Strategies for greater robustness and laying persistency in layers

Goals for robustness in birds are being called for to improve animal health and welfare through genetic selection. However, robustness can also be supported by nutritional approaches designed to promote the adaptive capacity of hens. Commercial trials in layer breeding hens have shown that this nutritional strategy leads to improved laying persistency.

Why robustness matters

The combination of breeding for increased production and the intensification of housing conditions for laying hens have not been without consequences. Concerns about animal welfare as well as risks to human health arising from antibiotic-resistant bacteria and disease outbreaks are paving the way to a new research focus and the introduction of robustness or resilience as a desirable trait in animal production.

The concept of robustness includes individual traits of an animal that are relevant for health and welfare. According to Knap 2012 robustness is the ability to combine a high production potential with resilience to stressors. Robustness is based on the possibility to respond adequately to a stressor and is aiming at less disturbed functioning if challenged with a stressor. This leads to a competitive advantage, because maladaptation due to stressors can have negative impacts on animal behavior, metabolism and immunology. Hence, why robustness is rapidly gaining importance in animal production.

The main characteristics important for robustness of production animals are productivity and the capacity to adapt in a wide variety of conditions. Differences in conditions can be due to climate, housing facilities, disease pressure, exposure to pathogens and differences in feed quality and composition. In this context adaptation can be described as a mechanism of the animal that empowers it to cope with internal or external disturbances, stressors or with changes in the environment.

According to a research group at Wageningen University a multi-disciplinary approach is crucial to reveal the determinants of adaptive capacity in farm animals. Adaptive capacity is determined by the genetic background of the bird. However, expression of adaptive capacity and therefore robustness can be supported or inhibited by the actual conditions the birds live in (e.g. nutritional status, social environment, disease pressure, etc.).

Breeding for robustness

Research findings have indicated that an animal’s welfare is dependent on its genetic characteristics, environmental factors and genetic-environmental interactions. This means an animal has the capacity to adapt to its environment. Breeding programs that ensure that animal well-being will improve, while at the same time improving production traits, are multi-level and multi-trait selection, directed at improving associative effects.

Research also showed that group selection increases robustness as indicated by the overall greater ability to cope with stressors. For instance, group selected laying hens had a lower mortality in response to heat exposure in multiple-hen cages compared to the control. This suggests that group selection can be an effective method to increase robustness in laying hens.

Genomic selection, based on dense genetic markers, will allow for more rapid improvement of traits that are expensive or more difficult to measure, or have a low heritability such as pecking, disease resistance, robustness and bone strength.

Feeding for robustness

Effective implementation of robustness into a breeding goal requires large scale genetic research, which for most traits is labour intensive and expensive. Therefore, finding additional ways of improving the adaptive capacity of birds, could speed up the process of reaching the goal for robustness in birds. New nutritional concepts, such as a gut agility activators, are designed to support the adaptive capacity and hence robustness of the bird by nutritional means. They help the bird to adapt to nutritional challenges by minimizing stress reactions such as oxidative stress and reduced feed intake, that would otherwise impact performance, health and wellbeing of the bird. Heat stress, high stocking density and mycotoxins are known factors which normally lead to increased oxidative stress and a reduction in feed intake.

Agile birds ahead in laying persistency

Longer laying cycles can help to cut costs, so they are imperative in a tough economic climate. Plus, they can reduce the environmental impact of egg production. Therefore, there is an increasing focus on improving laying persistence and egg quality at the end of the laying cycle. Benefits of genetic selection for improved laying persistence and stability in egg quality can only be realized if they are matched by improvements in hen nutrition. Poor bird health and environmental stress affect egg formation and the ability of the hen to maintain persistency. This can be aggravated by nutritional stressors in the diet, such as dietary changes, reduced nutrient digestibility, endotoxins, antinutritional factors and mycotoxins. Managing the resilience in birds to those stressors by nutritional means can help to support a better laying persistency.

Adding a gut agility activator, designed to minimize common stress reactions in birds, to the diet of a commercial parent layer flock has been shown to improve laying persistency in the late laying period. This indicates that supporting the adaptive capacity or agility of birds with a gut agility activator improves the chance to maintain laying persistency for longer.

