breeders have demonstrated the positive results of feeding Zinpro Performance Minerals to breeders on the production and quality of day-old chicks, showing return on investments from 4:1 to as high as 11:1 compared to hens fed the control diet containing only inorganic trace minerals or other sources of organic trace minerals.

Now, more than ever, producers demand performance from every aspect of their operation. Numerous peer-reviewed studies have shown Zinpro Performance Minerals improve reproduction and chick quality, increasing the number of grade A quality chicks to maintain a high-performance broiler breeder flock.

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