Poultry Future and Options: Research into the Environmental, Physiological, Wellbeing, and Health Challenges Facing Our Industry

A special issue of Poultry (ISSN 2674-1164).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (18 April 2024) | Viewed by 7550

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA
Interests: poultry; molecular genetics; energy homeostasis; physiology

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Guest Editor Assistant
Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA
Interests: poultry; bone health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Although poultry production provides the most efficient, affordable, and nutritious high quality animal proteins (egg and meat) and supports the livelihood and food security of billion of people worldwide, it is facing several substantial challenges. Amongst these challenges is feeding the future and satisfying the increased demand for animal proteins, which is driven by projected growth in human population and economy, and the need to adapt to harsh environmental conditions (droughts, global warming, floods, etc.), limited and already scarce natural resources (water, land, energy), and changing consumer preferences in NAE era.

In this special issue, we welcome colleagues to submit their ongoing research in the form of research paper, review, case report, or short communication to Poultry focusing on the areas most challenging to poultry production sustainability. This includes, but is not limited, stress (heat, transport, cold, etc.), meat quality, bone quality/health, gut health, welfare, and reproductive health/performance. Poultry research encompasses all avian species of relevance, including broilers, turkeys, and layers are welcome. 

Prof. Dr. Sami Dridi
Guest Editor

Dr. Alison Ramser
Guest Editor Assistant

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Poultry is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • poultry sustainability
  • challenges
  • future

