Effect of an acidifier as replacement for antibiotics on the performance and gut morphology of broilers
An experiment was conducted to determine the influence of an acidifier as an alternative to antibiotics on the performance and gut morphology of broiler chickens. One hundred and eighty (180) 7-day old broiler chicks were randomly assigned to 3 dietary treatments of 4 replicates each. Each replicate had 15 birds. The diets fed to the birds were: Treatment 1- diet with neither antibiotic nor acidifier; Treatment 2- diet with antibiotic and Treatment 3- diet with acidifier. The antibiotic used was Enrofloxacin which was administered to the birds on Treatment 2 via their drinking water while the acidifier used was Biotronic SE (a combination of propionic and formic acids) which was added to the diet of birds on Treatment 3 at the rate of 4kg/tonne of feed. The experiment lasted 42 days. No significant differences were observed in the feed intake, final weight and weight gain of the birds on the different diets. Significant differences were however observed in the villus height in the duodenum and ileum of the birds. The crypt depth values in the different segments of the small intestines of the birds were not significantly affected by the different treatments.
Key words: Organic acids, Biotronic SE, Enrofloxacin, Crypt, villus.