Sept. 12, 2012, Ottawa, ON - Avivagen Inc., a commercial wellness company, announced that it presented at the prestigious Kansas City Animal Health Investment Forum on August 27, 2012. The conference was attended by over 200 people representing many of the major animal health companies, with a large representation from the Kansas City Corridor, home to more than 220 animal health companies that account for 32% of the $19 billion global animal health industry. Kim Young, vice president of bioscience recruitment, Kansas City Area Development Council, commented “We were very impressed by the caliber and sophistication of the 2012 Investment Forum presenting companies”.

Avivagen was among 13 companies selected to present at the conference, of which only 3 came from outside the U.S. Avivagen’s presentation, delivered by company President Dr. Graham Burton, focused on the global potential of the company’s novel, proprietary OxC-beta product to become an alternative to sub-therapeutic levels of in-feed antibiotics in enhancing health and productivity in food animals. “The Kansas City Animal Health Investment Forum was a valuable opportunity to create awareness among key decision makers in the animal health industry of the features and strengths of our OxC-beta product, as an alternative to address the increasing need to seriously reduce the amount of antibiotics used for growth promotion in animals”, commented Graham Burton. “In 2010 we were fortunate to be selected to present at that edition of the conference. This led ultimately to a distribution agreement with a major animal health company for distribution of our Oximunol™ Chewables for dogs. Similarly, our 2012 showcase presentation has allowed us to meet with key opinion leaders and decision makers for the largest players in the animal health industry. We are now following up on those meetings with an aim to choose an ideal partner to help us commercialize our novel OxC-beta product in the large and growing food animal market. While we are confident of our OxC-beta’s product potential, we cannot guarantee if and when a commercialization partnership will occur.“

About the OxC-beta Livestock Feed Additive

Antibiotics have been used for decades in livestock animal feeds to promote growth and more efficient feed utilization. Considerable concern now exists that this practice contributes to the development of pathological bacteria with acquired resistance to antibiotics used in human medicine. As a result the use of antibiotics in feeds has been banned in Europe and Korea, and other countries are seriously looking to follow suit. Although in the US and Canada antibiotics are still heavily used in feeds, the practice is coming under increasing scrutiny by both consumers and government health agencies alike. The US Federal Drug Administration released a document in 2011 indicating that 80% of all antibiotic use in the US is in agriculture, with feed additives accounting for 75% of this usage. In the past year restrictions have been put in place in the US regarding selected antibiotics. As a non-hormonal, non-antibiotic alternative derived by spontaneous oxidative transformation of the micronutrient ß-carotene, OxC-beta is a novel, proprietary complex of non-vitamin A products discovered, developed and owned by Avivagen. The product achieves its health and productivity benefits through a unique combination of immunological properties. Clinical trials with swine and poultry have shown that low parts-per-million levels of OxC-beta in feed produce results comparable to those of antibiotics. Unlike traditional antibiotics, OxC-beta provides productivity benefits without causing antibiotic resistance, because its action does not involve killing bacteria directly. OxC-beta is cost-competitive with in-feed antibiotics, making it a strong candidate for consideration as a low-risk, veterinary health product alternative for reducing the use of in-feed antibiotics. Growth promotion feed additives for food animals is a multi-billion dollar global market, with target markets including poultry, swine, turkeys, calves, layers, dairy cows and aquaculture.

About Avivagen

Avivagen, a wellness company, is developing and delivering products for animals and humans to assist in optimizing health and daily quality of life. Avivagen is advancing product candidates for the food animal market, companion animal market and various potential human applications. More information can be found at

Published in Nutrition and Feed

Sept. 11, 2012, Tucker, GA - The 2013 International Production & Processing Expo has surpassed 400,000 net square feet in exhibit space, covering over 20 acres of exhibit area. With only three months left to secure an exhibit at one the world’s largest poultry, feed, and meat tradeshows, space is going fast!
Comprised of the three integrated tradeshows -- International Poultry Expo, International Feed Expo, and AMI’s International Meat Expo -- more than 970 exhibitors have registered for the 2013 IPPE as of the beginning of September. This is the largest exhibitor count in a decade. In addition, the August 2012 issue of Trade Show Executive has ranked the Expo as number 35 in its Fastest 50 tradeshows listing for percentage of growth in net square feet of paid exhibit space. IPPE expects this ranking to go up for 2013.
The global poultry, feed and meat industry tradeshow will be held Tuesday through Thursday, January 29-31, 2013, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. The Expo will highlight the latest technology, equipment, and services used in the production and processing of poultry, meat and feed products.  The Expo will also feature dynamic education programs addressing current industry issues.
The IPPE workshops and education programs will be held from January 28 through February 1, 2013 and will include the annual line-up of the International Poultry Scientific Forum, Pet Food Conference, Animal Agricultural Sustainability Summit, and AFIA’s International Feed Education Program.  New for 2013 are the following educational programs: Improving Food Safety, Sanitation and Maintenance; Animal Handling: Focus on Poultry Processing; Antibiotic Conference – Current Issues for the Poultry & Egg Industry; USPOULTRY/United Egg Producers Conference on the Future of the U.S. Egg Industry; Meat & Poultry Research Conference; Processed Meats Workshop; Consumer Trends – Best New Meat and Poultry Products; Operations: Risk Management & Lifestyle Analysis; and International Regulatory Topics for Meat. Back by popular demand is the National Renderers Association’s International Rendering Symposium and thePoultry Market Intelligence Forum.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday, January 31, 2013: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
For more information about the 2013 IPPE, go to


U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is an all-feather organization representing the complete spectrum of today’s poultry industry, with a focus on progressively serving member companies through research, education, communication, and technical assistance. Founded in 1947, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is based in Tucker, GA.
About AFIA

AFIA is the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to representing the business, legislative and regulatory interests of the U.S. animal feed industry and its suppliers. AFIA also is the recognized leader on international industry developments. Member-companies are livestock feed and pet food manufacturers, integrators, pharmaceutical companies, ingredient suppliers, equipment manufacturers and companies which supply other products, services and supplies to feed manufacturers.
About AMI

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Together, AMI’s members produce 95 percent of the beef, pork, lamb and veal products and 70 percent of the turkey products in the United States. The Institute provides legislative, regulatory, public relations, technical, scientific and educational services to the meat and poultry packing and processing industry.

Published in Breeders

Sept. 7, 2012 - Scientists at The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) have teamed-up with multinational animal nutrition business, AB Agri, to develop novel sources of protein for livestock production. In a new three-year project, jointly-funded by the Technology Strategy Board and AB Agri, insect larvae will be grown on a diet of low-value materials to produce protein for use in the diet of farmed animals, such as poultry and fish that naturally eat insects.

The project aims to tackle the 'protein deficit' that sees the UK currently import approximately 80% of the protein used in animal feed. The scarcity of agricultural land in the UK, together with the global demand for protein, means that the need to find more innovative methods for protein production has never been greater.