More rapid progress anticipated

So far it has been difficult to quantify robustness directly. However, measurements from wearable sensors and other sources together with the emergence of novel analytical tools may become a game changer for measuring robustness. The livestock industry is already taking advantage of wearable sensors with multiple uses ranging from stress detection, behavior analysis, physiological monitoring and detecting health and disease status of animals.

A barrier to wearable sensors in the poultry industry is the number of birds that are managed on large poultry operations, as fitting every bird with sensory devices is impracticable. Despite this fact, fitting a proportion of the flock with sensors is possible, and the data generated from these birds can be used to assess total flock health.

These tools are likely to enable rapid progress for the management of robustness in farm animals and may also invite rethinking of how we can support and increase the adaptive capacity of laying hens.

Gwendolyn Jones, Published in International Hatchery Practice, Positive Action Publications 2019

Resilience – economic value in animal production

Animal breeding is showing an increasing appetite for resilience to be included as a trait in breeding goals. Scientists working in animal genetics are pointing out the economic value of resilience on farms, where labour time is restricted.

Resilience genes in redheads

Researchers are discovering what makes some humans more resilient than others. For instance, the MC1R gene found in human redheads has been associated with certain characteristics that improve resilience. Redheads have the genetic advantage that they naturally produce their own vitamin D. Most other people need to make sure that they consume plenty of vitamin D, especially when modern lifestyles and weather prevent them from obtaining enough vitamin D from sunlight. Since vitamin D plays an important role in health and fertility, redheads are more resilient because they need less vitamin D than the rest of us.

Better characterisation of resilient phenotypes in farm animals should provide the opportunity to look for similar gene differences in these species.

Can we breed for resilience?

Current developments and future trends in the livestock industry are giving way to a new research focus in genetics for livestock production. This research is looking to develop selection tools for farmers to improve the resilience of animals in their production system.

So far  breeding goals have not included resilience. However, research groups from Australia and the Netherlands have recently demonstrated the potential for resilience in breeding goals and suggested ways of how we could genetically select for it in livestock animals.

Resilience definition in animal production

“The capacity of the animal to be minimally affected by disturbances/challenges or to rapidly return to the state pertained before exposure to a disturbance” (Berghof et al 2019).

Colditz and Hine (2016) describe resilience as a comparative measure of differences between animals in the impact of a challenge and the result of lower sensitivity or better adaptability to a challenge. The biological processes underlying resilience relate to adaptive responses that occur to minimize the impact of a stressor.

How to measure resilience in farm animals

From the definition of resilience as reduced sensitivity to potential disturbances, it follows that the desirable phenotype could be identified by measuring the rate of recovery to baseline and normality of behavioural, physiological, immune or production traits following the disturbance. Instead of measuring the magnitude of these variables while the animal attempts to cope with the stressor.

More recent scientific papers say resilience can be measured based on deviations of expected production and observed production over a period of time. One indicator for more resilient animals could be that they have a smaller variance in deviations of production traits over a period of time than the population average.

For example, there are favorable correlations between the residual variance of feed intake and feed duration with mortality and the number of health treatments in pigs in a challenge environment. This suggests that residual variance of feed intake and feed duration can be used to select for more resilient pigs.

Recent technological advances facilitate the increase in the number of observations that can be made on individual animals to more accurately estimate deviations and consequently genetic parameters. Routine data collection form automatic milking systems (AMS) and automatic feeding systems (AFS) for cattle and pigs are the most well-known and well-developed examples. Animal breeders expect more rapid progress with measurements from wearable sensors, which are already being used for monitoring animal behaviour, physiological changes and detecting health and disease status in animals.

Economic value of resilience

Researchers point out that when determining the economic value of traits, care needs to be taken to avoid double counting. They suggest that the economic value of resilience can be based on labour costs associated with observing animals that show signs of disease or other problems. These could be visual signs or alerts generated by sensors, automatic feeding systems or automatic milking systems.

Labour time is limited. Therefore, farmers have a requirement for healthy and easy-to-manage animals, especially when the number of animals per farm employee is increasing. A reduction in time spent on an animal with an alert will reduce costs associated with labour. Improved resilience results in easier to manage farm animals, which would reduce labour requirements and thus allow more animals per farm. Consequently, selecting for more resilient animals can increase farm profit.

