Poultry science

Influence of dietary calcium level, calcium source, and phytase on bird performance and mineral digestibility during a natural necrotic enteritis episode.

PMID 24235221


The objective of this study was to determine the influence of Ca source [highly soluble calcified seaweed (HSC) or limestone], phytase supplementation, and dietary levels of Ca on bird performance and mineral digestibility (Ca and P) during a necrotic enteritis (NE) episode. Cobb 500 male broilers were weighed and randomized into 8 treatment groups (9 pens/treatment; 30 birds/pen) at day of hatch. The 21-d trial was designed as a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial, which included 2 dietary levels of Ca (0.6 and 0.9%), 2 Ca sources (limestone or HSC), and 2 levels of an Escherichia coli phytase (0 or 1,000 FTU/kg). One unit of phytase (FTU) is defined as the quantity of enzyme that releases 1 μmol of inorganic phosphorus/min from 0.00015 mol/L of sodium phytate at pH 5.5 at 37° C. Birds were placed on used litter from a previous flock that exhibited clinical signs of NE. Birds and feed were weighed on d 7, 14, and 21, and BW gain, feed intake, and feed conversion were calculated for each of these periods and cumulatively. Mortality was recorded daily and pH of the gizzard and duodenum were measured on d 7, 14, and 21. Ileal digesta (8 birds/pen) was collected on d 7, 14, and 21. Significance is reported at P < 0.05. Birds began exhibiting clinical signs of NE on d 9, and elevated NE-associated mortality persisted until the end of the trial. Significantly higher mortality was observed when broilers were fed diets with 0.9% Ca from HSC compared with birds fed diets with 0.6% Ca, regardless of Ca source. Broilers fed 0.6% Ca diets supplemented with phytase were heavier than the other treatments regardless of Ca source. Broilers fed diets formulated with HSC had significantly higher feed conversion then broilers fed diets formulated with limestone. The gizzard of broilers fed 0.9% Ca in the diet was significantly less acidic than the gizzard of broilers fed 0.6% Ca in the diet. Broilers fed 0.6% Ca in diets supplemented with phytase showed significant improvements in P and Ca digestibility. In conclusion, higher dietary Ca (0.9% vs. 0.6%) had a negative effect on mortality associated with NE and on bird performance.

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P1259 Phytase from wheat, ≥0.01 unit/mg solid