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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Studies on Intestinal Strength of Poultry

item Balog, Janice

Submitted to: Western Poultry Disease Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 24, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: If the intestines are fragile in poultry, the intestines can rupture when the poultry are processed. This is a major problem in poultry processing plants, because when intestines rupture the carcass can become contaminated with feces, as well as adjacent carcasses. This presents a real food safety hazard, and increases the cost of poultry processing. We have been looking for ways to increase intestinal strength of poultry. We have fed alum to poultry, put tannic acid in their drinking water, tried to buffer the intestines with calcium carbonate, fed organic acids like propionic acid, and have fed the birds a water balance regulator, betaine. None of these approaches to increase intestinal strength of poultry have been successful.

Technical Abstract: We have studied several compounds for their efficacy to increase intestinal strength. These compounds have included alum, tannic acid, propionic acid, calcium propionate, betaine, and calcium carbonate. Alum was fed to broiler chickens at 0.0, 0.23, 0.47, 0.93, 1.9, and 3.7% with 4 replicate pens of 10 birds per pen to 3 weeks of age. Tannic acid was added to the drinking water of birds at the concentrations of 0.0, 0.05, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0%, with 4 replicate pens of 10 birds per pen. The tannic acid treatments were initiated when the birds were 3 weeks of age for a 24 hour time period. Two studies were conducted on the effects of propionic acid on intestinal strength. A commercial mold inhibitor (Mycocurb) was fed at 0.0, 2.27, 4.54, and 9.07 Kg/ton, and calcium propionate at 4.54 and 9.07 kg/ton. In the second study 0.0, 2.27, 4.54, 9.07 Kg/ton (Mycocurb), and 4.54 and 9.07 Kg/ton propionic acid was fed. These diets were fed to the birds from day of age to 6 weeks of age and there were 4 replicate floor pens of 40 birds per pen. Betaine was either fed at 0.07% for 7 weeks, added to the water at 0.17% from 6 to 7 weeks of age, or fed and added to the drinking at the stated doses. There were 6 replicate floor pens of 40 birds per pen at each of these treatments. Calcium carbonate was fed at 0.0, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, and 0.6% to 3 weeks of age with 4 replicate pens of 10 birds pen. Consistent to all of these studies, a 10 cm length of intestine just posterior to the duodenal loop was removed and its strength determined using elastomeric grips and an instron shear press. These treatments did not increase intestinal strength.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014