Optimization & prevention for animal safety

One of the key aspects of every farmer’s job is to ensure that their animals and crops are happy and healthy. To do this, they must put preventative measures in place to optimize performance and quality down the road.

The website All About Feed recently released its list of ways to optimize performance in animals, with two things being key to the operation: a pathogen-free environment in combination with strong gut health.

The website pulled together key tips in order to get to this end goal, the first being preventing bacterial intake.

The idea seems simple: Don’t feed your animals contaminated food. But there are many risks involved, and a lot of care in ensuring that the food your animals eat is just as safe as the food you eat. There are many tests to ensure the product is safe (visit Neogen.com for a full list of all of its products for this purpose), but there are some other tips that All About Feed gives as well. Acidifiers, such as organic acids, are a first line of defense in reducing pH, which creates unfavorable conditions for microbial growth in both feed and water. Formic acid and acetic acid, for instance, have been found to be very effective in reducing Salmonella and E. coli. It should be noted that sorbic acid and benzoic acid provide similar results, but are only available as dry products.

But reducing the pH in feed is not the only thing that needs to be done; some microbes are able to survive the conditions and could be ingested by your animals. As the contaminated feed is ingested, the pH in the stomach will rise, which will provide more favorable conditions for the bacteria.

Proper management of microbiota is another element that All About Feed says is important. The density and diversity of the intestinal microbial population increases from the upper towards the lower intestinal tract, which, in pigs and poultry, is dominated by gram-positive bacteria, according to the website. It is suggested that a blend or organic acids (see above) and medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) should be combined to expand the spectrum of support of microbial balance. MCFA and the organic acids work together in a two part system: the MCFA breaking down the layers of cell walls in some bacteria, and the organic acid molecules coming in after to finish up the job.

Protecting and helping to optimize the functioning gut barrier is essential to animal health and performance. If the gut is not acting as best as it could, it can lead to reduced nutrient uptake and higher exposure to pathogens or toxins. The solution? According to All About Feed, a supplementation of broiler diets with a blend of target release acids and phenolic compounds. The combination helps maintain a healthy gut wall and a strong intestinal barrier, as well as providing the optimal conditions for absorption of nutrients.

One of the last pieces of advice that the website gives is to also focus on the immune system. There are certain plant extracts that can be added to the feed to inhibit adhesion of pathogens, as well as to positively influence intestinal immune system. Some research has even stated that chickens provided with plant extracts have increased production and improved clearance of Salmonella enteriditis.

For more information on how these steps can benefit your animal’s well-being, click here.  

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