Skin quality can be a major issue in broiler production, hampering economical return when too many carcasses are condemned or declassified. Solving these issues requires a complex multifactorial approach involving genetics, farm management, abattoir processes and nutrition. The trace minerals Zn, Cu and Mn will not alone solve all these issues, but their contribution should be considered in an action plan for improvement. These metals are essentially coenzymes in many biological pathways. This is particularly true for the production of key proteins with a role in skin structural integrity like collagen, elastin, and keratin. Their supply is indispensable, though they should be delivered in very small quantities. Thus, they are indeed “trace” minerals. They should also not be in excess to avoid biologic toxicity or competition between metals. The availability of more bioavailable sources of Zn, Cu, and Mn, such as chelates of methionine analogue, makes it necessary to reevaluate the way these metals are supplied in the feed and, specifically, how they impact tissue integrity. The presence in the market of significantly more available sources of Zn, Cu and Mn, as chelates of methionine analogue, leads to reconsider the way these metals are supplied in the feed with a particular attention towards their impact on tissue integrity.
An evaluation was conducted to review the impact of reduced supplies of Zn, Cu and Mn with chelates of methionine analogue compared to standard commercial levels of inorganic sources on broiler production and carcass quality.
The trial was conducted in 2014 by Zootestsand organized in a large scale broiler organization which produces birds with a target weight of 1.850kg, killed at 35-36 days, and a feed conversion ratio of 1.75.
20 houses where selected and divided into 2 groups of 10 replicates. The first group received feed including MINTREX® and the second group received a similar feed with inorganic trace minerals. One flock from each treatment group was selected per week. Previous technical performance had to be similar for the 2 flocks of the same week and flocks with previously recurrent technical problems were discarded.
- The feed phases and formulations of the control feed were standard in the organization. The only difference of the MINTREX treatment was the complete substitution of the inorganic sources of Zn, Cu and Mn with the metal chelates of methionine analogue at lower dosages (Table 1) .
- As MINTREX is also a significant source of methionine, a correction was made to methionine in this treatment so that the two treatments were isomethionine.
ConclusionIn a large scale trial involving a broiler organization, the substitution of inorganic Zn, Cu and Mn with lower levels of the same metal chelates of methionine analogue (as MINTREX) allowed to significantly improve the birds homogeneity and the carcass quality at the processing plant.This work demonstrates the value of using MINTREX, a highly available source of key trace minerals in broiler feed, at reduced levels.