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Animal Nutrition and Welfare in Sustainable Production Systems

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 October 2021) | Viewed by 24247

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Department of Precision and Regenerative Medicine and Ionian Area (DiMePRe-J), Section of Veterinary Science and Animal Production, University of Bari Aldo Moro, s.p. Casamassima Km 3, 70010 Valenzano, Bari, Italy
Interests: animal nutrition; poultry nutrition; feed science; feed technology
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Central Veterinary Administration of the State Veterinary Administration, 120 00 Prague, Czech Republic
Interests: animal protection; animal welfare; animal behavior; stress; husbandry; transport; slaughter
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Today, food animal production systems demand high energy, land, chemicals, and water—all of which are increasingly becoming scarce. Thus, change and innovation are required in many animal production systems to meet present and future demand for animal products sustainably. During the last four decades, inexpensive grain, energy, and protein have enabled the economic development of intensive meat, eggs, and milk production systems based on feeding grains and other ingredients sourced from far-off places. The poultry and pig intensive production systems have become highly capital intensive, and they have resulted in many environmental challenges.

If the price of feedstuffs rises above a critical level, they might even become economically and environmentally unviable. These issues may become magnified due to increasing competition for arable land for food, feed, and biofuel production. So far, in many situations, the feed has been produced, and nutrition has been balanced to achieve maximum production, with high economic benefits. However, it has also contributed to ecosystem degradation and global warming through methane and nitrous oxide. Moreover, animal production results in increased energy consumption at every step, and even more so in intensive systems. These situations demand attention to examine the excessive use of resources and consider ways to adopt more efficient processes and procedures.

Food animal feed, nutrition, and welfare are the foundation of successful animal systems. They directly or indirectly affect the entire animal production sector, associated services, public goods, and services, including animal productivity, health and welfare, product quality and safety, land use and land-use change, and greenhouse gas emissions. The sustainability of food animal nutrition and welfare is crucial in developing animal production across production systems. The sustainable increase in animal productivity, which is key to meeting the large current and future demand for animal origin products, cannot be achieved without sustainable animal nutrition and welfare.

Sustainable animal nutrition and welfare are expected to be beneficial for the food animal, the environment, and society. Additionally, they are likely to generate socioeconomic benefits, furthering poverty alleviation and food security efforts. This requires researchers, extension workers, science managers, policy-makers, industry, and farmers.

This Special Issue welcomes papers focused on the latest knowledge and innovations in sustainable animal production, animal nutrition, animal welfare, animal behavior, agricultural economy, policy and management, sustainable feedstuff technology, and food safety principles. Both review and research papers are welcome to show originality and give a significant contribution to the scope of the Special Issue.

Prof. dr Nikola Puvača
Prof. dr Vincenzo Tufarelli
Prof. dr Eva Voslarova
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • Sustainability
  • Animal production
  • Animal nutrition
  • Animal welfare
  • Animal behavior
  • Agribusiness
  • Food/feed
  • Sustainable rural development

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

3 pages, 187 KiB  
Editorial
Animal Nutrition and Welfare in Sustainable Production Systems
by Nikola Puvača, Vincenzo Tufarelli and Eva Voslarova
Sustainability 2022, 14(15), 9371; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14159371 - 31 Jul 2022
Viewed by 1165
Abstract
The production of food animals today requires large amounts of energy, land, chemicals, and water—all of which are becoming increasingly scarce [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Nutrition and Welfare in Sustainable Production Systems)