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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14 pages, 1049 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Boron as a Feed Additive to Improve Musculoskeletal Health of Hy-Line W-36 Pullets
by Mallory G. Anderson, Alexa M. Johnson, Alexis Clark, Cerano Harrison, Mireille Arguelles-Ramos and Ahmed Ali
Poultry 2024, 3(2), 147-160; https://doi.org/10.3390/poultry3020012 - 8 May 2024
Viewed by 468
Abstract
Boron supplementation may improve the musculoskeletal health of pullets before entering the lay phase. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of different boron amounts on the performance, muscle deposition, tibia cross-sectional area (CSA) and mineral density (BMD), ash percent, breaking strength, and [...] Read more.
Boron supplementation may improve the musculoskeletal health of pullets before entering the lay phase. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of different boron amounts on the performance, muscle deposition, tibia cross-sectional area (CSA) and mineral density (BMD), ash percent, breaking strength, and bone mineralization (bone-specific alkaline phosphatase [BALP] and pro-collagen type 1 n-terminal propeptide [P1NP]) of a white-feathered strain of pullets. A total of 528 Hy-Line W-36 pullets were distributed across 24 pens and fed basal diets containing varying amounts of boron (C: 0 mg/kg; L: 50 mg/kg; M: 100 mg/kg; H: 150 mg/kg) for 17 weeks. Performance parameters (body weight, average daily weight gain/bird, and average daily feed intake/bird) were measured at weeks 4, 7, 10, 13, and 16, while all other measures were taken at 11 and 17 weeks of age. Performance was not impacted by boron supplementation. Pectoralis major weights were higher in H pullets at 11 weeks of age, and we also observed higher pectoralis major, minor, and leg muscle weights in H pullets at 17 weeks of age. Pullets fed the H diet had larger cortical CSA than the other treatment groups at 11 weeks of age. At 17 weeks of age, both the H and M groups had larger cortical CSA than the L and C groups, but the M group had slightly smaller cortical CSA. Pullets fed the H diet had higher BMD values than the other treatment groups at 11 weeks of age. At 17 weeks of age, pullets fed the H diet had the highest total BMD values compared to the other treatment groups, and cortical BMD increased with increasing boron inclusion. Pullets fed the H diet had the highest tibia ash percentages and concentrations of BALP and P1NP. Pullets fed the M and H diets had greater failure load and maximum bending moment than pullets fed the L or C diet at 11 weeks of age, with H pullets having greater stiffness values than other groups. At 17 weeks of age, pullets fed the H diet had greater failure load and maximum bending moment compared to all other treatment groups. Our results suggest that providing boron within the diet at 150 mg/kg can improve the musculoskeletal characteristics of Hy-Line W-36 pullets up to 17 weeks of age, without impacting performance parameters. Full article
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18 pages, 2412 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Dietary Synbiotic on Agonistic Behavior, Stress, and Brain Monoamines via Modulation of the Microbiota–Gut–Brain Axis in Laying Hens
by Alexa M. Johnson, Alexis Clark, Mallory G. Anderson, Elyse Corbin, Mireille Arguelles-Ramos and Ahmed B. A. Ali
Poultry 2024, 3(2), 129-146; https://doi.org/10.3390/poultry3020011 - 8 May 2024
Viewed by 557
Abstract
A complex system of neural pathways, collectively known as the microbiota–gut–brain (MGB) axis, interconnects the gut microbiota, the gastrointestinal system, and the brain along with its periphery. Previous studies have demonstrated that modulation of the MGB axis can influence stress-related behaviors such as [...] Read more.
A complex system of neural pathways, collectively known as the microbiota–gut–brain (MGB) axis, interconnects the gut microbiota, the gastrointestinal system, and the brain along with its periphery. Previous studies have demonstrated that modulation of the MGB axis can influence stress-related behaviors such as anxiety. This connection becomes apparent in scenarios like agonistic behavior in laying hens, which is characterized by aggressive head and feather pecks, that can ultimately result in cannibalism and death. The objective was to examine the effects of a dietary synbiotic on agonistic behavior, plasma and brain monoamines, stress parameters, and cecal microbiota counts via modulation of the MGB axis. A total of 396 W36 Hy-Line laying hens were provided at random with a control (CON: basal diet) or treatment (SYN: basal diet supplemented with synbiotic) diet from 50 to 60 weeks old (nine pens/treatment, 22 birds/pen). Blood samples and video recordings (three consecutive days/week) were taken at 50 and 60 weeks. At 60 weeks, three hens/pen were euthanized for brain and cecal microbiota collection. Threatening, fighting, head, body, and feather pecking all occurred less frequently at 60 weeks in the SYN group (p < 0.05). Plasma corticosterone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, dopamine, and serotonin were significantly lower while tryptophan and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid were significantly higher in birds from the SYN group (p < 0.05). Significant differences in serotonin, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, dopamine, homovanillic acid, and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid were observed in the hypothalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala of the brain. Serotonin and dopamine turnover rates were significantly different in all three regions of the brain (p < 0.05). Cecal counts of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium were significantly higher in the SYN group (p < 0.05). Synbiotic supplementation resulted in many significant differences, indicating activation of the serotonergic systems and modulation of both the MGB axis and HPA axis with positive effects on welfare and stress. Full article
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7 pages, 633 KiB  
Communication
Bacitracin Supplementation as a Growth Promoter Down-Regulates Innate and Adaptive Cytokines in Broilers’ Intestines
by Gabriela C. Dal Pont, Annah Lee, Cristiano Bortoluzzi, Yuhua Z. Farnell, Christos Gougoulias and Michael H. Kogut
Poultry 2023, 2(3), 411-417; https://doi.org/10.3390/poultry2030030 - 29 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1932
Abstract
In the past decade, the withdrawal of antibiotics used as growth promoters (AGP) has increased some poultry industry challenges, such as the rise of intestinal diseases. Experts advocate that AGPs improve performance due to the modulation of the intestinal microbiota, with resulting anti-inflammatory [...] Read more.
In the past decade, the withdrawal of antibiotics used as growth promoters (AGP) has increased some poultry industry challenges, such as the rise of intestinal diseases. Experts advocate that AGPs improve performance due to the modulation of the intestinal microbiota, with resulting anti-inflammatory effects. However, the impact and interactions of AGPs with the host intestinal immune system are still unknown, which represents issues in developing effective alternatives for AGPs. Therefore, this study was aimed at better understanding the potential mechanism of action of bacitracin used as AGP and its impacts on the intestinal immune system. Ninety day-of-hatch chickens were randomly assigned to two treatments with three repetitions of fifteen birds, a control (CNT) group with a corn/soybean meal standard diet, and a control diet supplemented with 50 g/ton of feed of bacitracin (BMD). The cytokines’ and chemokines’ production (IFN-α, IFN-γ, IL-16, IL-10, IL-21, IL-6, M-CSF, MIP-3α, MIP-1β, VEGF and CCL-5) were assessed in the jejunum and ileum at 14, 21, 28 and 36 days of age by using a chicken-specific cytokine/chemokine peptide ELISA array. Broilers with BMD supplementation were found to have a lower production of IL-16, IFN-γ, M-CSF, IL-21, MIP-1β and VEGF in the jejunum at 14 d. However, from 21 through 36 days, the effect of BMD on cytokine production in the jejunum was negligible except for CCL-5, which was reduced at D36. In the ileum, BMD effects on the cytokine profile started at 28 d, when BMD-supplemented broilers showed a reduced IL-6 production level. At day 36, BMD reduced IL-16 and MIP-3α production but increased VEGF concentration in the ileum tissue. The present study demonstrated that the use of bacitracin as an AGP modulates the small intestine immune system, especially in the first phase of the broiler’s life (up to 14 days). Moreover, BMD anti-inflammatory effects include not only innate immunity but also seemed to influence the development of the adaptive immune response as seen by the decreased production of IL-21 and IL-16. These results demonstrate that a commonly used AGP in broiler feed had a local anti-inflammatory effect. Full article
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15 pages, 279 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Biosecurity Practices and Its Status in Small- and Medium-Scale Commercial Poultry Farms in Arsi and East Showa Zones, Oromia, Ethiopia
by Dereje Tsegaye, Berhan Tamir and Getachew Gebru
Poultry 2023, 2(2), 334-348; https://doi.org/10.3390/poultry2020025 - 18 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2793
Abstract
Disease prevalence and seasonal outbreaks are challenging the poultry industry in Ethiopia. Proper and sustainable implementation of biosecurity practices is important to reverse such problems. This study was conducted in commercial poultry farms in two zones of Ethiopia to investigate farm characteristics, implementation [...] Read more.
Disease prevalence and seasonal outbreaks are challenging the poultry industry in Ethiopia. Proper and sustainable implementation of biosecurity practices is important to reverse such problems. This study was conducted in commercial poultry farms in two zones of Ethiopia to investigate farm characteristics, implementation of biosecurity practices, and biosecurity status (BS) using a structured questionnaire. The variables were grouped into three biosecurity factors, including conceptual, structural, and operational biosecurity, based on their homogeneity. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to summarize the results. Most commercial farms were owned by males (69.7%). The majority of the farms (40.3%) were located at a distance <50 m from residential areas. Farm owners do not provide biosecurity training to their employees (68.8%), which results in poor biosecurity implementation. The mean conceptual, structural, and operational BS were 50.4 ± 11.62, 63.27 ± 10.51, and 44.69 ± 13.04, respectively, indicating operational biosecurity measurements were less implemented. Overall, the BS indicated that 40.7% of the farms have BS < 50% questing for interventions. Farm characteristics and biosecurity measurements were positively associated with BS, which shows substantial room for improvement. Owners’ education, occupation, experience, farm flock size, and training were significantly associated with BS (p < 0.05). A disease prevention strategy through biosecurity improvement is an economical means for controlling poultry disease prevalence. Full article

