The consumer-driven issue of traditional and antibiotic-free is having a “snowball” effect on the industry and was a hot topic during the Challenges with Antibiotic-Free Poultry Production sponsored by Alltech at the 105th Poultry Science Association (PSA) meeting in New Orleans last week.
“Alltech’s latest review shows that there is legislation or planned legislation being implemented on the use of antibiotics in feed in 47 countries globally,” said Aidan Connolly, chief innovation officer at Alltech and chair of the symposium. “This trend is inevitable and is why the industry is moving toward other programs.”
Dr. Peter Ferket, extension specialist and nutritionist at North Carolina State University, kicked off the symposium with a timeline of the role antibiotics have played in the poultry industry and the opportunity today to incorporate smart “blue sky” strategies as the industry shifts to antibiotic-free production in his presentation “Physiology of Gut Health and the Road to ABF.”
“The gut microflora is so complex,” said Ferket. “We must ask ourselves: Are we really feeding chickens, or are we truly feeding their enteric ecosystem?”
Ferket offered three feeding strategies to control the enteric ecosystem:
– Establish the ecological environment by cultivating early enteric development and gut motility and by seeding the gut through direct-fed microbials.
– Secure a nutrient balance by feeding enzymes, XOS, FOS and MOS products.
– Maintain symbiotic microflora stability by weeding out pathogens through the use of antibiotics, essential oils, organic acids and MOS products.