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July 14, 2022

Drinking water is a critical element in animal husbandry, not only because of its importance in nutrition and welfare, but also because it can be a gateway for different pathogens. This is particularly true for broilers, where various bacteria can easily proliferate in the water lines, especially in the biofilm. In this context, the use of liquid water acidifiers is essential, as it has a double effect on broiler health. On the one hand, there is a direct effect by acidifying the crop of the birds, which has been shown to reduce Salmonella, Campylobacter and Clostridia populations. On the other hand, there is an indirect effect by limiting the development of biofilm caused by lowering the pH of the drinking water.

Among the liquid acidifiers, Norel produces Gustor L Cu ®, composed of sodium butyrate, formic acid, lactic acid, propionic acid and copper. The latter micromineral has an antibacterial effect and improves the digestion of haemicelluloses, which is why it is widely used in chickens. To measure the effects of the acidifier under commercial conditions, Norel conducted a trial in which Gustor L Cu® was added to broiler drinking water, the results of which were presented at the International Poultry Scientefic Forum (IPSF) 2022.

Ten houses with around 30,000 broilers each were used for the trial. Eight of them were not supplemented (CON, n = 8) and the other two (LCu, n = 2) were supplemented with Gustor L Cu ® during the 34 days of the trial: from day 17 to 50, 24 hours per day. In one of the supplemented houses (LCu-1), the product dose was 1 kg/1000L of water and in the other one (LCu-2) the dose was 0.5 kg/1000L.

The LCu-2 chicks were 125 g heavier (numerical difference) than the CON chicks. Feeding conversion ratio was also compared, for which there was a tendency (P=0.079) to be better for the LCu group chicks (1.65) than for the group without CON supplementation (1.62). Regarding the efficiency index (EPEF), there was a trend in the same direction, with 397.6 for the CON chicks and 414.9 for the LCu chicks (P=0.097).

Another interesting aspect that was calculated for the trial is the feed cost of each group, which was lower in the supplemented birds than in the unsupplemented birds. In the LCu-1 group there was a saving of 0.0034$/bird in medication investment, while in LCu-2 it was 0.0064$/bird. Thus, compared to the CON group, the benefit of LCu-1 was $0.062/bird and $0.16/bird for LCu-2, taking into account the cost of the product and EPEF.

In conclusion, Gustor L Cu® is shown as a liquid acidifier that can improve different performance parameters in broilers, reduces medication costs and increase profit at the end of the rearing period in commercial conditions.

Carlos del Cuvillo
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