Fera entomologist Dr Howard Bell explained, "the larvae of flies are well adapted to grow on a range of organic 'waste' materials, producing large amounts of protein. The larvae can then be processed for incorporation into animal feed as a possible replacement for soya or fishmeal. An added benefit is that the remaining waste material is reduced in mass by as much as 50% and can be used as a fertiliser. The benefits of this approach are that it has no requirement for agricultural land, utilises waste materials of very low or no value and has minimal energy input needs."

The project team consists of entomologists, biochemists and animal nutritionists working towards the goal of developing methods for the generation of high-quality insect meal that can be exploited at an economically viable scale. Particular focus will be placed on assessing all aspects of safety surrounding the use of insect-derived protein as well as establishing its nutritional value and potential for its use in animal feed.

There are, however, a number of challenges before insect protein can begin to make inroads into the volumes of traditional protein sources that are used. As Project Leader Angela Booth of AB Agri comments, "firstly, we need to overcome legislative and any consumer opinion challenges  to allow material deriving from insects to be used in livestock feeds. Of equal importance are the technical difficulties associated with the development of a scalable production process. However, we believe that the complementary skills and expertise of AB Agri and Fera leaves us ideally placed to address these challenges."

The Fera/AB Agri research team aims to have a viable pilot scale production system developed and running by the end of the project. As poultry are naturally insectivorous, insect protein will be evaluated in the first instance through incorporation into chicken feed. It is very possible that insects, as a source of highly digestible proteins, will assume an important and increasing role in domestic livestock nutrition both in the UK and abroad.

About The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera)

Fera is an Executive Agency of the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Its remit is to provide robust evidence, rigorous analysis and expert professional advice to government, international organisations and the private sector, in order to support and develop a sustainable and secure food chain, a healthy natural environment, and to protect the global community from biological and chemical risks.

About AB Agri

AB Agri is a balanced diversified business operating in many parts of the food chain from plough to plate. The business covers high performance compound feeds and feed co-products from the food, drink and biofuels industries, feed micro-ingredients, analytical and consultancy services, livestock and poultry marketing.

About The Technology Strategy Board

The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency.  Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation.  Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information, visit

Published in Nutrition and Feed

Sept. 7, 2012 - A mutation of the highly toxic H5N1 bird flu has appeared in Vietnam, and state media reports state that it is spreading fast, resulting in mass culls.

According to Times Live, outbreaks have been reported in six provinces in the past two months and 180,000 birds have been culled to attempt to slow the transmission. The Central Veterinary Diagnsis Centre is also testing current vaccines against the new threat.

For more on the outbreak, please see the entire article at Times Live.

Published in Farmer Health/Safety
Aug. 27, 2012 - Secretary for Food & Health Dr Ko Wing-man says a new poultry vaccine, Re-6, which is more effective in preventing avian flu H5N1 than the existing one, will be introduced to local chicken farms.
Dr Ko recently inspected a chicken farm in Yuen Long, the Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Poultry Market, and the Hospital Authority Infectious Disease Centre.
Briefing the media, he said the vaccine has been introduced on the Mainland and successfully registered in Hong Kong. The Government will communicate with Mainland authorities to learn more about the use of the new vaccine, and discuss arrangements for supplying it to Hong Kong.
He hopes to introduce the new vaccine for use in local chicken farms before the end of this year.
Chair of Infectious Diseases, Department of Microbiology of the University of Hong Kong, Prof Yuen Kwok-yung said the control of avian H5N1 relies on infection control in poultry.
“Because the transmission of H5N1 is largely poultry to human transmission, the efficiency of human to human transmission is very low.”
He said the vaccine has been tested in the laboratory and proven to be highly effective.
“Once this vaccine is in place, both in Mainland China and also in Hong Kong, our poultry and also our citizens will be [most] protected.”
Dr Ko added the Government has been adopting comprehensive preventive and surveillance measures, including vaccination at local farms, import control, and stringent hygiene requirements at wholesale and retail markets to prevent avian influenza outbreaks.
It will step up surveillance before the coming winter season, and surprise inspections will be conducted in local poultry farms and pet bird shops.


Dr Ko urged that children and the elderly get vaccinated before the arrival of the winter flu season under the Government’s vaccination schemes starting September 24, adding the subsidy for childhood influenza vaccination will rise from $80 to $130.
The Government Vaccination Programme 2012-13 will also provide free seasonal influenza vaccination to eligible groups.
Dr Ko said the Government had updated the Government Preparedness Plan for Influenza Pandemic with reference to past experience and relevant guidelines by the World Health Organisation.
The updated plan maintains the three response levels, which have proved to be effective. The use of specific scenarios as a criteria for activation of each response level, has been replaced by a risk assessment.
He said this enables the Government to be more flexible and effective in the activation of an appropriate response level and in adopting appropriate response measures.

Published in Turkeys

Aug. 27, 2012 - Research from the Alabama State University identified that Campylobacter bacteria was found in 41 per cent of all the meat tested.

The study, published in the journal BMC Microbiology, examined skinless, boneless chicken breasts, tenderloins and thighs available at consumer stores in Alabama between 2005 and 2011. According to the resuls, there was no statistical difference in year, but different strains of Campylobacter did show various degrees of seasonality.

For mroe information on the study, please see BMC Microbiology.

Published in Consumer

Aug. 22, 2012, Saskatoon, SK - A new investment from the Canadian Government will support research into an innovative substitute for antibiotics in livestock feed. Member of Parliament Kelly Block (Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar), on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, announced an investment that will help Prairie Plant Systems Inc. deliver benefits to livestock producers and consumers.
“This is a good example of how government and industry can partner to harness research and help industry fill a need in the marketplace,” said MP Block. “This is the kind of innovation that’s keeping Canada’s agricultural sector strong and sustainable.”
This investment of more than $101,000 will help Prairie Plant Systems develop new technologies that have the potential to replace antibiotics in animal feed using health-boosting properties of plants like mustard seeds. The goal is to develop feed supplements that would stimulate an animal's own immune system to resist infection.
“This is the first step in finding alternatives to the use of antibiotics in animal feed,” said Brent Zettl, CEO of Prairie Plant Systems. “The long-term goal of our research can have benefits for farmers and consumers alike."
Researchers have discovered that the use of antibiotics in feedstock is beneficial partly because of their anti-inflammatory properties and not just because of their anti-bacterial properties. The development of new feed supplements has the potential to improve herd health while reducing losses and costs. This can improve the bottom line of livestock and poultry producers and also open other opportunities for farmers to diversify their crops and capture new niche markets.
This project is funded under the Agricultural Innovation Program – a $50-million initiative announced as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan 2011 and part of the Government's commitment to help Canadian producers benefit from cutting-edge science and technology. The Program boosts the development and commercialization of innovative new products, technologies, and processes for the agricultural sector. For more information about this and other Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada programs, please visit

Published in Nutrition and Feed

Less than 10 years ago, the world marvelled at the completion of the human genome project, which involved using traditional technology to identify all the genes in a single organism – the human. Today, a more powerful technology is being used to detect thousands of organisms in an entire community.

