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5-minute read

Improve Sustainability in Your Poultry Operation Without Sacrificing Performance

Broiler chicken up close.
Dr. Duarte Neves

Poultry Nutritionist
Zinpro Corporation

Environmentally sustainable poultry production starts by reducing excess nutrients in the diet. Doing so prevents them from being wasted via excretion while maintaining performance and health status of the flock. High trace mineral inclusion in commercial diets has become a target for more sustainable animal production.

With that objective in mind, several research experiments were conducted to further understand the effects of decreasing total mineral supplementation levels in diets with complete or partial substitution of inorganic minerals with Zinpro Performance Minerals®.

Performance Trace Minerals Improve Feed Conversion, Breast Meat Yield

In several broiler studies, supplementation of 80 ppm of inorganic zinc was fully replaced by 40 ppm of Zn from Availa®Zn, decreasing total mineral supplementation by 50%. This resulted in a 34% reduction in excretion of zinc, half a point improvement in feed conversion ratio (FCR) and a 0.6% improvement in breast meat yield (BMY) with a carcass hematoma score reduction of 18%.

Bar charts showing breast meat yield and fecal zinc excretion.

In another study with low levels of inorganic minerals, a mineral premix consisting of zinc, manganese, copper, iron and selenium from inorganic sources was replaced with Availa-Zn, Availa®Mn, Availa®Cu, Availa®Fe and Availa®Se at 50% of the original supplementation rate. This resulted in an improvement of 2.7 points in FCR.

Bar graph showing feed conversion ratio.

These studies suggest that swapping all of the inorganic trace minerals in a diet with performance trace minerals can maintain and improve broiler production, and lessen environmental mineral contamination.

Replacing 100 ppm with Zinpro Performance Minerals

When it comes to substituting increased levels of inorganic minerals with Zinpro Performance Minerals in poultry diets, a popular approach is partial replacement. To demonstrate this, research was conducted with broiler diets supplemented with 100 ppm inorganic zinc or a reduced total zinc supplementation with the inclusion of 40 ppm Availa-Zn. The birds fed 40 ppm of zinc from Availa-Zn saw an improvement of 2.3 points in FCR and 0.5% in BMY.

Bar graph showing feed conversion ratio and breast meat yield.

In another study, birds were fed one of two diets. The first diet consisted of a basal diet of zinc, manganese, copper, iron and selenium from inorganic sources. The other diet included the basal diet plus Availa-Zn, Availa-Mn, Availa-Cu, Availa-Fe and Availa-Se as a partial replacement. The birds that were fed performance trace minerals experienced a 12% reduction in footpad score (FPS) (P <0.06). All other metrics, including performance, carcass parameters, litter quality and carcass scratches and bruises had similar results.

Bar graph showing footpad score.

The data suggests that an increase in performance trace mineral supplementation offers more opportunities for less inorganic minerals fed with increased benefits, even if in a partial manner.

Replacing 120 ppm with Zinpro Performance Minerals

Taking this approach a step further, more studies were conducted with even higher levels of total mineral supplementation. In one study, we replaced 120 ppm of inorganic zinc to a total supplementation of 80 ppm, including 40 ppm of inorganic zinc and 40 ppm of zinc from Availa-Zn. This improved FCR by 3.3 pts and reduced fecal zinc excretion to the environment by 26%.

Bar graphs showing feed conversion ratio and fecal zinc excretion.

All these studies consistently showed that decreasing inorganic mineral levels in broiler diets when supplementing ZPMs promotes less environmental mineral shedding while consistently maintaining and/or improving poultry production.

Performance Trace Minerals Reduce Bacterial Challenges

A sustainable approach in poultry farming, such as reducing the total mineral supplementation level, must work in all kinds of scenarios. In the face of an enteric challenge, replacing inorganic trace minerals with lower levels of organic minerals helped maintain and/or improve birds’ health and welfare in all the following studies.

In two other consecutive studies, broilers challenged with Staphylococcus agnetis (S. agnetis), were provided one of two diets: a basal diet supplemented with either inorganic zinc, manganese and copper or a combination of inorganic minerals with a partial replacement of Availa-Zn, Availa-Mn and Availa-Cu. In both studies, there were no differences in performance between treatments. However, birds receiving performance trace minerals saw a reduction in the incidence of bacterial chondronecrosis with osteomyelitis (BCO) lameness by 30% and 27% at 49 and 56 days, respectively.

Bar graphs showing cumulative BCO lameness percentage at 49 and 56 days.

Furthermore, birds fed ZPMs had up to 5% reduction in femoral head necrosis and 6% reduction in tibial head necrosis compared to birds fed inorganic minerals. An improvement of 18% in jejunum and ileum villi height, a higher jejunum occludin protein expression (P <0.05) and a 39% reduction in S. agnetis survival rate to macrophage activity was observed in birds supplemented with performance trace minerals.

Bar graph showing levels of Staphylococcus Agnetis between sulfates and Zinpro Performance Minerals.

More Benefits with Less Product

In the research studies described above, the consistency in the overall results obtained shows that by substituting inorganic minerals with Zinpro Performance Minerals, we are able to reduce the overall level of trace mineral supplementation while maintaining or even improving growth performance and the health status of the birds.

This mineral strategy is proof of how Zinpro contributes to a healthier and more sustainable world, not only from the environmental standpoint but also by making agriculture more profitable and maintaining a healthy and safe food supply.

Contact your Zinpro representative today to learn more or visit Zinpro.com.

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