Organic acids for broilers: Effects on intestinal morphology and growth performance
Keywords:ammonium propionate, ammonium formate, blood pH, broilers, drinking water, growth performance, intestinal morphometry, formic acid, propionic acid
Background: Organic acids and ammonium salts added to drinking water can optimize productivity of broiler chickens. Objective: To evaluate the effect of acidifying drinking water on productive performance, blood and intestinal pH, and intestinal morphology of broilers. Methods: 1,400 one-day-old broiler chicks were used to evaluate two pH levels (4 and 6) of drinking water during three periods (1-21, 1-28, and 1-42 days of age). The treatments consisted of water added with a blend of formic acid (31%), propionic acid (19%), and their salts ammonium formate (26%), and ammonium propionate (6%) compared to a control group (pH 8). Results: Compared to the control, the groups consuming water at pH 6 (0.038 moles) continuously for 42 days improved (p≤0.01) live weight (2.785 vs 2.691 kg), feed conversion ratio (1.430 vs 1.463 kg/kg), and increased the number of intestinal villi (59.0 vs 55.7). Additionally, blood and intestinal pH was reduced vs the control group (7.75 vs 7.89; 6.32 vs 6.41, respectively). Conclusion: The blend of formic and propionic acids and their ammonium salts in drinking water at pH 6 during the complete production cycle of broilers improves performance, increases the number of intestinal villi, and reduces the pH of blood, duodenum, and ileum.
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