Unlike traditional gene sequencing, the new molecular technique – metagenomics – eliminates the need to cultivate and isolate individual microbial species. Scientists can apply genomic analysis to mixed communities of microbes instead of to just one organism.

For example, researchers examining viral enteric (intestinal) diseases in poultry can take intestinal samples from different poultry flocks. The material can be processed to sequence all the viral nucleic acid – RNA and DNA – in the sample and then analyzed as a single genome.

Learning more about how genes interact is extremely important in the battle against enteric diseases for scientists at the Agricultural Research Service Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory (SEPRL) in Athens, Georgia. Disorders such as poult enteritis mortality syndrome, poult enteritis complex and runting-stunting syndrome cause diarrhea in birds, resulting in decreased weight, mortality and increased production costs.

In studies of intestinal samples from turkeys with enteric diseases, ARS scientists have discovered a new virus that may have future antimicrobial applications.

Research has revealed that several viruses may be responsible for enteric diseases, yet a single causative agent has not been identified. Metagenomics research may help solve that mystery.

Scientists at SEPRL are using metagenomics to uncover vast numbers of known and previously unknown viruses in poultry. They have discovered and sequenced the complete genome of a new bacteriophage (phage) that might have future antimicrobial applications, described for the first time the complete genome of new chicken and turkey parvoviruses, and developed a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test to detect these novel parvoviruses in commercial poultry flocks.

Unlocking a Treasure
With help from industry producers and veterinarians, microbiologist Michael Day and research leader Laszlo Zsak, in SEPRL’s Endemic Poultry Viral Diseases Research Unit, collected intestinal samples from five different turkey flocks affected by enteric disease. To identify and characterize viruses using metagenomics, they prepared intestinal homogenates from the samples. The homogenates were filtered to remove larger constituents, such as bacteria, and leave the smaller particles, such as viruses. Metagenomics techniques were then used to sequence nucleic acid of all the RNA viruses present in the samples.

“I was expecting to find RNA sequences from viruses that had not been described before in the poultry gut,” Day says. “It turned out that there were quite a number of viruses in that particular sample.”

A comparison to similar viruses in computer databases showed that the intestinal virus metagenome contained thousands of pieces of nucleic acid representing many groups of known and unknown turkey viruses. Common avian viruses such as astrovirus, reovirus and rotavirus were confirmed. Many RNA viruses, for example, members of the Picornaviridae family, were also detected.

Day examined the validation results of a new molecular diagnostic assay for a turkey picobirnavirus. He used a metagenomic approach to detect the novel picobirnavirus RNA in turkeys experiencing enteric (intestinal) disease.

An unexpected discovery was an abundance of previously unknown turkey viruses, such as picobirnavirus, a small, double-stranded RNA virus implicated in enteric disease in other agricultural animals, Day says. A calicivirus – the kind associated with human enteric diseases – was also identified in poultry.

“Because metagenomics is so powerful, we generated and continued to analyze additional data from these samples and discovered a new bacteriophage,” Zsak says. “Until now, no one had described this kind of phage in turkey enteric samples.”

The virus, called “phiCA82,” belongs to a group known as “microphages” and is the type of virus that naturally kills bacteria, Zsak says. Phages are important because they can potentially be used as alternatives to antibiotics and as weapons against multi-drug-resistant pathogens.

Zsak and Day found a short sequence of the phage DNA and designed a technique to sequence its entire genome. Colleagues Brian Oakley and Bruce Seal, both microbiologists in the Poultry Microbiological Safety Research Unit of the ARS Richard B. Russell Agricultural Research Center, also in Athens, helped analyze the data. One task was to find out whether the new phage was related to similar viruses.

Oakley downloaded all publicly available viral genome sequences and used bioinformatics – the application of computer science and information technology to the field of biology – to compare the newly discovered genome to previously discovered ones. The comparisons revealed that the new genome was unique.

“Future studies need to be completed to find out if phages like this actually kill the bacteria they infect,” Zsak says.
Phages infect bacteria and then replicate, Seal explains. They do this by digesting the cell walls of bacteria.

“We are interested in being able to clone the gene that expresses enzymes that digest the cell wall,” Seal says. “If we can express those enzymes in an organism generally recognized as safe, like yeast for example, we can put them in feed to help reduce certain types of bacteria that cause disease.”

In earlier studies, Zsak and Day used metagenomics to identify and analyze the genome of a novel chicken parvovirus, ChPV ABU-P1. “This was the first in-depth characterization and analysis of the full-length genome sequence of the chicken parvovirus,” Day says. “Comparisons were made to other members of the Parvovirinae subfamily that infect mammals and birds.”

Scientists also developed a PCR assay to detect the virus in turkeys and chickens and used the test to examine enteric samples collected from U.S. commercial turkey and chicken flocks across different regions.

“PCR proved to be highly sensitive and specific in detecting parvoviruses in both clinical samples from infected birds and field samples from turkeys and chickens with enteric diseases,” Zsak says.

The overall goal is to use metagenomics technology to develop and update diagnostic tools, identify effective new treatments, and improve management practices to help control costly animal and plant diseases, Day says.

The beauty of metagenomics is that viruses do not have to be isolated or identified. Small pieces of nucleic acid can be sequenced from samples taken from mixed communities – a process that allows scientists to discover new enzymes and proteins and look for genetic markers for disease-resistant traits or genes with possible antimicrobial applications.

“We need some way to understand a community and interrogate the nucleic acids in that community to see who’s there and what they’re doing,” Oakley says. “Are there pathogenic bugs in there? Are there genes associated with pathogenesis?

Metagenomics does that.”

This research is part of Animal Health (#103) and Food Safety (#108), two ARS national programs described at “Metagenomics Offers Insight Into Poultry Diseases” was published in the April 2012 issue of Agricultural Research magazine. To reach scientists mentioned in this article, contact Sandra Avant, USDA-ARS Information Staff, 5601 Sunnyside Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705-5129; (301) 504-1627.

Published in Turkeys

One of the most important aspects of raising broilers is keeping track of the protein content within your feed. Lowering the crude protein (CP) content of broiler diets may reduce feed cost and allow for the use of alternative feedstuffs (such as wheat and wheat by-products), but reducing dietary CP has been shown to reduce growth performance.1,2 In addition to reduced efficiency in growth, carcass composition becomes inferior in broilers fed diets in which CP has been lowered by more than three per cent, even when all known nutrient requirements are met.3-7 Nutritionists and producers should be aware of the implications of reducing the protein level below recommended levels. Reductions of broiler performance could have serious effects on the whole industry. For example, high fat levels in broiler chickens can be a problem for rotisseries as cooking trays overflow with fat, and poor flock uniformity is possible if an increasing proportion of the flock fails to achieve its growth potential, and this will affect efficiency in the processing plant.8,9

Because protein accounts for such a significant part of the total cost of feed and overall health of the animal, it affects many aspects of broiler performance and profitability. Therefore, our approach was to feed different energy and protein levels to broilers and evaluate their growth and processing characteristics as part of a large nutritional optimization study.10

The experiment
After 11 days, birds were fed metabolizable energy (ME) levels at 94, 97, or 100 per cent, as well as five levels of dietary balanced protein ranging from 85 to 115 per cent in 7.5 per cent increments of recommended protein levels based on the Cobb-Vantress recommendations for maximum growth rate and feed conversion ratio (FCR). Body weights and feed intakes were obtained weekly for 56 days, and carcass yield was measured biweekly from 28 to 56 days. The research evaluated the effects of three levels of energy and five levels of energy; however, the focus here is on the effects of reducing protein level in the diets of broilers.

