Improving Chicken Health with Grape Waste and Aloe Vera Gel

Jenn Hoskins
22nd March, 2024

Improving Chicken Health with Grape Waste and Aloe Vera Gel

Image Source: Wanran Yang (photographer)

Key Findings

  • Study in densely stocked broilers found 1% Aloe vera in water boosts growth and feed efficiency
  • Higher Aloe vera doses (>1%) didn't further improve chicken performance
  • Aloe vera also improved chicken welfare, indicated by better movement quality
In the quest to optimize poultry farming, scientists from North-West University have conducted a study[1] exploring the combined effects of Aloe vera gel (AVG) and red grape pomace powder (RGP) on broiler chickens. This research is particularly relevant as the poultry industry grapples with challenges like antibiotic resistance and the need for sustainable, high-density farming practices. The study's primary aim was to determine whether AVG, when added to drinking water, and RGP, included in the diet, could improve the health and growth of broilers raised in densely populated environments. This is crucial because high stocking densities can lead to stress, reduced welfare, and lower meat quality in broilers[2]. The experiment involved 750 male Ross 308 broilers, a common breed in poultry production, which were two weeks old at the start. These birds were densely stocked at 30 per cage, reflecting conditions that are often found in intensive farming operations. The researchers divided the birds into several groups, with one group receiving a standard diet as a control (CON), while the other groups were fed the same diet with the addition of 30g of RGP per kilogram and varying concentrations of AVG in their water—ranging from 1% to 4%. Interestingly, the group that received a 1% AVG solution (GPA1) showed a significant increase in overall weight gain and an improved feed conversion ratio (FCR), which measures the efficiency with which birds convert feed into body mass. These findings echo earlier studies that highlighted the potential of Aloe vera as a beneficial additive in poultry diets, capable of replacing antibiotics without adverse effects on bird health or performance[3][4]. Moreover, the study observed positive quadratic effects on certain blood parameters and meat quality indicators, including mean corpuscular hemoglobin and breast meat yellowness. This suggests that AVG could be influencing the physiological traits of the birds, possibly due to its bioactive compounds that have been previously noted to improve immune status and act as antibacterial agents[4]. One welfare indicator, the gait score, which assesses the quality of the birds' movement and can be an indicator of their comfort and well-being, was lowest in the GPA2 group, indicating better mobility than the control group. This aligns with the notion that additives like AVG can enhance the welfare of broilers, especially in high-density settings[2]. However, the benefits of AVG did not increase linearly with higher doses. In fact, AVG concentrations above 1% did not further improve the performance or physiological traits. This finding is significant as it suggests that while AVG has potential as a feed additive, there is an optimal concentration for its use, beyond which no additional benefits are gained. In summary, the North-West University study has provided evidence that a combination of dietary RGP and 1% AVG in drinking water can improve growth performance, feed efficiency, and welfare indicators in densely stocked broiler chickens. This research not only contributes to the ongoing efforts to find sustainable alternatives to antibiotics in poultry farming but also offers practical insights into the management of broilers under high stocking densities. The study's findings could therefore have significant implications for the poultry industry, promoting healthier, more efficient, and welfare-friendly farming practices.

NutritionAgricultureAnimal Science

References

Main Study

1) Use of red grape pomace and Aloe vera gel as nutraceuticals to ameliorate stocking density-induced stress in commercial male broilers.

Published 20th March, 2024

https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-024-03943-x


Related Studies

2) Stocking density-induced changes in growth performance, blood parameters, meat quality traits, and welfare of broiler chickens reared under semi-arid subtropical conditions.

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0275811


3) Influence of Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis M.) as an alternative to antibiotics on the growth performance, carcass characteristics and haemato-biochemical indices of broiler chickens.

https://doi.org/10.1002/vms3.1099


4) Aloe vera: A Sustainable Green Alternative to Exclude Antibiotics in Modern Poultry Production.

https://doi.org/10.3390/antibiotics12010044



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