White hens eating fodder from a feeding tray

Can probiotics consistently improve broiler performance?

December 2016

Many individual studies demonstrate the production benefits of probiotics in broilers. But can they deliver these benefits consistently?

According to a new analysis, the answer is yes.

A statistical meta-analysis of data from 14 research trials revealed that GALLIPRO® — a probiotic feed supplement containing a unique strain of Bacillus subtilis — consistently improved broiler performance. The results were presented at the 2016 Poultry Science Association (PSA) annual meeting.

“These studies show that probiotic supplementation significantly increased weight gain and feed efficiency,” says Alfred Blanch, DVM, PhD, poultry consultant for Chr. Hansen. “The strength and consistency of these data confirm that GALLIPRO® is a reliable choice for producers wishing to boost the health and performance of their flocks, whether used alone or in combination with other feed additives.”

Improved weight gain, feed efficiency

The studies were conducted in a total of 14,828 male broiler chicks from hatch to market weight at 42 days of age. The birds were fed basal diets of corn and soy or wheat, corn and soy, with or without GALLIPRO® supplementation according to manufacturer instructions (8 x 105 CFU/g feed).

Compared to control, birds in the GALLIPRO® group were significantly heavier and demonstrated significantly lower feed conversion ratios, regardless of basal diet composition (Figure 1).

Can probiotics consistently improve broiler performance, Figure 1 Weight gain 42 days
Can probiotics consistently improve broiler performance, Figure 1.1 GALLIPRO supplementation significantly improves production performance

Improved digestibility, intestinal function

According to Blanch, the consistency of the study data reflects the proven mode of action of the B. subtilis strain in GALLIPRO®, which works by increasing enzyme activity, while improving intestinal function.

Previous studies have shown that the probiotic significantly increases ileal protein digestibility (Figure 2). Using a proprietary in vitro tool known as reducing-sugar release (RSR) analysis, Chr. Hansen scientists have also demonstrated that, by breaking down fiber and making more sugars available to birds, GALLIPRO® increases metabolizable energy contribution of feed ingredients (Figures 3, 4). 

Can probiotics consistently improve broiler performance, Figure 2 GALLIPRO increases ileal digestibility by avg. 4%
Can probiotics consistently improve broiler performance, Figure 3 GALLIPRO increases metabolizable energy of soybean meal by avg. 70.5 kcal/kg feed
Can probiotics consistently improve broiler performance, Figure 4 GALLIPRO increases digestibility regardless of basal diet composition

“B. subtilis enhances carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism by producing digestive enzymes that birds don’t produce on their own. This results in increased availability of dietary energy and feed nutrients,” Blanch explains. 
“In addition, GALLIPRO® has been shown to promote healthy microbial diversity in the gut, while reducing gut inflammation. These properties contribute to healthier intestinal function, which improves absorption of feed nutrients.”

To view the abstract of the analysis presented at the 2016 PSA annual meeting, click here.

For more information on Chr. Hansen’s range of probiotic feed supplements for poultry, click here.

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