Our results show that reducing protein levels below the recommended levels could have deleterious effects on birds. At 42 days, reduction in protein levels significantly reduced body weight, as seen in Figure 1. At the same time, as the protein level in the feed increased, feed intake increased and FCR was reduced (Figure 2).

Of all the portions of the broiler carcass, the most highly valued is the breast muscle, which we found was highly influenced by the amount of protein present. By reducing protein levels, we observed up to four per cent reduction in breast yield (Figure 3). On the other hand, the abdominal fat pad increased up to 31 per cent when protein levels were reduced below recommended levels, as seen in Figure 4.

Farms are a business, and profitability depends on the cost of feed and the income generated from the sale of broilers, carcasses and/or portions. In this case, the cut-up scenario at 42 days is provided in Figure 5 (on page 24). Reducing protein at different levels of energy generally reduced profit, as shown by the curve patterns shows by 94 and 97 ME. The highest reduction in profit was found at 97 per cent level of recommended energy with 85 per cent of the recommended amount of protein.

However, the optimum protein:energy level found in this study was 102 per cent of recommended protein and 97 per cent of recommended energy. Therefore, to increase profit, the total energy should be decreased by three per cent, but the total protein should be increased by two per cent above the recommended value.

The profitability of the 100 per cent ME, as seen in Figure 5, is much lower than both 94 and 97 ME until the protein value surpasses 105 per cent. This is due to the fact that the highest amount of ME results in a large increase of fat in the broilers, which can be seen in Figure 6, as seen on page 24.

Price versus profit
Reducing the protein level as much as 15 per cent below the recommended level could make feed less expensive but also reduces profitability, broiler performance, feed intake and feed conversion. n

Acknowledgments: The Alberta Livestock Industry Development Fund, Agriculture and Food Council, Alberta Chicken Producers, Poultry Industry Council, Cobb-Vantress Inc., Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development New Initiatives Fund, Maple Leaf Poultry, Lilydale, and Archer Daniels Midland provided funding for this work. Full references and citations are available upon request.


  1. Parr, J.F., and J.D. Summers. 1991. The effects of minimizing amino acid excesses in broiler diets. Poult. Sci. 70:1540-1549.
  2. Moran, E.T., Jr., and B. Stilborn. 1996. Effect of glutamic acid on broiler given sub-marginal crude protein with adequate essential amino acids using feeds high and low in potassium. Poult. Sci. 75:120-129.
  3. Fancher, B.I., and L.S. Jensen. 1989. Dietary protein level and essential amino acid content: Influence upon female broiler performance during the grower period. Poult. Sci. 68:897–908.
  4. Aletor, V.A., I.I. Hamid, E. Niess, and E. Pfeffer. 2000. Low protein amino acids supplemented diets in broiler chickens: Effects on performance, carcass characteristics, whole body composition and efficiencies of nutrient utilization. J. Sci. Food Agric. 80:547–554.
  5. Bregendahl, K., J.L. Sell, and D.R. Zimmerman. 2002. Effect of low-protein diets on growth performance and body composition of broiler chickens. Poult. Sci. 81:1156–1167.
  6. Sterling, K.G., D.V. Vedenov, G.M. Pesti, and R.I. Bakalli. 2005. Economically optimal crude protein and lysine levels for starting broiler chicks. Poult. Sci. 84:29–36.
  7. Waldroup, P.W., Q. Jiang, and C.A. Fritts. 2005. Effects of supplementing broiler diets low in crude protein with essential and nonessential amino acids. Int. J. Poult. Sci. 4:425–431.
  8. Eits, R.M., R.P. Kwakkel, M.W.A. Verstegen, and G.G. Emmans. 2003. Responses of broiler chickens to dietary protein: effects of early life protein nutrition on later responses. BBr. Poult. Sci. 44:398-409.
  9. Kamran, Z., M. Sarwar, M. Nisa, M.A. Nadeem, S. Mahmood, M.E. Babar and S. Ahmed. 2008. Effect of low-protein diets having constant energy-to-protein ratio on performance and carcass characteristics of broiler chickens from one to thirty-five days of age.
  10. Zuidhof, M.J., F.I.L. Hernandez, M.R.A. Renema, B.L. Schneider, and D.R. Korver. 2008. Formulation of broiler diets to maximize carcass yield and quality. Invited presentation. Proceedings of the 29th Western Nutrition Conference. Edmonton, AB. September 23-24, 2008.
Published in Nutrition and Feed

Lameness and poor locomotion in broiler chickens can not only affect production performance, but has welfare implications as well. Poor gait scores can negatively affect welfare audits and results in sub-optimal performance. Flocks with good leg health grow to their genetic potential, have better feed conversion rates and result in fewer processing downgrades.

Lameness and poor locomotion in broilers is caused by either non-infectious conditions (ie. bone deformities) and infectious causes (ie. bacteria and viruses) and inadequate nutrition, or a combination of each. Genetic selection has, for the most part, greatly reduced the incidence of non-infectious causes of leg problems. But good barn and bird management can play a large role in the prevention of infectious causes.

Aviagen Group Inc. held a “Science to the Field” seminar on the topic of leg health in mid-April preceding the London Poultry Show in London, Ont. Several renowned speakers were featured and gave their insights from the field and research on leg health, what common problems are seen in the field and how improvements have been made through genetics and how management is key for preventing leg problems caused by infectious agents.

Genetic Improvement
There is growing societal concern that rapid growth rate results in poor leg health, and thus affects the welfare of broilers.

In the past 50 years, the growth rate of broilers has increased 300 per cent due to intense genetic selection.

Dr. Derek Emmerson, vice-president of research and innovation with Aviagen, says that in the past, the focus on genetic improvement was solely on growth, however, leg strength and skeletal structure and integrity became a focus for the company starting in the 1970s. Since the company has such large pedigree population, it allows geneticists to have a large genetic pool to work with and allows for a high selection intensity.

Intense selection led to a great reduction in metabolic diseases such as ascites, and Tibial Dyschondroplasia, a leg deformity. The breeding company employs various systems to identify birds with poor leg health, including the use of x-rays and ultrasounds and assessing gait scores to remove birds with potential problems from the breeding stock.

Anne Marie Neeteson, vice president of welfare and compliance at Aviagen, says that in Canada, the company is fortunate to have access to processing data collected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which helps it to determine the incidence of leg problems occurring in the field, which in turn helps it develop selection programs.