Further reading: How you can support resilience in laying hens

Progressive Dairyman: How to support dairy cows in their defense against DON

New technical article from Anco published by the Progressive Dairyman.

High producing dairy cows are more susceptible to negative impact from stressors in their feed and in their environment. But what matters for performance and efficiency is how the cows respond. Feeding the right natural bioactive substances can help the animal adapt its response in a way that helps maintain milk quality and component yields. This article focuses on how to adapt to the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) for milk profits.

Link to full article: Taking the sting out of DON for milk profits

Further reading

Effects of oxidative stress in response to mycotoxins in dairy cows

Diets that keep your cows agile for high milk quality

 

Scientific abstract – Phytogenic premix effects on gene expression of intestinal antioxidant enzymes and broiler meat antioxidant capacity

The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of administration level of a dietary phytogenic premix (PP) characterized by carvacrol and thymol (Anco FIT – Poultry) on the gene expression profile of antioxidant enzymes (i.e. CAT, SOD, GPX2, GPX7) and transcription factor Nrf2 at intestinal level. In addition, broiler liver and meat lipid oxidation and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) were determined.

Depending on PP inclusion level (0, 750, 1000 and 2000 mg/kg diet) in a three stage feeding program formulated to meet Cobb 500 nutritional requirements, treatments were: PP-0, P-750, PP-1000 and PP-2000. Feed and water were available ad libitum. Each one of the 4 treatments had 125 broilers arranged in 5 replicates of 25 chickens each. At 42d, 2 birds per treatment replicate were analyzed for gene expression and 4 birds per treatment replicate were pooled for biochemical analyses.

Data were analyzed by ANOVA, taking the treatment as fixed effect. Statistical significant effects (P≤0.05) were further analyzed and means were compared using Tukey HSD test. In addition, polynomial contrasts tested the linear and quadratic effect of PP inclusion levels.

Gene expression of SOD was up-regulated in the duodenum (P=0.027), jejunum (P=0.026) and ceca (P=0.023) in PP-1000 and PP-750 compared to PP-0. Expression of GPX2 was up-regulated in the duodenum (P=0.032) and jejunum (P=0.013) in PP-1000 and in ceca (P=0.006) in PP-2000 compared to PP-0, respectively. In addition, Nrf2 was up-regulated in ceca (P=0.024) in PP-1000 compared to PP-0. Intestinal mucosa TAC was higher in duodenum (P=0.011) and ceca (P=0.050) in PP-1000 compared to PP-0.

Lipid oxidation was delayed in a linear pattern with increasing PP inclusion level in breast (PL=0.020) and liver (PL=0.046). Moreover, the PP inclusion level resulted in higher breast (P=0.005), thigh (P=0.002) and liver (P=0.040) TAC. In particular, breast and thigh TAC increased in a quadratic pattern reaching plateau at PP-1000, whereas liver TAC continued to increase linearly.

Conclusion

Overall, a consistent PP inclusion effect on meat, liver and intestinal antioxidant capacity has been shown with PP-1000 being the most effective.

Authors

Konstantinos C. Mountzouris, Vasileios Paraskeuas, Eirini Griela, George Papadomichelakis and Konstantinos Fegeros

Department of Nutritional Physiology and Feeding, Agricultural University of Athens, 118 55 Athens, Greece

Presented at the EPC 2018 in Dubrovnik, September 2018

Laying hens – Anco FIT Poultry maintains laying persistency in the late laying period

In a commercial trial with a parent flock of ISA Brown laying hens, Anco FIT Poultry showed higher laying persistency than the control group.

Materials and methods:

The trial was carried out on a farm of an ISA brown parent flock in Slovakia and started when the birds had reached an age of 47 weeks. The birds were housed in 4 halls of 17,000 birds each, of which 2 halls were fed Anco FIT Poultry at 1kg/t from week 47 to 62.

The young flocks had been sourced from two different farms (source A and B). Data was analyzed by source due to historical differences in performance between the two sources.

