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Forskningsartikel - Refereegranskat, 2022

Evaluation of early feed access and algal extract on growth performance, organ development, gut microbiota and vaccine-induced antibody responses in broiler chickens

Ivarsson, Emma; Wattrang, Eva; Sun, Li; Cervin, Gunnar; Pavia, Henrik; Wall, Helena


Hatching concepts such as on-farm hatching provide an opportunity to supply newly hatched chickens with optimal nutrition that support growth and development of a healthy gut. Brown algae contain bioactive compounds, especially laminarin and fucoidan that may improve intestinal health and immune responses. This study aimed to examine the effects of early access to feed and water posthatch and feed supplementation with algal extract rich in laminarin from Laminaria digitata, on growth performance, organ and microbiota development and antibody production. A total of 432 Ross 308 chicks were allotted to 36 rearing pens in a 2 x 3 factorial design with two hatching treatments and three dietary treatments. During chick placement, half of the pens were directly provided access to feed and water (Early) while half of the pens were deprived of feed and water for 38 h (Late). The chicks were fed three different starter diets until day 6; a wheat-soybean meal-based control diet, a diet with low inclusion of algal extract (0.057%) and a diet with high inclusion of algal extract (0.114%). Feed intake and BW were registered on pen basis at placement, days 1, 6, 12, 19, 26, 33 and 40. To induce antibody responses, all chicks were vaccinated against avian pneumovirus on day 10. Three chicks per pen were selected as focal animals and used for blood sampling on days 10 and 39. On days 6, 19, and 40, two birds per pen were killed and used for organ measurement and caecal digesta sampling for gut microbiota analysis using the Illumina Miseq PE 250 sequencing platform. Results showed that algal extract did not influence gut microbiota, gut development or vaccine-induced antibody responses. However, during the first 38 h, early-fed chicks consumed on average 19.6 g of feed and gained 27% in BW, while late-fed chicks lost 9.1% in BW which lowered BW and feed intake throughout the study (P < 0.05). Late chicks also had longer relative intestine, higher relative (g/kg BW) weight of gizzard and proventriculus but lower relative bursa weight on day 6 (P < 0.05). No effects of hatching treatment on microbiota or antibody response were detected. The microbiota was affected by age, where alpha diversity increased with age. In conclusion, this study showed that early access to feed but not algal extract improved the growth performance throughout the 40-day growing period, and stimulated early bursa development.(c) 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of The Animal Consortium. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (


Brown algae; Gut health; Hatching; Immunity; Laminarin

Publicerad i

2022, Volym: 16, nummer: 5, artikelnummer: 100522
Utgivare: ELSEVIER