Both Emmerson and Neeteson noted that genetic progress does not happen overnight — it takes four years to see improvement and select traits from grandparent stock to see the results at the processor level. “It’s a challenging task, but not impossible,” says Neeteson. A large part of the challenge, says Emmerson, is that selecting traits to improve leg health, metabolic health, liveability, etc. is that the selection does not account for environmental influences.

“Genetics is not everything,” says Neeteson. “A large influencer is being a good farmer.”

Common Leg Problems
Dr. Nick Dorko, Global Head of Veterinary Technical Services for Aviagen, reviewed the common leg problems in broilers.

Rickets, TD

Both Rickets and Tibial Dychondroplasia (TD) result from an abnormality in the formation of bone and the growth plate. Rickets is a disease of young, growing animals while TD is most often seen in broilers greater than 20 days of age. The abnormalities are often associated with dietary insufficiencies of calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), or vitamin D3, or an imbalance in the Ca:P ratio.

As noted by Emmerson, Aviagen has been selecting against TD and Dorko agrees, saying that he doesn’t see this as having a genetic component anymore, but rather the cause is usually related to feed and/or a gut issue. 

Problems due to infectious agents

Bacterial and viral challenges in the flock due to poor barn hygiene, stress, density, poor feeder and water spacing, poor litter quality, improper ventilation and poor water quality can result in leg problems such as Bacterial Chondronecrosis with Osteomyelitis (BCO), Synovitis, “Kinky Back” (Vertebral Osteoarthritis), and “Green Leg”. 

Bacteria, particularly Staphylococcus aureus, can travel to bone and cause infection if given the opportunity (via scratches, the feet, vaccination). This bacteria is ubiquitous in environments where poultry are hatched, reared, and processed, says Dorko. Reoviruses can cause arthritis and have been implicated as a cause of malabsorption syndrome, which can be an indirect cause of leg problems.

Resolving the cause of leg problems is often difficult because the causes are often multifactorial, he says. He feels that in addition to good barn management and decreasing environmental stress on the birds, the prevention of respiratory, enteric (gut) and immunosuppressive diseases is essential for preventing leg problems.

Prevention and Control


Dr. Mark DeBeer, global head of nutrition for Aviagen, noted that feed formulation problems, although uncommon, can contribute to leg problems. However, factors that can affect malabsorption of nutrients (such as disease and infectious agents) are the primary issue.

He says “some of the things we do that we think increase bone strength really don’t.” It was previously believed that Ca and P were key for promoting bone development and growth rate, however it is now becoming clear that Vitamin D3 is the main driver. “Getting all three of these nutrients at the right ratios and levels in the feed is key for success,” he says.
It’s known that Vitamin D3 can increase muscle growth by increasing breast yield, although how this occurs is not yet known, and it is currently being researched, he says.

Dr. Nick Dorko says that dietary insufficiencies of Vitamin D, Ca and P is usually caused by improper levels in the feed, or a problem with feed handling — feed that is old or has been stored during hot weather can result in the destruction of vitamin D or other fat soluble vitamins. Moulds and fungus can also destroy nutrients, he says. One thing all farms should do, says Darko, is to retain a feed sample from each delivery until the end of the flock so that it can be tested if problems should arise. “It sounds simple, but many people don’t do this.”

Malabsorption of Ca, P or Vitamin  D can be caused by a damaged intestine or decreased liver function, and from a depressed feed intake (either not enough feed is available, or weak birds have resulted from poor brooding management). Indirect causes include diarrhea and digestive issues (resulting from enteric viruses, coccidiosis, poor quality feed), mycotoxins (these can cause liver damage), the wrong form of Vitamin D in the feed (ie. D2 instead of D3).

Both DeBeer and Dorko noted that the improper use of phytase can also be a contributing factor. The function of phytase can be affected by improper application and mixing, matrix values and degradation. 


It was once believed that near-continuous light (23 hours per day) was necessary to achieve the growth potential in broilers. However, recent research by Karen Schwean-Lardner and Hank Classen, both with the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Saskatchewan, has dispelled this myth and has shown that a reduction in the hours of light per day will still promote growth while keeping the health and welfare of the birds in mind. 

Schwean-Lardner and Classen examined the growth and welfare performance of broilers raised under four different lighting programs: 14L:10D, 17L:7D, 20L:4D, and 23L:1D, beginning at seven days of age. All of the birds were raised using 23 hours of light for the first seven days.

Performance data showed that providing more hours of darkness compared to near-continuous light slowed early growth, but resulted in market growth rates as good or better than near-continuous lighting. Of the four lighting regimes, birds raised using the 20L:4D had the best growth performance at market age and similar to the other programs using longer dark periods, resulting in improved health and welfare.

Compared to near-continuous light, providing a longer dark period resulted in improvements in economically important traits, such as: improved feed conversion, improved growth rates, and a reduction in mortality, particularly mortality resulting from metabolic and skeletal issues.

This research is now part of an Aviagen technical document for producers “Lighting for Broilers”, which is available on Aviagen’s website.

Brooding Management
Dr. Stew Ritchie of Canadian Poultry Consultants Ltd. in Abbotsford, B.C., concluded the day with a discussion of the Platinum Brooding® program, which he developed with his business partner Dr. Bill Cox to help poultry producers give their flocks the best early start, thereby preventing issues that can affect performance, including leg problems.

As noted by other presenters, failures during the brooding period can have significant consequences on bird health and performance. The program provides hands-on training for producers on brooding practices and disease prevention, and has been so successful that Aviagen has now partnered with it to provide the program across Canada in the coming year, as well as offering the course for U.S. producers with the University of Georgia.

Ritchie says that optimal brooding establishes steady state eating patterns early, which improves performance parameters, which significantly benefits animal welfare and food safety as well.

Published in Broilers

The CPRC is an industry-led organization with a mandate to support poultry research in Canada through funding, communication of research results and research-related activities, such as co-ordinating conferences and meetings on industry research priorities. CPRC has a number of projects underway in addition to our regular activities and two of these are now complete.

CPRC takes great pleasure in announcing our new Research Sponsorship Program that has been initiated with the support of Aviagen Inc., our inaugural sponsor. Sponsor contributions will be used to enhance member organization annual funding to support the increasing demand for industry research funds. For example, this year’s CPRC call for Letters of Intent generated 34 submissions compared to 29 in 2011 and 18 five years ago. Requests for CPRC project funding this year totalled more than $1.75 million, supporting $7.75 million in total research, while this year’s core funding budget is $300,000. Government funding organizations are increasingly looking to industry funding to show a commitment to research and ensure that funds are allocated to address industry priorities.

A recent review of CPRC-funded research projects showed that all parts of the poultry value chain benefit from the discoveries, including producers, feed suppliers, animal health care companies and professionals, processors, distributors, and consumers. The Research Sponsorship Program provides a simple method for all industry stakeholders to support ongoing poultry research that benefits us all.

CPRC’s Research Sponsorship Program offers a range of support levels to allow industry stakeholders to choose a sponsorship option that fits their budget. Details of the Research Sponsorship Program, sponsor benefits and an application can be found on our website at CPRC’s board and member organizations thank Aviagen Inc. for its leadership in supporting Canadian poultry research.

