Effect of direct-fed microbial and antibiotics supplementation on the health status and growth performance of broiler chickens under hot humid environmental conditions

Abstract

FRK Bonsu, SA Osei, J Baah, A Donkoh, DB Okai

The effect of dietary direct-fed microbial (DFM) and antibiotics supplementation on health status and growth performance of broiler chickens under hot humid environmental conditions was studied. A total of 600 one-day-old Cobb hybrid broilers were randomly allotted to three dietary treatments. Three hundred and twenty (320) birds were selected out of the 600 after phase 1 and allotted to four dietary treatments: (i) Basal diet (BD) control, ii) BD plus DFM at the rate of 1.5 ml/kg, (iii) BD plus antibiotics at the rate of 100 mg/kg and (iv) BD plus DFM and antibiotics at the same rate as earlier described. In phase 1, birds fed DFM diet had lower feed intake (P<0.05) which did not affect weight gain but were more efficient in converting feed to gain. In phase 2, increased feed intake, improved weight gain and feed efficiency was observed for birds fed DFM diet. Growth performance of birds fed DFM diet was similar to that of antibiotic diet. Mortality reduced in both phases in favour of DFM and was least susceptible to disease occurrence. Increased intestinal acidity from a pH of 5.79 in control to 5.05 was recorded for birds fed DFM diet. A reduction in serum cholesterol was recorded from 110.25 mg/dl in control to 91.25 mg/dl in DFM fed group. It was more economical rearing broilers on DFM diet. It was concluded that DFM can be a suitable alternative natural feed additive to conventional antibiotics as growth and health promoter in a hot humid environment.

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