Alltech introduces new system for antibiotic-free poultry in UK

Publish time: 28th August, 2013      Source:
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August 28, 2013


Alltech introduces new system for antibiotic-free poultry in UK





Georgia State University Professor Steve Collett has developed the ''seed, feed and weed'' system, a new method of rearing chickens which promises to dramatically reduce the need for antibiotics - and ultimately even eliminate it.



Having already been tested in the US, it is now being promoted in the UK by feed nutrition company Alltech UK, which has spent two years trialling it on UK chicken farms in tests involving five million birds.



Under the system, poultry producers feed probiotics to chicks within days of hatching to ''seed'' their intestines with microflora to support the digestion of feed.



Organic acids are then supplied in the chicks'' drinking water - the ''feed'' element - to help improve water quality and reduce the bacteria living in the lower intestine. Supplements are also fed to ''weed out'' harmful pathogens.



The system was designed with the aim of achieving antibiotic-free poultry, and several flocks in the US had already achieved this, claimed Judd Culver, director of poultry solutions at Alltech UK.



However, he added, "At the moment, what ''seed, feed and weed'' is achieving for most producers is reduced antibiotic usage and the ability to manage that antibiotic usage more closely."



Although it cost more than standard production systems, the benefits of ''seed, feed and weed'' would be worth it, said Culver. "It will increase costs to the farmer with the understanding that their flock health will improve over time, reducing the need for antibiotics as desired by the end user."



To date, trials have been run with independent UK poultry producers, but Alltech is now in contact with all the major UK suppliers.