Development of the National Research Strategy for Canada’s Poultry Sector is another major endeavour that CPRC has co-ordinated over the past few years. The strategy was developed with input from industry, the research community and other stakeholders. CPRC and its member organizations held several meetings seeking input to the strategy, including a conference in May 2010 that brought together industry representatives, researchers and government to discuss research issues, opportunities and challenges. Follow-up workshops and discussions were held with national and provincial industry organizations through CPRC’s member organizations and their board representatives.

A draft strategy was circulated among industry this spring for review, with comments to be incorporated in the final document. The National Research Strategy for Canada’s Poultry Sector was approved by the CPRC board in July and is available at under the “Strategic Planning” heading. The strategy is a “living document” that will be reviewed regularly and updated as required. The updated report will also be available on CPRC’s website.

The strategy is designed as a general roadmap to help guide Canadian poultry research efforts over the next several years. Its focus is based on co-operation, co-ordination and communication, so that all those involved in Canadian poultry research are working together to develop the most effective and efficient research system possible.

The strategy identifies research goals that the industry has identified as important under themes including economic viability, genetics, food safety, antimicrobials, poultry health and welfare, environment, functional and innovative products, and poultry feedstuffs. The goals will help funding organizations identify projects that will move us closer to achieving industry objectives.

While the document includes a discussion of the approach that will be followed to implement the strategy, it is not a detailed action plan. Part of the implementation is to develop one that is acceptable to industry and is realistic. This will include a governance structure, methods for updating the strategy to respond to changes and opportunities, and identifying the stakeholder responsibilities in the strategy implementation and administration.

For more details on any CPRC activities, please contact the Canadian Poultry Research Council, 350 Sparks Street, Suite 1007, Ottawa, Ontario K1R 7S8, phone: 613-566-5916, fax: 613-241-5999, e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit us at n

The membership of the CPRC consists of the Chicken Farmers of Canada, the Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, the Turkey Farmers of Canada, the Egg Farmers of Canada and the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors’ Council. CPRC’s mission is to address its members’ needs through dynamic leadership in the creation and implementation of programs for poultry research in Canada, which may also include societal concerns. CPRC’s new contact information is available at

Published in New Technology

"If you work with people who actually work with animals, you can, in turn, really improve animal welfare. The second part of that is if you improve the facilities that the animals are moved through and handled in, you’ll again improve those animals’ lives. And if you take those two as a powerful combination – working with the people and the facilities – and add that up, it leads to exponential improvements in animal welfare.”

That was how Crystal MacKay, executive director of Farm & Food Care, introduced Dr. Temple Grandin – the woman who needs no introduction –when Grandin presented Understanding the Animals in Your Life at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga in June. Grandin is renowned throughout the world for her development of humane livestock-handling systems and had two important take-home messages for attendees: be more observant and, whenever possible, teach the general public about what you do.

On being more observant
Animals notice little things that we tend not to such as a beam of light, a coat on a fence or a shiny reflection,” said Grandin. “And sometimes you just need to make a little change in lighting and the problem is solved because animal thinking is sensory-based and very specific.”

Although animals are not the same as humans, they do have emotions and do get stressed, she said. The core systems that drive their behaviours are fear, rage, panic and seeking.

“They’re not afraid of getting slaughtered,” said Grandin. “They’re afraid of things like sudden movement, darkness or loud sounds.”

“And then you have another emotion, which is separation distress,” she said. “The neuroscientists call it ‘panic,’ but I really don’t like this term because it gets confused with fear – they’re two separate brain systems.”

Dr. Grandin is autistic and, therefore, a visual thinker, like animals, which gives her a unique perspective and insight when it comes to understanding animal behaviour. “Animal thinking is very specific,” she said, “because it’s sensory-based, not word-based. I want to try and get you away from thinking through language.”

When animals are forced to do things, they experience “fear stress.” However, if you do not force them and allow them to go voluntarily, that emotion is never experienced. In essence, you want to make sure that their first experience is a good one, she said, because if it isn’t, then they will always associate that action or thing with fear. Because animals are thinking-specific, they get fear memories and the problem with those memories is that you can never totally erase them, said Grandin.

For example, there was a horse that had a frightening experience at a vet clinic. At the time of the incident, the man who had caused the fear was wearing a black hat. After that incident, the horse was afraid of all black hats because it associated the hat with the memory of the fear experience.

With this understanding, Grandin recommends that farmers properly prepare their animals before they go to slaughter by getting them accustomed to people walking through the barn.

“I think it’s extremely important for people to walk through their finishing barn, and get the animals accustomed to people walking through them, because pigs differentiate between a man in the pen and a man in the alley,” she said. “You see; if the first time the pig’s experiencing a man in the pen is the day it’s shipped out to the slaughter plant, they’re going to go berserk. You need to get pigs used to having people walk through.”

The same concept, she said, applies to poultry. “Where you’re going to have trouble, and where it doesn’t work great, is if that farmer hasn’t walked that barn,” she warns. “…Turkeys go berserk. And I’ve seen that with chickens too. Before you get there, as a custom crew catching those turkeys, that farmer needs to have walked through that barn – not the day before – so they don’t freak out.”

On educating the public
Educating the public could solve a lot of the problems in agriculture, Grandin said. “People don’t know the most basic things,” she said. “There are school kids that think that eggs grow in the ground like potatoes.”

Grandin suggests that growers and producers share knowledge through YouTube videos. “When you type ‘cattle rancher’ or ‘feedlot’ in YouTube, you get a lot of pictures of people doing just normal stuff like feed trucks dishing up some grain, or loaders scooping up some feed,” she said. “That may be chores to you, but to a lot of people in non-agricultural fields, a loader scooping up feed is interesting.”

For those who raise poultry, and as a good example of what can be done with cameras, Grandin suggests looking at J.S. West’s chicken cam – a live chicken camera in an enriched cage system.

On chickens
“I’ve seen some furnished caged systems – or enriched cage systems – that give a hen some of the things that she actually wants, like a private nest box,” said Grandin.

“There are certain things that a hen wants,” she explains. “She wants a private place to lay her eggs, because when chickens lived out in the wild if she laid her eggs in the clearing, then a fox ate them. If she hid in the bushes, then the fox didn’t eat them. So you have an instinctual behaviour motivated by fear to hide. That’s why they need a private nest box.

“They also want perches and a place to scratch and then full height, so they can walk their little walk,” she continues. “And express their chicken-ness.”

Published in Welfare

Aug. 17, 2012 - A recent research paper has gotten a lot of press lately for saying that people who eat more eggs had more plaque in their arteries, and equated it to as bad for you as smoking cigarettes.

However, according to ABC News, cardiologists are saying that the study is inherently flawed becauses it was a survey that depended on recollection and did not take other dietary factors into consideration.

“This is very poor quality research that should not influence patient’s dietary choices,” said Dr. Steven Nissen, who chairs the department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, in an email. “It is extremely important to understand the differences between ‘association’ and ‘causation’.”

