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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Alternatives to Growth-Promoting Antibiotics, Dr. S. R. Collett Clinical Associate Professor, University of Georgia


Dr. S. R. Collett, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Georgia reviewed alternatives to conventional feed additive antibiotics on May 19th at the Alltech REBLation Symposium held in Lexington, KY. In introducing the topic of alternatives to antibiotics Dr. Collett stressed consumer concerns and actions by regulatory authorities to restrict the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics.

The Food and Drug Administration has agreed with 25 pharmaceutical manufacturers to withdraw label approval for growth promoting antibiotics effective January 2016. This action parallels the declaration by many quick service and restaurant chains to phase out serving chicken raised with feed-additive antibiotics. Major integrators in turn have announced that they have either withdrawn or are in the process of phasing out antibiotics. Exceptions are made for specific therapeutic applications under veterinary supervision and will not involve drugs which are common to human therapy.

Dr. Collett has for a number of years promoted the use of probiotics, prebiotics and essential oils to manage the composition of intestinal flora in order to promote beneficial organisms. His approach has been shown to achieve growth rates and feed conversions equivalent to flocks receiving antibiotic additives.

The system advocated by Dr. Collett comprises the sequence:-

• "Seeding" - involves providing the chick with beneficial intestinal organisms in the form of a probiotic spray at the hatchery or as an additive to feed or water. These "beneficial" genera include lactobacilli and enterococci

• "Feeding" - proliferation of beneficial flora is encouraged by supplementing diets with organic acids. Administration can be carried out during the first seven days, during stress or after any therapeutic use of antibiotics.

• "Weeding" - involves selective exclusion of potentially deleterious flora using competitive exclusion cultures, essential oils or prebiotics which inhibit pathogens.

A major deterrent to completely "drug-free" programs is the withdrawal of anticoccidials including the ionophore class of compounds. Mild coccidiosis can result in proliferation of Clostridium perfringens in the intestinal tract resulting in enterotoxemia which is manifested as necrotic enteritis, hepatitis and even gangrenous dermatitis. Dr. Collett stressed the need for appropriate environmental management of houses, especially of ventilation which influences litter quality and in turn intensifies coccidiosis and enterotoxemia. The PowerPoint set used by Dr. Collett is posted for the information of subscribers and readers.

Download the Presentation as a PDF file

Copyright © 2023 Simon M. Shane