What do sci­en­tists say?

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Your Poultry -

THERE IS a sci­en­tific ba­sis for the use­ful­ness of fer­mented feed for poul­try, al­though there were draw­backs too.

In 2009, Bri­tish Poul­try Sci­ence mag­a­zine re­ported on the ef­fects of fer­mented feed on egg pro­duc­tion, egg qual­ity, plumage con­di­tion and com­po­si­tion, and in­testi­nal flora of 480 hens aged 16-38 weeks and com­pared them with birds of the same age fed a stan­dard dry feed. The study found pos­i­tives and neg­a­tives: • fer­mented feed seemed to lose its at­trac­tive­ness to the birds fairly quickly; • it re­sulted in more ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour and poorer plumage con­di­tion com­pared to the birds given dry feed; • the lit­ter of the fer­mented-fed birds was wet­ter; • body weight gain of the fer­mented fed birds was slightly higher than the dry fed birds; • egg mass (the weight of the to­tal eggs laid by all the birds) be­tween the two flocks was sim­i­lar; • food con­sump­tion of the fer­mented fed birds was less than the dry fed birds (110g vs 125g); • from weeks 25-37 the fer­mented feed im­proved the feed con­ver­sion of feed eaten to egg mass; • the use of fer­mented feed im­proved egg weight, shell weight and strength; • the flock fed fer­mented feed had

in­creased in­testi­nal health by acid­i­fi­ca­tion of the up­per di­ges­tive tract, which formed a nat­u­ral bar­rier to acid sen­si­tive pathogens, eg sal­mo­nella, E. coli and campy­lobac­ter.

Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19373724

It was con­cluded that the feed­ing of wet, fer­mented feed of­fered po­ten­tial ben­e­fits for health and nutri­tion, but due to the lo­gis­tics of feed­ing large flocks there are some prac­ti­cal prob­lems. It is also noted that it is ben­e­fi­cial to have a train­ing pe­riod dur­ing the rear­ing time for birds to be­come ac­cus­tomed to wet, fer­mented feed.

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