WHAT IS THE SFW PROGRAMME?
SFW is a programme put together by Professor Steve Collett of the Georgia State University in conjunction with St David's Poultry Team, LMS and Alltech. The system is designed to improve gut health, aid the reduction of the use of antibiotics and the incidence of footpad lesions. The programme involves the application of a probiotic at the commencement of a crop (Seed), supplying a bespoke mix of short chain fatty acids (Feed) and cleaning the drinker lines and supplying feed ingredients which reduce bacterial adhesion to the gut wall (Weed).
EARLY GUT DEVELOPMENT
The importance of early gut development is often underestimated. The efficiency of digestion and absorption is directly proportional to the surface area and integrity of the intestinal epithelial lining. A series of villi and microvilli adorn the epithelial surface which increases the surface area approximately 600 times. This intricate design allows the flow of water and the absorption of nutrients to occur on a continuous basis, whilst also preventing microbial inhabitants and toxic metabolites from entering the body. The relationship between the gut microbiota and host is crucial to normal function. A breakdown in this relationship stimulates a cascade of events which cause inflammation and gastrointestinal disease.
Low grade enteric disease is the most common cause of depressed feed efficiency and the development of unfavourable rearing conditions. The intestinal tract is where feed is digested and absorbed so that even the slightest deviation from optimal function results in depressed biological and economic efficiency. Compromised digestion and absorption results in diarrhoea and wet litter. Wet litter can jeapardise bird health and welfare, compromise food safety, and marketability of the final product.
MICROBIAL COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT
Long term productivity can be affected by even minor changes in the microbial community composition. The efficiency of nutrient utilisation hinges on the early establishment and maintenance of a beneficial gut environment. The SFW programme is designed to nurture the favourable organisms.
WHAT RESULTS CAN BE EXPECTED
- Enhanced gut health
- Dry litter
- Improved footpad integrity
- Improved FCR
- Improved weights
In order for the programme to succeed it should be implemented alongside good husbandry practices. Other determining factors include concurrent disease, chick quality, vaccination and feed.
THE ROLE OF LMS
LMS are responsible for supplying the short chain fatty acids and cleaning the water and drinker lines. This is achieved with the installation of an automated dosing system which administers a blend of acids through one pump and a chlorine product through the other. The acid product aims to lower the pH to aid biofilm removal and improve the efficiency of the chlorine product as well as supplying the essential short chain fatty acids. The chlorine product acts to remove bacteria from the water and prevent any additional biofilm buildup.
Upon commencement of the programme each farm is supplied with meters to test the pH and ORP of the drinking water. This has to be carried out daily with a sample of water from the end of the drinker line in each of the sheds on the farm. The system can easily be altered to ensure these measurements remain within the target range.