Results and discussion

Figure 1 above shows that the drop in egg production was slower in birds of both sources fed Anco FIT Poultry at 1kg/t in the feed compared to the control in the late laying period. As a result, birds fed Anco FIT Poultry produced on average 2% more eggs in the week 47 to 62 compared to the control.

Recent scientific trials have shown that Anco FIT Poultry improves the antioxidative capacity of broilers in the liver and the gut. The liver plays an important role in egg production and maintaining high liver health can help to sustain high laying persistency for longer laying periods. Therefore the positive impact seen with Anco FIT Poultry on laying persistence may partly be due to its antioxidative effects in the liver.

However, ovarian aging, which is understood as a gradual decrease in both the quantity and quality of the oocytes residing in the follicle as age passes, has also been associated with a reduced antioxidative capacity in the bird and oxidative stress. Researchers have demonstrated that in laying hens of different ages (90, 150, 280 and 580 days) that the antioxidative capacity in the ovaries of birds reduced with age.

The antioxidative capacity in birds is determined by mechanisms involving enzymes such as Superoxidodismutase (SOD), Catalase (CAT), Glutathione Peroxidase (GSH-PX), Glutathione S-transferase (GSH-ST) and biological antioxidants such as Glutathione, vitamins C and E and certain trace minerals.

Further research is required to determine whether Anco FIT Poultry not only has positive effect on the antioxidative capacity of birds in the liver and gut, but also in ovaries.

Conclusion

Anco FIT Poultry in the feed helped to increase laying persistency in the late laying period, which is an important factor for achieving longer laying cycles to produce 500 eggs in 100 weeks. This may partly be due to the proven antioxidative effect of Anco FIT Poultry in the liver of chicken.

Scientific abstracts

Mountzouris et al 2018. Phytogenic premix effects on gene expression of intestinal antioxidant enzymes and broiler meat antioxidant capacity, Proceedings of the EPC 20118

Mountzouris et al 2018. Effects of dietary inclusion level of a phytogenic premix on broiler growth performance, nutrient digestibility, total antioxidant capacity and gene expression of antioxidant enzymes, Proceedings of the IPPE Scientific Poultry Congress 2018

Effects of oxidative stress in response to mycotoxins in dairy cows

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are normally neutralized by sufficient antioxidant levels in the cow. However, an imbalance between the production of ROS and defense ability of the cow to neutralize ROS causes oxidative stress.

Diseases that can cause significant economic losses in dairy herds, such as subclinical mastitis and ketosis, have been associated with increased markers of oxidative stress in the milk. For example, dairy cows with higher levels of somatic cell counts in milk also showed more signs of oxidative stress, as indicated by levels of malondialdehyde and dinitrophenylhydrazine.

Mycotoxins are known to increase oxidative stress. Therefore, they are also a factor, which can predispose dairy cows to subclinical mastitis and ketosis.

As cases of subclinical mastitis in dairy cows can cost on average $110/cow/year and ketosis $150/cow/year, mycotoxins can be a culprit in significant economic losses in dairy herds.

References

Mostert et al 2018. Estimating the economic impact of subclinical ketosis in dairy
cattle using a dynamic stochastic simulation model, Animal, p 145-154

Ruegg 2005. Premiums, Production and Pails of Discarded Milk How Much Money Does
Mastitis Cost You? University of Wisconsin

Abuelo et al 2015 The importance of the oxidative status of dairy cattle in the periparturient period: revisiting antioxidant supplementation 

Santos and Fink-Gremmels 2014. Mycotoxin syndrome in dairy cattle: characterization and intervention results

Andrei et al 2016. Interrelationships between the content of oxidative markers, antioxidative status, and somatic cell count in cow’s milk. Czech J. Anim. Sci., 61, 2016 (9): 407–413

Watch a short video about this topic at the end of the Monday mycotoxin report below

How to take your birds from doing great to agile for consistent efficiency

In today’s world layer and broiler producers need to be highly responsive to quickly changing market needs (i.e. agile) and at the same time continuously increase efficiency. This also increases the requirement for robustness and the ability to adapt to nutritional and environmental challenges in birds for reliable performance. Nutritional approaches for gut agility are enabling more consistent efficiency in a sustainable manner.

