All animals need to receive a nutritious diet in order to acquire and maintain good health and to improve production. A lot of work has been put in research to find out how best the natural food available for poultry can be improved which has resulted in quite a number of poultry feed additives.

Classification

These poultry feed additives are products that affect utilization of the feed or productive performance of the animal. They can be classified as additives that influence feed stability, feed manufacturing and properties of feeds. Additives that modify animal growth, feed efficiency, metabolism and performance. Some additives are meant to modify customer acceptance

Nutritional quality of poultry feed depends on factors including feed presentation, microbial contamination, content of anti-nutritional factors, digestibility, palatability and intestinal healthfulness.

Antioxidants

Poultry diets almost always contain fat which is meant to increase the energy content. To keep the feed from going bad, which is quite a common problem in high fat products, antioxidants are usually added to the diet. They keep the energy and protein content in the formulation.

Anti-oxidants work as a poultry feed additive that stops feed spoilage and their preventive properties can last until the feed is all consumed, increasing the shelf life of feeds.

Oxidative Rancidity

The main focus of antioxidants is to prevent oxidative rancidity which is one of the major causes of quality deterioration in foods. Rancidity is the degeneration of food in such a way that it becomes undesirable and unsafe for consumption. It is evidenced by unpleasant flavours and odours caused by the oxidation of the unsaturated fatty acid chains of lipids by atmospheric oxygen. This results in low food intake and growth impedance in poultry.

When rancidity develops, it causes the destruction of vitamins A, D and E.

Free Flowing Agents

Diets for poultry generally consist of cereal grain and a protein source. Free flowing agents are poultry feed additives that improve the flowability of the grains.

Free flowing agents typically have fine particulate structures while not reacting to the other ingredients in the feed.

This ability to maintain the powder velocity once it is in motion helps with preventing packing of particles and acts as a barrier when mass is moving. Free flowing agents coat and smooth the edges of bulk powders reducing inter particle friction and promoting efficient blending and processing, increasing costs effectiveness. They also absorb any excess moisture before it can be absorbed by the bulk powder.

Enzymes

Poultry feeds are largely composed of plant and vegetable materials and there are enzymes developed to degrade, modify and extract the plant polymers found in some of the cereals and their by-products.

Enzymes are generally defined as chemicals or catalysts that are released by cells to speed up specific chemical reactions. As poultry feed additives, enzymes are an important tool to increase the nutritional value of feed ingredients, reduce feed costs, improve the environment and they maintain animal performance.

Phytase

This enzyme releases nondigestible phosphorus making nutrients available for productive purposes. It also significantly reduces feed costs and reduces phosphorus excretion in manure.

CarbohydrateEnzymes

These increase the amount of energy available from feed ingredients, improve digestibility and in the end, they promote growth and productive processes. Additional digestive enzymes help poultry to withstand stressful conditions.

Protease

Protein digesting enzymes are poultry feed additives that break down storage proteins binding starch within the feed ingredients.  This avails energy from protein bound starch available to the consumers to be used for productive purposes.

Mycotoxin Binders

Globally, foods and feeds have been seriously contaminated with mycotoxins and it is usually two or more. These interactions exert additive or synergetic effects. Moulds that can produce mycotoxins grow on numerous foodstuffs such as cereals.

Consumption of mycotoxin contaminated food and feeds leads to reduced nutrient absorption, poor performance, immunosuppression and increased susceptibility to infections and parasitic diseases, they also cause serious reproductive problems leading to economic losses in the poultry industry.

These poultry feed additives are compounds that can be added to a ration in an attempt to get hold of a mycotoxin that may be present in feed, binding strongly enough to prevent absorption from the gut of the animal.

Mycotoxin binders are well appreciated because of how they are affordable, easy to use and effective in small quantities.

Pelleting Additives

Poultry feed comes in many forms including mash, pellet and crumble. Mash typically results in waste due to separation of grains from other ingredients and supplements. Pelleting solves this problem through producing uniform proportions and saving 15-20% of the feed.

Pelleting produces a higher nutrient density. It increases the availability of vitamins and improves digestibility and ME value of certain ingredients therefore; it increases animal performance while creating superior feed efficiency.

Pellet Binders

There is need to produce uniform proportions and to improve digestion of nutrients in poultry. The poultry feed additives that are pellet binders increase the efficiency of feed by protecting it from extreme heat and moisture. The overall quality of feed is improved by increasing pellet durability and significantly reducing the number of fines in poultry feed and it solves mixing difficulties, incorrect particle sizes and ingredient separation. Pellets with good physical quality show improved durability to withstand the various attrition forces on the pellet.Pelleted feeds outperform comparable mash feeds.

Feed conversion ratios improve significantly when the percentage of fines is reduced in poultry feeds. Pellet binders save time, money and resources.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are used as an additive because they improve the rate of growth when included in diets in small amounts. Antibiotics reduce the growth of micro-organisms that compete with the host for provisions of nutrients while stimulating the growth of micro-organismsthat synthesise known and unidentified nutrients.

For best results, antibiotics must be used with properly composed feeds. Also, feeds containing antibiotics should be fed only to the type of stock they are meant for. They are not in any way a substitute for good management and healthy living conditions or for properly balanced rations.

 

When properly used, poultry feed additives improve the efficiency of flock growth, prevent diseases and improve feed utilisation.