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Raise Poultry More Sustainably Without Sacrificing Performance

5 minute read

As consumer demands for high quality, safe and sustainably produced protein continues to skyrocket, we know that poultry is an incredible solution. However, given the speed of this rise in demand, animal protein will need to be produced more efficiently than ever, while improving the productivity, profitability and environmental impacts of that production. 

Environmentally sustainable poultry production starts by reducing excess nutrients in the diet. Doing so prevents them from being wasted via excretion while maintaining performance and health status of the flock. High trace mineral inclusion in commercial diets has become a critical point of discussion on how to achieve more sustainable animal production.  

With this in mind, several research experiments were conducted to further understand the effects of decreasing total mineral supplementation levels in diets with complete or partial substitution of inorganic minerals. 

Better Nutrition Improves Feed Conversion and Breast Meat Yield 

In several broiler studies, supplementation of 80 ppm of inorganic zinc was fully replaced by 40 ppm of Zn from Zinpro® Availa® Zn, decreasing total mineral supplementation by 50%.

This resulted in a 34% reduction in excretion of zinc, half a point improvement in feed conversion ratio (FCR) and a 0.6% improvement in breast meat yield (BMY) with a carcass hematoma score reduction of 18%. 

In another study with low levels of inorganic minerals, a mineral premix consisting of zinc, manganese, copper, iron and selenium from inorganic sources was replaced with Zinpro Availa Zn, Zinpro® Availa® Mn, Zinpro® Availa® Cu, Zinpro® Availa® Fe and Zinpro® Availa® Se at 50% of the original supplementation rate.

This resulted in an improvement of 2.7 points in FCR.

These studies suggest that swapping all of the inorganic trace minerals in a diet with Zinpro Performance Minerals can maintain and improve broiler production, and lessen environmental mineral contamination. 

Replacing 100 ppm with Zinpro Performance Minerals

When it comes to substituting increased levels of inorganic minerals with Zinpro Performance Minerals in poultry diets, a popular approach is partial replacement. To demonstrate this, research was conducted with broiler diets supplemented with 100 ppm inorganic zinc or a reduced total zinc supplementation with the inclusion of 40 ppm Zinpro Availa Zn.  

The birds fed 40 ppm of zinc from Zinpro Availa Zn saw an improvement of 2.3 points in FCR and 0.5% in BMY. 

In another study, birds were fed one of two diets. The first diet consisted of a basal diet of zinc, manganese, copper, iron and selenium from inorganic sources. The other diet included the basal diet plus Zinpro Availa Zn, Zinpro Availa Mn, Zinpro Availa Cu, Zinpro Availa Fe and Zinpro Availa Se as a partial replacement.  

The birds that were fed Zinpro Performance Minerals experienced a 12% reduction in footpad score (FPS) (P <0.06). All other metrics, including performance, carcass parameters, litter quality and carcass scratches and bruises had similar favorable results. 

The data suggests that an increase in performance trace mineral supplementation offers more opportunities for less inorganic minerals fed with increased benefits, even if in a partial manner.

Replacing 120 ppm with Zinpro Performance Minerals

Taking this approach a step further, more studies were conducted with even higher levels of total mineral supplementation. In one study, we replaced 120 ppm of inorganic zinc to a total supplementation of 80 ppm, including 40 ppm of inorganic zinc and 40 ppm of zinc from Zinpro Availa Zn.  

This improved FCR by 3.3 pts and reduced fecal zinc excretion to the environment by 26%. 

All these studies consistently showed that decreasing inorganic mineral levels in broiler diets when supplementing Zinpo Performance Minerals promotes less environmental mineral shedding while consistently maintaining and/or improving poultry production. 

Zinpro Performance Minerals Reduce Bacterial Challenges 

A sustainable approach in poultry farming, such as reducing the total mineral supplementation level, must work in all kinds of scenarios. In the face of an enteric challenge, replacing inorganic trace minerals with lower levels of organic minerals helped maintain and/or improve birds’ health and welfare in all the following studies.

In two other consecutive studies, broilers challenged with Staphylococcus agnetis (S. agnetis), were provided one of two diets: a basal diet supplemented with either inorganic zinc, manganese and copper or a combination of inorganic minerals with a partial replacement of Zinpro Availa Zn, Zinpro Availa Mn and Zinpro Availa Cu. In both studies, there were no differences in performance between treatments.  

However, birds receiving Zinpro Performance Minerals saw a reduction in the incidence of bacterial chondronecrosis with osteomyelitis (BCO) lameness by 30% and 27% at 49 and 56 days, respectively. 

Furthermore, birds fed Zinpro Performance Minerals had up to 5% reduction in femoral head necrosis and 6% reduction in tibial head necrosis compared to birds fed inorganic minerals.  

An improvement of 18% in jejunum and ileum villi height, a higher jejunum occludin protein expression (P <0.05) and a 39% reduction in S. agnetis survival rate to macrophage activity was observed in birds supplemented with Zinpro Performance Minerals. 

Don’t Forget: Food Safety Impacts Sustainability  

Human health is another critical component of sustainability, and the poultry industry plays an important role in ensuring food safety. One of the ways we can contribute to that is by improving the health of animals. In a university study, broilers challenged with Salmonella Typhimurium and fed  Zinpro Availa Zn had lower fecal loads and prevalence of Salmonella, contributing to a safer, healthier and more  cost-effective food source for consumers. 

Sustainable Poultry Production: More Benefits with Less Product 

In the research studies described above, the consistency in the overall results obtained shows that by substituting inorganic minerals with Zinpro Performance Minerals, we were able to reduce the overall level of trace mineral supplementation while maintaining or even improving growth performance and the health status of the birds. 

This mineral strategy is proof of how Zinpro contributes to a healthier and more sustainable world, not only from the environmental standpoint but also by making agriculture more profitable and maintaining a healthy and safe food supply.

Contact your Zinpro representative today to learn more or visit