Genetic progress is alive. Hens have longer and more productive laying cycles and broilers are growing faster and more efficiently. What has not changed is that management of birds is still key to maximize efficiency, health and welfare. To empower birds to live up to new genetic heights, producers need to pay extra attention to nutrition throughout the lifetime of each flock. Nutritional stressors in the diet, such as dietary changes, reduced nutrient digestibility, endotoxins, antinutritional factors and mycotoxins, can undermine consistency in performance in response to diets. Depending on the presence or absence of those stressors the same diet can differ in cost-effectiveness. These stressors are often not easy to control for the nutritionist and are part of the reality that animals are facing in modern production systems.

Ability to adapt

Ability to adapt to different climates, management systems and environmental challenges are sought after traits in today’s birds for commercial production. The ability to adapt to nutritional stressors will have an impact on consistency of performance and efficiency of birds. Hence, what we are looking for in birds is not much unlike a key trait of successful companies in today’s business environment: agility. Agility in this context meaning the capacity to adapt to changes and challenges quickly and efficiently to maintain high performance, efficiency and profitability. We never know what is around the corner, but the ability to adapt will make or break us. It determines sustained success. Taking birds from doing great to agile is a step towards greater robustness, efficiency and performance consistency in birds. This advancement will to some extent be achieved by genetic selection programs, but the faster way is to support it by nutritional means. Nutritional approaches for gut agility in the bird, are designed to empower the bird to adapt to nutritional challenges more efficiently and minimize the negative impact on performance consistency.

Feed efficiency

Reducing antibiotic growth promotors in animal feed calls for the development of new strategies to improve feed efficiency in poultry production systems. Genetic research provides a picture of the basis of feed efficiency at the cellular level. Oxidative stress turned out to be a cellular activity affecting feed efficiency. The studies showed that birds with higher feed efficiency had better mitochondrial function that included less mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and less oxidation of proteins.

More recent studies confirmed that feeding a phytogenic formula containing certain phenolic terpenes and flavonoids to broilers significantly increased the antioxidative capacity
in breast tissue, thigh, liver tissue and certain parts of the gut. There was also a significant positive relationship between antioxidative capacity and feed efficiency. Parameters for ROS scavenging activity, activity of antioxidative enzymes and reduced lipid peroxidation were significantly improved in those tissues. This indicates that feeding strategies including certain phytogenic compounds for increased antioxidative capacity could support feed efficiency in broilers. Improved antioxidative capacity in birds also implies that birds will experience less oxidative stress, which again can reduce inflammatory responses and hence improve energy efficiency. Heat stress, high stocking density and
mycotoxins are known factors which normally lead to increased oxidative stress. Hence, birds with improved antioxidative capacity will also be more resistant to those type of stressors.

Greater laying persistence

By 2020 layers are expected to lay 500 eggs in a single laying cycle of 100 weeks. Genetic companies working towards this goal have been selecting traits that increase the laying persistency of hens. Their motivation for this has been the need to be able to produce eggs in a more sustainable way. In June this year, Germany already reported the first commercial layer flock achieving 500 eggs in 100 weeks in Dekalb laying hens.

Benefits of genetic selection for improved laying persistence and stability in egg quality can only be realized if they are matched by improvements in hen nutrition. There are three important areas that come to mind, when it comes to supporting laying persistence by nutritional means:

1) Careful management of feed/nutrient intake around start of lay and in early laying period
2) Maintaining organs that are important for egg production healthy, e.g. liver
3) Minimizing common stress reactions such as oxidative stress, inflammatory responses and reduction in feed intake to maintain birds healthy and efficient

High performing hens with longer laying cycles are more prone to metabolic disturbances and susceptible to free radical (ROS) damage. This can be justified by the intense metabolism demanded for continuous egg production and environmental stress. Adding certain plant extracts to diets has been shown to improve the antioxidant status in laying hens and can be used to prevent oxidative stress. This then also has the potential to prevent fatty liver hemorrhagic syndrome (FLHS). Fatty liver-hemorrhagic syndrome is a typical liver damage caused by oxidative stress. Laying hens tend to exhibit fatty liver due to the damage caused by free radicals and excessive fat in the liver.

