Importance of early nutrition in chicks
Early nutrition in chicks is of utmost importance within the poultry industry. Poultry production has grown enormously around the world during the last decades. Undoubtedly, feeding programs together with antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs), in the diets of birds, played an important role in achieving such success. However, in light of public health issues related to the indiscriminate use of AGPs, the poultry industry finds itself under the obligation of redefining its nutrition programs to produce safe and top quality meat.
|Maintaining or improving gut health is essential for optimal growth, better feed efficiency, and overall poultry health. Gut health encompasses the efficient utilization of nutrients, the macro and microstructural integrity of the gut, stability of the microbiota, and the state of the immune system.|
Chicks have been shown to benefit when they have early access to food and water (early nutrition). Late intake of water and nutrients by chicks could lead to a decrease in their overall growth yield with adverse effects such as increased mortality. Early feeding strategies have been suggested and developed to lessen or possibly reverse the negative effects of delayed feeding. These strategies range from in ovo feeding to post-birth diets.
For example, probiotic supplementation in the early stages of life prevents pathogenic infections. Amino acids like (L-arginine, L-lysine, L-histidine, threonine) are beneficial for growth, vitamin C and E stimulate immunity, carbohydrates increase glycogen stores, and creatine supplement promotes muscle growth.
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