Rapid transit syndrome incidence in the US. Prevention tools.
The rapid transit syndrome is a frequent problem in the poultry industry all over the world including the US. It is characterized by the presence of partially undigested feed in the droppings and watery feces...
The rapid transit syndrome is a frequent problem in the poultry industry all over the world including the US. It is characterized by the presence of partially undigested feed in the droppings and watery feces. It is a sign of poor intestinal welfare and leads to productive losses, a low feed conversion rate and slow growing poultry. One of the main productive and economic inconveniences is that the feed does not stay in the intestinal tract long enough to absorb nutrients adequately, which leads to a negative impact on the birds’ well-being and performance. The research of the problem and its solutions are essential to improve the intestinal well-being and the improvement of nutrient utilization by means of technology that regulates the transit speed.
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Poultry digestive physiology
There are many aspects of poultry physiology that help us understand why they have a rapid intestinal transit. To begin with, fast metabolism contributes to the maintenance of a high body temperature. It also gives big amounts of energy to flight related muscles, in broilers and laying chickens this energy is used to grow and lay eggs respectively.
Birds have the ability to rapidly and constantly obtain energy. They can store feed in case a long time goes by until their next feeding or they can increase their intestinal peristalsis which is a result of the constant feed intake. This makes birds excrete nutrient rich intestinal content which allows them to digest new feed. In intensive farms where birds constantly find available feed this mechanism is useless, because it works only in nature, and leads to the loss of nutrients and thus to an extra cost for the company.
The speeding up of the intestinal tract worsens performance results, as the shorter time food remains in the digestive tract impedes the correct assimilation of nutrients from the diet.
Consequently, rapid intestinal transit causes a worsening of the feed conversion rate and a decrease in weight. It also generates increased expenses related to medication, diarrhea, increased litter humidity, foot-pad dermatitis, ammonia production, increased parasitic load and decreased body temperature. Besides, it can cause mortality due to dehydration and hypoglycemia, among other causes.
Field observations indicate a morbidity between 10% and 60%. In severe cases, it can be close to 80%. In general, there is no increase in mortality attributable to this problem, but the negative effect is significant on performance.
Therefore, it is important to slow down the intestinal transit of birds raised in poultry farms, to improve their profitability and generate benefits thanks to achieving an appropriate weight gain, carcass yield, product quality; and decrease in the cost of feed and treatments. This translates into a better use of the diet, better health and welfare for the birds.
What mechanisms regulate the speed of the intestinal transit in birds?
Rapid transit is related to increased peristaltic movements in the intestines, where the digestive system pushes the contents of the intestine. The main stimulus is the distension of the digestive tract, and this may be due to the presence of food or water in the lumen.
How to prevent rapid transit in poultry?
Biovet S.A. has developed a product based on diatoms that has the ability to reduce peristalsis in the intestinal tract.
Diatoms are algal exoskeletons with a cell wall of hydrated silicon dioxide. This structure, composed of two sections with pores on their surface, linked by silicon bands, sediments by gravity in the depths giving rise to diatom-rich rocks called diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth has the ability to reduce the intestinal passage rate in animals.
This capacity can be optimized by an activation process to achieve a reduction in the gut passage rate sufficient to obtain high production rates on the farm.
IFTA DTM is a product based on Thalassiosira and Actinoptychus diatoms developed by Biovet’s R&D team.
Diatoms increase the retention time of feed in the digestive tract, as it was observed in trials conducted at the Universidad Científica del Sur, in Lima (Peru), where an average retention time of more than 16 minutes in favor of IFTA DTM was obtained, compared to the control. This means that, with IFTA DTM, feed contacts for a longer time with the digestive enzymes and the intestinal microvilli responsible for the absorption of nutrients.
Thanks to the retention time generated by the diatomaceous earth and the fact that the feed has more time to contact with the intestinal cells, in IFTA DTM group a lower conversion rate was observed c with a difference of 3.78% compared to the control and a higher weight of 92 g per bird. Feed supplementation with IFTA DTM has a positive effect on growth rate, feed efficiency and intestinal welfare of the animals.
Another key attribute of IFTA DTM is that, in the intestine, the water molecules dissociate in protons (H+) and hydroxyls (OH–). In the gut, the hydroxyl groups (OH–) react with the silicate molecules, joining the oxygen at the extremes and decreasing the intestinal water. On the other hand, the free protons (H+) decrease the pH of the lumen, improving the digestive processes, which is beneficial to ensure gut welfare.
Rapid Transit Syndrome is one of the most important challenges for poultry producers in the United States, due to its high prevalence and huge economic impact. It is a syndrome of multifactorial origin, which may be due to microbiological, management, nutritional, toxic factors or a combination of all of them, which is why it is very important to work on prevention.
Good intestinal welfare management with natural products such as diatomaceous earth is effective in terms of productivity, profitability and sustainability. The use of IFTA DTM achieves a reduction of the problems generated by the rapid transit due to the increased retention time of the feed, improving the conversion rate and the final weight of the birds, which means that, for every million broilers treated, 92 more tons meat will be obtained, saving 224 tons of feed in the production cycle.
IFTA DTM is a natural additive marketed by IFTA USA that is not absorbed by the animal and reduces the intestinal transit speed in poultry, generating a higher gastrointestinal retention time of the feed, which is related to a better contact of the feed with the intestinal microvilli. Thanks to all the above, poultry can better absorb nutrients from the diet, improve weight, feed conversion and welfare.
- Pié, Julia XXXVI Biovet International Symposium (2021)
Alquerfeed Diatom para ralentizar el tránsito intestinal en aves de producción. Veterinaria Digital. Disponible en: https://www.veterinariadigital.com/noticias/alquerfeed-diatom-para-ralentizar-el-transito-intestinal-en-aves-de-produccion/
- Síndromes metabólicos en pollos de engorda. Carlos López Coello (Departamento de
Medicina y Zootecnia de Aves, FMVZ, UNAM), Jose Arce Menocal MSNH. Morelia, Mich., México) y Ernesto Ávila Gonzalez (CEIEPAv, FMVZ, UNAM). México.