Adding a product including phytogenic components with antioxidative power and designed for gut agility to the late laying period of a commercial ISA Brown parent layer flock, improved the persistency in lay compared to birds on a control diet.

Agile by nutrition

Nutritional concepts designed to support the bird’s capacity to adapt to nutritional challenges and live up to its performance potential, increase the agility of the bird particularly under situations of increased stress. Overall, they are a sustainable alternative to help reduce the use of antibiotics in poultry diets, whilst maintaining robust and efficient birds for consistency in the cost-effectiveness of diets at high performance levels.

 

by Gwendolyn Jones, published in International Poultry Production, August 2018, page 7

Laying persistency – 500 eggs in a single laying cycle in 100 weeks

Laying persistency is a major trait currently being developed further in laying hens. The “long life” layer, which will be capable of producing 500 eggs in a laying cycle of 100 weeks, is on the horizon.

In Europe, the priority is to increase egg production by breeding for increased persistency in lay and stability in egg quality so that the laying cycle of commercial flocks can be extended to 90–100 weeks. Breeding programs are particularly focusing on improving laying persistency and egg quality at the end of the laying cycle.

Reducing cost of egg production

Economic reasons play an important role in taking this decision. It means less feed is required per egg. Keeping the birds longer will decrease the financial contribution of the 18-week-old pullet to the cost per table egg. Maintaining egg size and quality beyond 75 weeks and up to a target of 100 weeks can have a big impact on the profitability of a flock. The time required to reach the economic break-even of the hen has increased from 34 weeks in 1998 to 52 weeks in 2016. This indicates that longer production cycles are imperative in a tough economic climate.

More sustainable egg production

Longer laying cycles lead to a lower carbon footprint per egg. Furthermore, it was calculated that around 1 g of nitrogen could be saved per dozen eggs for an increase of 10 weeks in production. This can significantly reduce the nitrification impact of increasing or maintaining production, which is especially important in nitrate sensitive areas.

More efficient use of resources and reduction of waste will help to reduce the environmental impact of egg production and preserve the environment.

First commercial flock achieving 500 eggs in 100 weeks

Free range laying systems are following the trend for longer laying periods. The case for extending free-range laying cycles.

Actually, the first commercial flock achieving 500 eggs in 100 weeks, was a free-range laying flock and was reported in June 2018. It involved a 40 000 Dekalb White flock based in Germany. A key success factor in this was that the farmer likes to learn new things.

How to get to 500 eggs in 100 weeks

A decline in egg numbers combined with a deterioration in shell quality are the main reasons for currently replacing flocks at or around 72 weeks of age.

The benefits of genetic selection for improved persistency in lay and stability in egg quality can only be realized if they are matched by improvements in hen nutrition and careful monitoring of the effects of this process on the health and welfare of the hens.

To extend the laying cycle of commercial flocks, long-term maintenance of the tissues and organs involved in producing eggs is required.

Motivational video for 500 eggs in 100 weeks

Nutrition supporting laying persistency

Genetic progress and longer production cycles have consequences for nutrition. Benefits of genetic selection for improved laying persistency and stability in egg quality can only be realized if they are matched by improvements in hen nutrition. There are three important areas that come to mind, when it comes to supporting laying persistence by nutritional means:

1) Careful management of feed/nutrient intake around start of lay and in early laying period

2) Maintaining organs that are important for egg production healthy, e.g. liver

3) Minimizing common stress reactions such as oxidative stress, inflammatory responses and reduction in feed intake to maintain birds healthy and efficient

Supporting birds to keep a positive nutrient balance in the first 10 weeks of lay will help provide a reserve for mid/late lay egg output and improved shell quality.

With older birds it is important to maintain liver health. Consider supporting liver function with relevant additives, such as choline and vitamin E. Adding certain plant extracts to diets has been shown to improve the antioxidant status in laying hens and can be used to prevent oxidative stress. This then also has the potential to prevent fatty liver hemorrhagic syndrome (FLHS).

