Many factors affect gut health, and hence performance, in poultry. Feed structure and ingredients play a major role in reducing gut health through anti-nutritional factors, including mycotoxins as causative agents.
The combined influence of water quality and feed structure further increases the effect on gut health and performance. Bacterial contamination of feed and/or water can damage the intestinal tract, leading to an inflammatory response within the intestine that demands increased energy used along with a decreased transit time for the digesta in the intestine. Nutrient availability is thus reduced.
The outcome of reduced gut health can be diarrhea leading to wet litter which in turn can lead to increased foot pad lesions in broilers and turkeys. Diarrhea can also lead to dirty eggs in laying flocks which may result in a greater number of eggs being rejected.