Probiotics intake from proximal or distal gastrointestinal tract: The investigation on intestinal morphology and performance of Japanese quail

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In wild life and commercial conditions, birds are exposed to micro‐organism (MO) after and even before hatch. Naqi, Lewis, and Hall (1970) indicated that a bacterial population is present in the small intestine of avian species within 24 hrs after hatch. The MOs established in the host's gastrointestinal tract earlier than the others would colonise and persist throughout the animal lifespan (Ducluzeau, 1993). In this regard, early arrival of beneficial MOs (rather than harmful ones) could provide acquired resistance to the host animal against pathogens by improving health and integrity of digestive tract, acting as an immune modulator and hence resulting in improved performance (Coates & Fuller, 1977). Hatchlings have sterile gut (Pivnick & Nurmi, 1982) so that in wild life they receive microbial flora from parents and surrounding environment, including nest, feed and or other birds’ dropping, whereas in commercial conditions, chicks are hatched from fumigated eggs and are grown in sanitised environment. Thus, the establishment of microbial flora in the chicks’ gut is delayed.
After the ban on using antibiotics as growth promoters in some countries, much attention has been devoted to probiotics as an alternative to growth promoter antibiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria with positive effects on health and growth efficiency of host animals by improving intestinal health (Fuller, 1989). The idea of probiotic supplementation was introduced as Nurmi and Rantala (1973) inoculated young chicks orally with intestinal content from adult birds. Common routes of probiotics administration are in feed and drinking water, but based on the probiotics supplementation hypothesis that is transfer of beneficial MOs immediately after or even before the hatch, it is likely more efficient to use the probiotics as soon as possible around hatch time.
Probiotics are live organisms; therefore, their proliferation in digestive tract may guarantee their presence in adequate numbers over the lifetime. Thus, we hypothesised that the continuous supplementation of probiotics seems to have no further advantages over single‐dose administration granted that probiotics are established successfully. In the present study, the efficacy of early (in hatchery) single‐dose administration of probiotics through cloaca or mouth, two coarsely separated arrival gates, on Japanese quail's performance and intestinal morphology was compared.
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