Managing nutritional stressors

Monitoring mycotoxins in feed also plays a key role for liver health in layers, as mycotoxins will cause oxidative stress and damage to the liver. Laying hens are more sensitive than other poultry to mycotoxins. A longer life makes laying hens ideal candidates for chronic mycotoxicosis, caused by continuous exposure to low levels of toxins.

Poor bird health and environmental stress affect egg formation and the ability of the hen to maintain persistency. This can be aggravated by nutritional stressors in the diet, such as dietary changes, reduced nutrient digestibility, endotoxins, antinutritional factors and mycotoxins.

Nutritional concepts designed to support gut agility, increase the bird’s capacity to adapt to nutritional challenges and live up to its performance potential, particularly under situations of increased stress. Overall, they are a sustainable alternative to help reduce the use of antibiotics in poultry diets, whilst maintaining robust and efficient birds for consistency in the cost-effectiveness of diets at high performance levels.

Adding a product including phytogenic components with antioxidative power and designed for gut agility to the late laying period of a commercial ISA Brown parent layer flock, improved the persistency in lay compared to birds on a control diet.

Recommendations from breeding companies

Feeding laying hens to 100 weeks of age – Lohmann

How to feed layers for a longer production cycle and high performance – Dekalb

Progress in Layer Genetics Longer production cycles, a genetic perspective – ISA

Summer 2018 – Anco Times

Are you ready for your summer 2018 vacation? This year’s Anco Times Ebook includes a map with vacation destinations close to Anco FIT distributors across the world.

Check out page 4 in the 2018 Anco Times and find an Anco FIT distributor that is closest to your vacation destination.

Read our Summer 2018 Anco Times here and get access to the following technical articles:

For better FCR invest in anti-oxidative capacity.

Diets that keep your cows agile for high milk quality.

How cows can adapt to DON.

3 ways to reduce the impact of DON on milk profits

For more bedtime reading you can also take a look at our Summer 2017 Anco Times Ebook.

We hope you enjoy your summer break and come back with lots of good memories.

Antioxidative power for your antibiotic-free feed strategy

Certain phytogenic feed additives can support high feed efficiency in ABF (antibiotic-free) feeding strategies due to their high antioxidative power. Recent studies indicate a positive relationship between increased anti-oxidative capacity in broilers induced by certain plant extracts in feed and improved feed efficiency.

Link to related article Improve broiler feed efficiency with antioxidative capacity

Agile power of plants

Through a multitude of bioactive substances, with a variety of adaptive properties plants are very well equipped to be polyvalent to different stressors and to prevent their negative impact. Bioactive substances derived from plants have also shown to support humans and animals to adapt to stressors more adequately and help counteract some of the negative physiological and metabolic side effects. Applying the right combination of plant extracts to feed can therefore help the animal become more robust and reach performance potential more efficiently in the face of stressors, including mycotoxins.

Oxidative stress – a common stress reaction

A common reaction to stressors is an increase in Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) on the cellular level. ROS are produced endogenously by normal metabolic processes, but amounts may be increased markedly by certain stressors, including heat and toxins. Deficiencies of natural protective substances or excess exposure to stimulators of ROS production may result in oxidative stress, which occurs when ROS exceed the capacity of antioxidants. Oxidative stress is a major factor related to the development of inflammatory diseases.

Antioxidative power in herbs and spices

The ROS detoxification process in plants is essential for the protection of plant cells against the toxic effect of ROS. Hence many herbs and spices are rich in antioxidative defense mechanisms. The ROS detoxification systems in plants include enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants. Non-enzymatic antioxidants involved include phenolic compounds, flavonoids, alkaloids, tocopherol and carotenoids. These antioxidant defense systems work in concert to control the cascades of uncontrolled oxidation and protect plant cells from oxidative damage.

Phytogenic feed additives based on extracts and material from herbs and spices with high antioxidative power, can be used to support the antioxidative capacity in animals and make them more resistant to stress factors which would otherwise increase oxidative stress and reduce feed efficiency.

Related articles and scientific abstracts

Improve broiler feed efficiency with antioxidative capacity

Evolution in the evaluation of phytogenics

Effects of dietary inclusion level of a phytogenic premix on broiler growth performance, nutrient digestibility, total antioxidant capacity and gene expression of antioxidant enzymes