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Poult Sci. 2005 Aug;84(8):1294-302.

Broiler performance and intestinal alterations when fed drug-free diets.

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Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA.


A study was carried out to investigate the effects of a drug-free feeding program on broiler performance and intestinal morphology. Chicks vaccinated against coccidia were randomly assigned to 4 dietary treatments: 1) negative control (NC), basal diet; 2) positive control (PC), diet 1 + Lincomycin; 3) program 1 (PG1); diet 1 + Bio-Mos, Vegpro, MTB-100, Acid Pak 4-Way, and All-Lac XCL; 4) and program 2 (PG2), diet 1 + Bio-Mos and All-Lac XCL, each of which were assigned to 13 pens (48 birds in each of 52 pens). Growth traits (BW, feed intake, yield, mortality, BW gain, and feed conversion rate) were obtained through 49 d. At d 14, 3 chicks per pen were challenged with coccidia. Segments of duodenum, ileum, and ceca were removed to measure intestinal morphology at d 14, 28, 35, and 49. Final BW gain of broilers on PC (2.736 kg) was numerically higher than those for NC (2.650 kg). Cumulative feed conversion rate at d 49 was improved (P < 0.05) in birds consuming PC and PG2 compared with NC. Overall, mortality was higher for birds consuming the NC (P < 0.05) than the PC, PG1, and PG2 diets. Interaction of dietary treatments with age and age alone were evident (P < 0.0001) for morphology of duodenum, ileum, and ceca. Lamina propria in ceca was thicker (P < 0.008) in broilers consuming the NC than PG1 and PG2 diets. The results of this study indicated that feeding birds without growth promoters resulted in higher mortality and decreased growth performance than did feeding a diet with an antibiotic, and the combination of Bio-Mos and All-Lac XCL helped to reduce negative effects.

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