The broilers are fast growers and their feed intake rises rapidly every day. This higher demand places higher stress on intestine and gut microflora. With ever intensifying predisposing factors, it takes just one thing to disrupt the balance, like increased alternate raw materials, season, diet density, increased clostridial load, & higher use of antibiotics, lead to disturbed gut health signs. Leading to flock being treated prophylactically for enteritis. Whereas in therapeutic treatments, there is a high probability of induced dysbacteriosis.
Specific signals from gut
A broiler bird is allowed ad-libitum feeding; thus, its feed intake increases constantly with age. As discussed with the increase in age & feeding, the predisposing factors increase too and it may affect the gut health. The tangible differences that gut signals primarily include,
- Ballooning because of weakened gut wall muscles,
- Inflamed intestine with clearly visible blood vessels,
- Gut wall curls back when cut open lengthwise – disturbance in peristalsis,
- Thinning of intestinal wall, due to thin muscle layer with low tensile strength.
Specific signals from droppings
The changes inside the gut results in change in consistency of droppings. We can tell a lot about birds’ general gut health from their droppings. The brown caecal dropping which is usually smooth & firm can take several forms, including undigested feed residues as a common finding,
- Caecal droppings with blood (Coccidiosis)
- Orange-red mucus and some blood; (Enteritis)
- Wet dropping with or without mucus, with a wet patch of uric acid (Kidney damage)
- Green dropping– Starved bird
Feather coat (plumage) will also tell you a great deal about the health of its gut. The uneven feathers or broken or twisted feathers (helicopter wings)
Solution to explore
In order to get the right signals from gut health, need to have right strategies for keeping the balanced microflora as well as keeping the control on other manageable conditions as a parallel activity.
Anticipate and control intestinal health disorders before they take hold on your farm. Examining droppings daily in the poultry house allows you to identify the first signs of an unbalanced gut.
Chart – This chart is intended to be used only as a guide to identify intestinal disorders on the farm.