Utilizing original XPC™ in feed to reduce stress susceptibility of broilers
Reduction of stress is an important factor in improving poultry welfare, especially during periods of heat stress. A study was conducted to evaluate the effects of feeding the functional metabolites of Diamond V Original XPCTM to broilers reared under ambient or heat stress temperatures. Dietary treatments included: control feed (CON) and Original XPC fed continuously at 1.25 kg/MT (XPC). Half the birds in each dietary treatment were subjected to either no heat stress (24°C constant) or heat stress (35°C:24°C for 18:6 h daily) from 28 to 42 d. At the end of the heat stress period, blood was collected from 40 birds/treatment. Blood was analyzed for plasma corticosterone (CORT), plasma HSP70 (HSP70), and heterophil/lymphocyte ratios (H/L). At 42 d, bilateral metatarsal traits were also measured in 40 birds/treatment to assess physical asymmetry. Birds fed XPC had significantly lower CORT levels than CON (P < 0.001; 5,129 ± 617 vs. 8,433 ± 730, respectively). Physical asymmetry scores were also significantly higher in CON compared to XPC fed broilers (P < 0.001; 1.50 ± 0.13 vs. 0.54 ± 0.05, respectively). H/L ratios were significantly greater in CON than for XPC birds (P = 0.01; 0.81 ± 0.05 mm vs. 0.62 ± 0.05 mm, respectively). No differences were observed between CON and XPC fed broilers in HSP70. However, heat stress did increase (P < 0.0001) HSP70 compared to no heat stress birds (5.65 ± 0.12 vs. 4.78 ± 0.11 pg/mL, for heat stress and no heat stress, respectively). Feeding XPC to broiler chickens improved animal welfare via reduced stress indicators while under heat stress or no heat stress conditions. These results indicate that feeding XPC may improve poultry welfare by reducing heat stress susceptibility.