Review

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22 pages, 407 KiB  
Review
Impact of Heat Stress on Broiler Chicken Production
by Oluwabunmi O. Apalowo, Deji A. Ekunseitan and Yewande O. Fasina
Poultry 2024, 3(2), 107-128; https://doi.org/10.3390/poultry3020010 - 29 Apr 2024
Viewed by 813
Abstract
Poultry farmers need to consider making adaptations now to help reduce cost, risk, and concern in the future; the industry’s high and unstable input costs, which result in losses, need to incentivize manufacturers to concentrate on efficient management, welfare, and health improvements, thereby [...] Read more.
Poultry farmers need to consider making adaptations now to help reduce cost, risk, and concern in the future; the industry’s high and unstable input costs, which result in losses, need to incentivize manufacturers to concentrate on efficient management, welfare, and health improvements, thereby creating premium and value-added products. Heat stress, a significant concern, particularly affects broiler chicken, which is vital for global meat supply in the dynamic field of poultry farming. Despite advances in breeding and management, these pressures have a negative influence on avian development, well-being, and overall health, threatening the poultry industry’s long-term viability. This study investigates the physiological reactions and production consequences of various heat conditions in the chicken business. It thoroughly investigates the complicated implications of heat stress, which has a negative impact on broiler performance and causes economic losses. This article investigates various dietary techniques, such as antioxidants, probiotics, amino acid balance, and vitamin supplementation, with the goal of improving chicken thermotolerance as part of a comprehensive stress reduction strategy. This assessment emphasizes the industry’s continuous commitment to sustainable practices by highlighting the need for more research to enhance methodology, investigate creative tactics, and address regional variances in heat stress. Full article
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