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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Livestock Behavior Research » Research » Research Project #435466

Research Project: Effects of Probiotics and Synbiotics on Skeletal Health in Broiler Chickens

Location: Livestock Behavior Research

Project Number: 5020-32000-013-30-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 24, 2018
End Date: Sep 30, 2020

The aims of this study are to examine if synbiotic 1) prevents lameness through the maintenance of physiological homeostasis and skeletal health via the microbiota-gut-brain and brain-bone axes; 2) reduces fast growth-associated metabolic stress via regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal and the sympathetic-medullar-adrenal axes; 3) increases health status by preventing metabolic disorder-associated oxidative stress and related inflammation and infection via regulating intestinal and systemic immunity; and 4) improves livability and meat production as a disease preventer and growth promoter.

480 one-day-old broilers will be housed in 24 floor pens (20 birds each). The pens will be randomly assigned to one of three treatments (n=8): 1) regular diet based on growth needs (a negative control without antibiotics); 2) the regular diet with antimicrobials (a positive control; bacitracin, nicarbazin, and narasin at 50, 54 and 54 g/t feed, respectively); and 3) the regular diet mixed with synbiotic (1.0 g/kg feed). The samples (body weight, blood, liver, spleen, brain, intestine, legs) will be collected from one bird per pen at the end of each growth phase: day 14 (starter), 28 (grower) and 42 (finisher). Analyses and evaluation will be conducted for mortality, weight gain, meat production, feed efficiency, skeletal health, behavior, and biological responses.