Feed International - August 2017 - 8
8 ❙ FeedInternational
IMPACT BIRD GROWTH
than doubling their cost. Different sources
of protein, fats and carbohydrates will be
used. They will have specific vitamin, mineral
and amino acid specifications.
"It is important to provide the neonatal chick with optimal nutrients in the right ratio and the right feed form,"
said Albert Dijkslag, ForFarmers innovation manager
and poultry nutritionist. "Ingredients should be highly palatable as well as easily digestible. You need to stimulate the
metabolism from the beginning and, as well as gut health,
it is essential to focus on skeletal development."
What are their aims?
■ Promoting gut development
The gastrointestinal tract grows four times faster than
the rest of the body during the first two weeks of life.
It is this organ that is driving body weight gain and as
such requires up to 40 percent of the energy and protein
that the young bird consumes. High protein content is
also necessary in diets for young birds, apart from for
growth to help maintain body temperature. Probiotics
may added to diets to seed the gut with beneficial bacteria or protect it from pathogens.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO provide
the neonatal chick with
Read more online: The importance of
implementing a mycotoxin control program,
■ Antioxidant protection
A specific vitamin and mineral pre-mix would be
used in super-pre starters to meet the specific needs.
Focusing on other potential negative inﬂuences, such
as oxidative stress, can also optimize a bird's potential. As such, diets may contain particular levels and
highly available sources of vitamin E and selenium.
For example, selenoproteins play an important role in
protecting the body from damage by free radicals.
And how do they work?
The aim should be to kick start the digestive system of
the young chick as soon as possible. Food particle size and
feed presentation will play a significant role in this. The
diets are often in the form of crumbs or mini pellets and
should be highly palatable and dust free.
"Dextrose is included as a source of fast energy,"
Dijkslag said. "We make use of egg powder as a highly digestible form of protein as well as adapting the amino acid
profile of the diet."
The ideal ratio of total sulphur amino acids to
lysine ratio for young chicks has been the focus of
investigations. By supplying pure amino acids, the
chick doesn't have digest protein before benefiting.
Their source may also be important; for example,
those forms of methionine that are passively
absorbed may be particularly suited to the still
■ Supporting the immune system
Development of the immune system starts in the embryo and continues after hatching. In the first week of
life, there is a rapid increase in the number of leucocytes, due to the growth of the lymphoid organs. The
synthesis of immune cells is a metabolically expensive
process and is highly dependent on the presence of
nucleotides. These protein building blocks can be
found in significant amounts in certain concentrated
There is a lot of interest in increasing the robustness of
chicks and, as such, producers are testing super pre-starters.
Many nutritionists, while believing in the aims of broiler
super pre-starters, are not seeing large-scale commercial
use. "Investment also needs to be made in chick placement
and management," Garland said. "Seeing a benefit at seven
days does not always carry through to slaughter."
Logistically, the use of super pre-starters needs some
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ August/September 2017