A Nutritionist’s Perspective on the Removal of Antibiotics in Poultry Production

Antibiotic-free (ABF) poultry production is increasing due to consumer demand. The challenge for the commercial poultry nutritionists is to achieve the same end performance in a cost efficient manner under an ABF system as under regular production practices. A well-planned ABF broiler production nutrition system should include preparatory steps such as maternal nutrition and in ovo interventions to improve viability of embryos and progeny as well as 18+ days of downtime between two successive broiler flocks. Maintaining the normal gut health of broilers through the grow-out is the nutritionists and veterinarians main goal. In this regard, the most challenging aspects are the control of coccidia and in turn prevention of necrotic enteritis. The long-term success and sustainability of any company’s ABF program hinge upon the degree to which these issues are addressed. Other items to be considered to maintain normal gut health in the ABF program are a combination of prebiotics, probiotics, natural chemicals and risk management of mold toxins. Flock mortality may still spike up occasionally in which case nutritionists and veterinarians should have backup treatment plans ready.

This video was recorded during the BIOMIN Symposium on Antibiotic-Free Livestock and Poultry Production: Challenges and Solutions (held prior to the Animal Nutrition Conference of Canada in May 2017)