For more on the reactions of the scientific community, please visit ABC News. As well, the original press release for the egg cholesterol research can be viewed here.

Published in Consumer


Aug. 14, 2012 - Newly published research led by Dr. David Spence of Western University, Canada, shows that eating egg yolks accelerates atherosclerosis in a manner similar to smoking cigarettes. Surveying more than 1200 patients, Dr. Spence found regular consumption of egg yolks is about two-thirds as bad as smoking when it comes to increased build-up of carotid plaque, a risk factor for stroke and heart attack. The research is published online in the journal Atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis, also called coronary artery disease, is a disorder of the arteries where plaques, aggravated by cholesterol, form on the inner arterial wall. Plaque rupture is the usual cause of most heart attacks and many strokes. The study looked at data from 1231 men and women, with a mean age of 61.5, who were patients attending vascular prevention clinics at London Health Sciences Centre's University Hospital. Ultrasound was used to establish a measurement of total plaque area and questionnaires were filled out regarding their lifestyle and medications including pack-years of smoking (number of packs per day of cigarettes times the number of years), and the number of egg yolks consumed per week times the number of years consumed (egg yolk-years).

The researchers found carotid plaque area increased linearly with age after age 40, but increased exponentially with pack-years of smoking and egg yolk-years. In other words, compared to age, both tobacco smoking and egg yolk consumption accelerate atherosclerosis. The study also found those eating three or more yolks a week had significantly more plaque area than those who ate two or fewer yolks per week.

"The mantra 'eggs can be part of a healthy diet for healthy people' has confused the issue. It has been known for a long time that a high cholesterol intake increases the risk of cardiovascular events, and egg yolks have a very high cholesterol content. In diabetics, an egg a day increases coronary risk by two to five-fold," says Dr. Spence, a Professor of Neurology at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and the Director of its Stroke Prevention and Atherosclerosis Research Centre (SPARC) at the Robarts Research Institute. "What we have shown is that with aging, plaque builds up gradually in the arteries of Canadians, and egg yolks make it build up faster - about two-thirds as much as smoking. In the long haul, egg yolks are not okay for most Canadians."

Dr. Spence adds the effect of egg yolk consumption over time on increasing the amount of plaque in the arteries was independent of sex, cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking, body mass index and diabetes. And while he says more research should be done to take in possible confounders such as exercise and waist circumference, he stresses that regular consumption of egg yolk should be avoided by persons at risk of cardiovascular disease.

Published in Consumer

Aug. 9, 2012, Salvador, Brazil - Over 80 poultry professionals gathered in Salvador, Brazil for the Alltech Poultry Technical Roundtable ahead of the 24th World Poultry Congress. The theme of the meeting was “From Good to Great: Tapping the Power of Nutrition to Achieve Genetic Potential.” Four speakers of international renown challenged the attendees to think differently about poultry nutrition.

Global Poultry Director for Alltech, Paulo Rigolin, said “Brazil succeeded in overcoming major obstacles over the past 30 years to become a significant player in today's global market. However as the marketplace becomes more consolidated, the industry as a whole faces similar new challenges, many of which can only be tackled by rethinking poultry nutrition.”

Dr. Gonzalo González Mateos, from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain, emphasized that poultry production is changing very rapidly and the industry needs to adapt to this situation. Amino acids, feed conversion ratio and energy are still very important, but we should begin to focus on other areas now. In particular, his comments regarding the potential threats caused by thermal treatments such as pelleting and expanders dominated much of the discussion during the breakout session that followed.

In his talk on breeder nutrition, Dr. Carlos Borges, formerly of Perdigao, told attendees that genetic evolution must be accompanied by nutritional adjustments in broiler breeders. Dr. Borges referenced the main benefits of using enzymes in breeders, such as the reduction of pathogenic bacteria and improvement in stool quality. This in turn results in fewer dirty eggs and less contamination of the eggs and chicks in the incubator.

Dr. Fernando Rutz, University of Pelotas, who spoke to the attendees on early nutrition, highlighted that nutritional advancement has not kept pace with advancements in genetic selection and therefore does not yield the benefits perceived by consumers. In addition Dr. Rutz said, “Epigenetics, in-ovo nutrition and post-hatch dietary conditioning are the keys for programming the genetic expression potential for breeder, embryo and chick nutrition.”

Veterinarian Mueez Ahmad, of Neogen, spoke on the subject of intestinal health management and shared insights into his program for raising antibiotic free (ABF) broilers. In his talk, Dr Ahmad touched on the challenges of fighting diseases such as runting and stunting syndrome (RSS) and clostridial related problems such as Necrotic Enteritis without in-feed antibiotics. In addition to an intestinal health management program including organic acids, probiotics and novel yeast carbohydrates (Actigen), Ahmad also listed nutrition, water and flock management as the cornerstones of his strategy to ensure the birds remain healthy and perform optimally.

Commenting on the meeting, Aidan Connolly, Vice President Corporate Accounts, Alltech, said, “We must question the consequences of all nutritional decisions, even received wisdoms. Rarely do conferences reunite representatives of chicken production from 32 countries and provide a blue skies vision of poultry production in the next 20 years.”

Published in Nutrition and Feed

Aug. 7, 2012, Champaign, IL - Researchers at Purdue University have determined the amount of metabolizable energy available to young broiler chickens from dried corn distillers grains (DDG) and dried corn distillers grains with solubles (DDGS). The results of their study appear in an article in a recent issue of Poultry Science, a journal of the Poultry Science Association (PSA).

Currently, more than 35% of the annual U.S. corn crop is being used for ethanol production, resulting in less and more expensive corn for use in diets for poultry and other livestock. As a result, poultry growers have turned to DDG and, more often, DDGS, both byproducts of the ethanol production process, to provide an economically affordable substitute. The challenge, however, has been to accurately determine the energy content of these fermentation byproducts.

“The energy and nutrients of different components of the feed are extracted at different parts of the bird’s digestive tract, and not all of the energy in the feed is actually available to the bird. For example, when feed moves from the ileum to the cecum and large intestine, microbes in the gut will extract a significant portion of the nutrients for their own energy needs. It turns out that the most accurate measure of the energy in DDG and DDGS available to the bird is the “ileal digestible energy” or IDE, most of which can be utilized by the animal. Hence, determining the IDE value was the focus of our research,” said Dr. Layi Adeola, the article’s lead author and a professor in Purdue’s Department of Animal Sciences.

IDE reflects the energy digested and absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract up to the ileum.

In addition to IDE, the researchers determined the metabolizable energy (ME) and nitrogen-corrected metabolizable energy (MEn) contents of corn DDG and DDGS. All determinations were for 6-week-old broiler chickens using a multiple linear regression method. In each case the researchers found a roughly 500 kcal-per-kg of DM (dry matter) difference between DDG and DDGS, with DDGS having the higher value:

IDE (kcal/kg) 2,428 2,922 494
ME (kcal/kg) 2,279 2,800 521
MEn (kcal/kg) 2,176 2,688 512

In an earlier study, the authors studied the ME and MEn using 3-week-old broilers and found significant differences compared with the current study, leading them to conclude that the ability of broilers to extract energy from these byproducts varies with age.

