Effect of carbohydrase and protease on growth performance and gut health of young broilers fed diets containing rye, wheat, and feather meal
An experiment was conducted to characterize a gut health challenge model consisting of a diet containing rye, wheat, and feather meal and a mild mixed-species Eimeria challenge, and to evaluate the effect of carbohydrase and protease on growth performance and gut health of young broilers. The study included 4 treatments: negative control, carbohydrase alone, protease alone, and combination of carbohydrase and protease. Each test diet was fed to 18 battery pens of broilers with 8 male birds per pen from 0 to 22 d of age. Carbohydrase improved body weight, feed intake, and feed conversion ratio (FCR) on d 7, 14, and 21(P < 0.01). Protease increased body weight on d 7 and 21 and improved 0 to 7 d FCR (P < 0.05). More lymphocyte infiltration was observed in small intestine mucosa of negative control birds on d 8, carbohydrase supplementation lessened this. Both carbohydrase and protease reduced digesta viscosity on d 22 with the carbohydrase effect being the greater of the two, and the combination effect was not different from the carbohydrase effect alone (P < 0.01). Ileal Clostridium perfringens of 15-day-old broilers was decreased by carbohydrase, a further reduction was achieved by combining carbohydrase with protease (P = 0.01). Liver vitamin E concentration on d 15 (P < 0.01) and 22 (P = 0.02) was increased by carbohydrase, and the carbohydrase effect was greater in the presence of protease on d 22 (P = 0.04). Plasma α-1-acid glycoprotein level and liver Zn and Cu concentrations of broilers were reduced by carbohydrase on d 15 (P < 0.01). Broilers fed carbohydrase had higher levels of plasma zeaxanthin on d 22 and higher levels of plasma lutein on d 15 and 22 (P < 0.01). In summary, a rye wheat based diet containing feather meal when fed to broilers in addition to a mild Eimeria challenge induced subclinical enteritis characterized by digestion inefficiency, dysbacteriosis, inflammation, and gut barrier failure; carbohydrase and protease could be effective tools to improve growth performance and gut health of broilers suffering from this type of subclinical enteritis.