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Stevia presents itself as an interesting natural additive for poultry feed. For many years, research related to bird nutrition has focused on different dietary components that improve productive efficiency and are not expensive, such as antibiotic growth promoters. These are compounds used for therapeutic purposes to increase the health and welfare of animals, or for prophylactic purposes. Aiming to increase growth range and achieve more efficient conversion rates.
However, due to the emergence of microorganisms resistant to antibiotics and the presence of residues in poultry meat or eggs, their use in animals of productive interest has been restricted.
This has opened the door for additives known as natural growth promoter (NGPs) which generate better productive yields in animals through various mechanisms. Most of which are closely linked to better intestinal health.
The aim of this review is to broaden the knowledge about the use of natural growth promoters in poultry production. With a special focus on Stevia, as a possible alternative of natural origin to antibiotic growth promoters.