As omega-3 fatty acids continue to gain positive attention for their implications in brain development and heart health, there is an increase in public demand for omega-3 enriched products. Microalgae, an alternative to fish oil and flaxseed as a source of omega-3 fatty acids, can be incorporated into poultry diets to produce a beneficial fatty acid profile including increased of docosahexaenoic acid (22:6, DHA). As a polyunsaturated fatty acid, DHA is highly susceptible to oxidation. Over time, an increase in fatty acid oxidation may result in an undesirable flavor or odor of foods.
Use of alternative feed ingredients in poultry diets
Typically poultry diets are based on corn and soybean meal. A vareity of different alternative feed ingredients are available for use in poultry diets.Several of these different ingredients have been, and continue to be, studied for use in poultry diets
Use of Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles in poultry diets
There has been a steady increase in the demand for ethanol as part of the government's plan to reduce the U.S. dependency on foreign oil. Ethanol is produced by fermentation of corn, with dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) being the main by-product. With the increasing demand for ethanol, there is an increasing supplying of DDGS. Research has looked at the use of DDGS in poultry diets. At the University of Kentucky we are looking at the use of DDGS in diets for laying hens.
Several feed ingredients contain what are referred to as 'anti-nutritional factors' which are components of a feedstuff that interfere with the digestion of the ingredient and use of the nutrients they contain. Feed enzymes are now available to counter the negative effects of such anti-nutritional factors.
Many small-scale poultry producers, especially those raising poultry on pasture, are looking for alternatives to the commercial strains currently available. Heritage breeds are an option that should be investigated.
Several minerals are required in minute amounts in the diet. These are referred to as trace minerals. Organic forms of trace minerals are found to be more biologically available than inorganic forms currently used in industry.
Use of selenium yeast and natural antioxidants in poultry
Selenium is a required nutrient for poultry and plays an important role is protecting cells from damage. The level of selenium in the feedstuffs used in poultry diets vary depending where in the world they are grown. Grains from some parts of the U.S. can be deficient in selenium. As a result, most poultry feeds contain supplemental.selenium. In the past selenium has been added to the feed in the form of sodium selenite. Recently an organic form has been developed - selenomethionine - which is produced from a particular strain of yeast grown on a medium high in selenium.
In addition to selenium several minerals are needed in very small quantities in poultry diets to ensure proper nutrition. They are referred to a trace minerals and include copper, zinc, iron and manganese. As with selenium, these trace minerals have been routinely added to poultry diets with inorganic mineral sources. Again, organic sources of these trace minerals have been developed which are more readily used by the birds
Mannan-oligosaccharides derived from Saccharomyses cerevisiae cell wall have been found to promote growth and enhance immune responses in food animals.