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Effect of butyric acid on the performance and carcass yield of broiler chickens

Leeson, S., Namkung, H., Antongiovanni, M., Lee, E.H.
Poultry science 2005 v.84 no.9 pp. 1418-1422
coccidiosis, growth promotion, liveweight gain, mortality, feed conversion
Short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate are considered potential alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters. The efficacy of butyric acid on performance and carcass characteristics of broiler chickens was tested in two studies. The effect of dietary butyrate on the ability to withstand coccidial oocyte challenge also was investigated. In experiment 1, male broiler chickens were fed diets supplemented with 0 or 11 ppm virginiamycin or 0.2 or 0.4% butyric acid (as mono-, di-, and triglyceride). In experiment 2, broilers were fed bacitracin methylene disalicylate or 0.1 or 0.2% butyric acid. In another trial, birds vaccinated against coccidiosis were challenged with oocytes at 21 d and examined 6 d later. In experiment 1, diet treatments had no effect on body weight gain. Feed intake of the birds fed 0.4% butyric acid was decreased (P < 0.01) compared with birds fed the nonmedicated diet during the starter period, whereas birds fed 0.2% butyric acid had similar feed intake to the control birds. In experiment 2, diet treatments did not affect the performance of broiler chicks while carcass weight and breast meat yield increased (P < 0.01) in birds fed 0.2% butyric acid. With oocyte challenge, birds that had received butyric acid before challenge showed higher growth rate following the challenge compared with birds that received nonmedicated feed. Bacitracin decreased (P < 0.05%) duodenal villi crypt depth, whereas villus length was similar in birds fed butyric acid or the nonmedicated control diet. These results show that 0.2% butyric acid can help to maintain the performance and carcass quality of broilers, especially in vaccinated birds challenged with coccidiosis.