Considerations for Growers – Fat Content

Studies have shown that when the solubles are added back to corn DDG, the fat content rises from approximately 8% to 10.5% in corn DDGS. Due to the significant increase in fat prices concomitant with the increase in the cost of corn, some DDGS producers are skimming off some of the oil and selling it directly to growers rather than adding it back to DDGS.

“The result,” said Dr. Adeola, “is that the fat content of DDGS on the market is getting progressively lower – down from around 10% to just 4-5%, which of course impacts the amount of energy that will be available to the bird. The DDGS in our study had a fat content of around 10%, so growers should keep this in mind and be aware of the fat content of the DDGS that they are buying. Given that fat is not preferentially used as an energy source by gut microbes, it will be interesting to see in future studies if the differential in IDE and MEn of fat extracted DDGS is similar to what was observed in high oil products.”

About PSA

The Poultry Science Association (PSA) is a global scientific society dedicated to the discovery and dissemination of knowledge generated by poultry research – knowledge that enhances human and animal health and well-being, and provides for the ethical, sustainable, and economical production of food. Founded in 1908, PSA has a global membership of about 1,300. For more information, go to

Published in Nutrition and Feed

Aug. 2, 2012 - More than 250 veterinarians and poultry production specialists from 36 countries in Europe, the Middle East, North and South America and Africa participated in the Merial Avian Forum in Italy's capital city in early July.

The Forum provided an opportunity to share updates on avian immunosuppressive diseases and novel vector vaccine technology.

"Merial strongly believes in bringing new information and educational programs to the avian industry, while providing a forum for sharing veterinary field experience across the globe to improve poultry health and production" said Jérôme Baudon, Head of Global Strategic Marketing Avian.

One of Merial's firm commitments in the avian field is to form relationships with its customers. Over the course of the three-day Forum, participants heard presentations on the latest science relating to poultry immunity from a dozen world-recognized experts in their respective fields. Subjects ranged from the basics of the avian immune system, the devastating effects of Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) and Marek's Disease (MD) on chickens, and control of the disease, as well as an overview of the history of vaccine development and a preview of future developments.

"The control of IBD and MD remains one of the key challenges in the reduction of immune suppression", said Dr. Thomas Zwercher, Merial's Marketing Director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. "But better control methods are being developed, both in classical vaccines and using new technology, including the first vector vaccine, VAXXITEK HVT+IBD, developed by Merial and now licensed for use in more than 65 countries," he said.

The theme of the Forum was "One protection is not enough." "The immune system represents a key asset to build a solid protection against a series of infectious agents and to preserve optimal health status, said Zwercher.

Dr. Francesco Prandini, Technical Manager for Merial EMEA and Professor Silke Rautenschlein (Hannover University) presented new data validating that VAXXITEK HVT+IBD is the only existing vaccine which brings proven protection to the immune system of broilers and layers, fulfilling the final objective where birds fully express their genetic potential and achieve the best performance and return on investment for producers." This was confirmed in the field, according to reports in a Round Table session, in which customers from China, Brazil, Egypt, Spain, the United Kingdom and France enthusiastically highlighted the economic benefits of using VAXXITEK HVT+IBD vaccine in broilers and layers. "Since its first launch in 2006 in Brazil, it is estimated that over 19 billion chickens have been vaccinated worldwide with VAXXITEK HVT+IBD."

Merial is a Sanofi company. For more information, please visit:

Published in Health

Jul. 30, 2012, Ottawa, ON - The Public Health Agency of Canada has launched its video series Something you ate?The four-part series explains how the Agency detects and investigates outbreaks of foodborne illness, also commonly known as food poisoning.

The first two episodes are now available.

Episode 1: Outbreak Response--The Big Picture (response summary)
Episode 2: Tracking the Source (epidemiological investigation)

The videos were developed to help Canadians understand how an investigation into outbreaks of foodborne illness unfolds. They can be viewed individually, but together they tell the full story of our outbreak response and explain how people can protect themselves against illness.

The videos will be released on the PHAC website and YouTube channel on a weekly basis. We invite you to watch and share them with your audiences through your social media networks as well as through traditional streams.

Each video will be supported by extra web material, including links to our new fact sheets on pathogens, interactive material and the Government of Canada food safety web portal.

Watch for new episodes on these dates:

August 3--Episode 3: Tales from the Lab (lab investigation)
August 10--Episode 4:  Protecting Yourself (food safety tips)

Published in Turkeys

Jul. 30, 2012, New York, NY - Rabobank has published a new Q3 report looking at the challenges facing the global poultry industry as a consequence of the recent, dramatic run-up in feed input costs due primarily to deteriorating crop conditions in the United States. The low stock levels in global grain and oilseed markets render these markets very sensitive for short term changes in supply and demand.

The report, authored by Rabobank's Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group, says that poultry industries all over the world are now facing margin pressures, and only a few regions can escape this new challenging situation. Russian suppliers are now partly being compensated by subsidies, and the U.S. industry is reaping the benefits of recent production cut-backs, which have greatly improved U.S. market balance and should give the industry more power to pass on higher costs to customers. Still, the report says, poultry companies in all regions are facing shrinking margins despite relatively high beef and pork prices.

Rabobank outlines the key elements that will enable the global poultry industry to deal with current market dynamics

  1. adequate industry discipline
  2. efficiency
  3. market power
  4. risk management

Rabobank concludes in its report that these elements are proven to be the key ingredients for the poultry industry to escape the volatile environment of high input costs.

About Rabobank

Rabobank Group is a global financial services leader providing wholesale and retail banking, asset management, leasing, real estate services, and renewable energy project financing. Founded over a century ago, Rabobank is one of the largest banks in the world, with nearly $1 trillion in assets and operations in more than 40 countries, and is among the highest rated private banks by S&P and Moody's. Internationally Rabobank focuses on food and agriculture and in North America it is a premier bank to the food, beverage and agribusiness industry.  Rabobank's Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group is comprised of more than 80 analysts around the world who provide expert analysis, insight and counsel to Rabobank clients about trends, issues and developments in all major sectors of agriculture. For more information, visit

Published in Researchers

Jul. 30, 2012, Fresno, CA - Fresno State has broken ground on the new Foster Farms Poultry Education and Research Facility, set to open in time for the spring semester in 2013.

According to the Fresno State website, the 16,000 square-foot building will be a state-of-the-art educational facility donated by Fresno Farms with a focus on eco-friendly research and poultry production. The building will be used by faculty and students in the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.

“Our students and faculty are thrilled about this exciting addition to our college,” said Dr. Charles Boyer, dean of the Jordan College. “The center will allow students to perform in-depth research, participate in hands-on learning and gain job skills in one of the leading agricultural industries.”

For more information on the new building and its construction, please visit the Fresno State website.

Published in Housing

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