Main research question/goal
The goal of this project is to test the efficacy and optimal use of feed additives and/or alternatives for in-feed antibiotics in poultry. What is their effect on performances, gut health, losses, meat- and slaughter characteristics and return on investment? An increasing number of alternative in-feed additives have been developed since the EC ban (January 2006) of antimicrobial feed additives. These alternatives are mainly eitherenzymes, pro- and prebiotica, (in)organic acids, plant extracts and/or immunostimulants. These tests are necessary to judge the efficacy but also the safety of the alternatives. Both the producer and the consumer have direct interest in such objective testing. Research approach
These on-demand animal trials are done with broilers, layers or turkeys. The different additives or combinations are fed, sometimes at different dosages, to a large number of replicates. We determine and observe the results of the treated birds compared to control birds in terms of the performances, nutrient availability or digestibility, excretion, meat quality and return on investment. Relevance/Valorisation
Earlier experimental data from ILVO demonstrate that the efficacy of these alternatives is below the level of antimicrobial feed additives. However, the results demonstrate also that some of these additives are a real alternative that can contribute to increase the efficacy of poultry production and reduce the use of antibiotics. In addition to studying the direct effect on performances, these studies provide information of possible interactions with other nutrients. An improved knowledge of the working mechanisms and optimal working conditions is also sought. These studies are also used by the sponsoring companies for their registration dossiers.