Research

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14 pages, 1369 KiB  
Article
Effects of Using Farm-Grown Forage as a Component in ad Libitum Liquid Feeding for Pregnant Sows in Group-Housing on Body Condition Development and Performance
by Clara Berenike Hartung, Stephanie Frenking, Bussarakam Chuppava, Friederike von und zur Mühlen, Josef Kamphues, Peter Ebertz, Richard Hölscher, Eva Angermann and Christian Visscher
Sustainability 2021, 13(24), 13506; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413506 - 07 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1499
Abstract
When feeding pregnant sows, optimal body condition at birth is sought to avoid the effects of a deviant nutritional condition on health and performance. Various feeding concepts exist but mainly have a restriction in quantity and renunciation of farm-grown forage in common. An [...] Read more.
When feeding pregnant sows, optimal body condition at birth is sought to avoid the effects of a deviant nutritional condition on health and performance. Various feeding concepts exist but mainly have a restriction in quantity and renunciation of farm-grown forage in common. An ad libitum liquid feeding system based on farm-grown forage in combination with a sow sorting gate (according to body weight—using mechanical scales) was realized on a commercial swine farm. The sorting gate coordinated access to two feeding areas with rations based on whole plant wheat-silage (WPWS) differing in energy content. In this study with a total of 183 pregnant sows, effects of restrictive dry feeding (System I) were compared with ad libitum liquid feeding based on farm-grown forage (System II). Sows were monitored regarding body condition development during pregnancy by measuring body condition score (BCS), body weight (BW), and back fat thickness (BFT) on different time points. Sow and piglet health (vaginal injuries of sows, rectal temperature during the peripartal period, vitality of newborn piglets) and performance data regarding litter characteristics were also recorded. Body condition development of the sows was absolutely comparable. Performance indicators and the course of birth were also similar but with significantly higher scores for piglet vitality in System II (p < 0.05). The tested concept offers opportunities for more animal welfare and sustainability but remains to be further investigated regarding the repertoire of possibly applied farm-grown forage and the effects of the concept in the transit phase of sows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Nutrition and Welfare in Sustainable Production Systems)
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13 pages, 1028 KiB  
Article
Commercial Corn Hybrids as a Single Source of Dietary Carotenoids: Effect on Egg Yolk Carotenoid Profile and Pigmentation
by Kristina Kljak, Marija Duvnjak, Dalibor Bedeković, Goran Kiš, Zlatko Janječić and Darko Grbeša
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12287; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112287 - 07 Nov 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1999
Abstract
Commercial high-yielding corn hybrids have not been evaluated for their ability to pigment egg yolk. Therefore, the objective of this research was to investigate the effects of commercial hybrids with different carotenoid profiles as the only source of pigments in the diets of [...] Read more.
Commercial high-yielding corn hybrids have not been evaluated for their ability to pigment egg yolk. Therefore, the objective of this research was to investigate the effects of commercial hybrids with different carotenoid profiles as the only source of pigments in the diets of hens on yolk color and carotenoid content, as well as the carotenoid deposition efficiency into the yolk. Treatment diets, differing only in one of five corn hybrids, were offered in a completely randomized design in six cages per treatment, each with three hens. Treatment diets and yolks differed in carotenoid profile (contents of lutein, zeaxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin and β-carotene, p < 0.001), with total carotenoid contents ranging from 17.13–13.45 µg/g in diet and 25.99–21.97 µg/g in yolk. The treatments differed (p < 0.001) in yolk color, which was determined by yolk color fan (10.8–9.83) and CIE Lab (redness; range 12.47–10.05). The highest yolk color intensity was achieved by a diet with the highest content of zeaxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin and β-carotene. The deposition efficiency of lutein and zeaxanthin (25.52 and 26.05%, respectively) was higher than that of β-cryptoxanthin and β-carotene (8.30 and 5.65%, respectively), and the deposition efficiency of all carotenoids decreased with increasing dietary content. Commercial corn hybrids provided adequate yolk color and could be the only source of carotenoids in the diets of hens, which could reduce the cost of egg production and increase farmers’ income. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Nutrition and Welfare in Sustainable Production Systems)
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12 pages, 1281 KiB  
Article
Replacing Maize Grain with Ancient Wheat Lines By-Products in Organic Laying Hens’ Diet Affects Intestinal Morphology and Enzymatic Activity
by Nicola Francesco Addeo, Basilio Randazzo, Ike Olivotto, Maria Messina, Francesca Tulli, Nadia Musco, Giovanni Piccolo, Antonino Nizza, Carmelo Di Meo and Fulvia Bovera
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6554; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126554 - 08 Jun 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1974
Abstract
The effects of replacement of maize grain with ancient wheat by-products on intestinal morphometry and enzymatic activity in laying hens was studied. Eighty hens were divided into two groups (40 each, 8 replicates, 5 hens/replicate) fed two isoproteic and isoenergetic diets. In the [...] Read more.
The effects of replacement of maize grain with ancient wheat by-products on intestinal morphometry and enzymatic activity in laying hens was studied. Eighty hens were divided into two groups (40 each, 8 replicates, 5 hens/replicate) fed two isoproteic and isoenergetic diets. In the treated group, part of the maize was replaced by a mix of ancient grains (AGs) middling, in a 50:50 ratio of Triticum aestivum L. var. spelta (spelt) and Triticum durum dicoccum L. (emmer wheat). The AG diet affected the weight of all the large intestine tracts, decreasing the weight of caeca (p < 0.01) and increasing those of colon (p < 0.01), rectum and cloaca (p < 0.05). Villus height in the AG group was higher (p < 0.01) than the control for the duodenum and jejunum, while for the ileum, the control group showed the highest values (p < 0.01). The submucosa thickness was higher (p < 0.01) in the control group for the duodenum and ileum, while the jejunum for the AG group showed the highest (p < 0.05) submucosa thickness. The crypts depth was higher (p < 0.01) in the control group for the duodenum and ileum. Enzyme activity was enhanced by AGs (p < 0.01) in the duodenum. Regarding the jejunum, sucrase-isomaltase and alkaline phosphatase had higher activity (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01, respectively) in the AG group. In the ileum, sucrase-isomaltase showed higher activity (p < 0.01) in the control group, while alkaline phosphatase showed the highest values (p < 0.05) in the AG group. Overall, results suggested that the dietary inclusion of AGs exerted positive effects in hens, showing an improved intestinal function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Nutrition and Welfare in Sustainable Production Systems)
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13 pages, 618 KiB  
Article
Optical Characterization of Alternaria spp. Contaminated Wheat Grain and Its Influence in Early Broilers Nutrition on Oxidative Stress
by Nikola Puvača, Snežana Tanasković, Vojislava Bursić, Aleksandra Petrović, Jordan Merkuri, Tana Shtylla Kika, Dušan Marinković, Gorica Vuković and Magdalena Cara
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 4005; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13074005 - 03 Apr 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1894
Abstract
The aim of this research was the visual characterization and investigating the effects of Alternaria spp. contaminated wheat grains in the starter stage of broilers nutrition on productive parameters and oxidative stress. The research was divided into two phases. Bunches of wheat in [...] Read more.
The aim of this research was the visual characterization and investigating the effects of Alternaria spp. contaminated wheat grains in the starter stage of broilers nutrition on productive parameters and oxidative stress. The research was divided into two phases. Bunches of wheat in post-harvest period of year 2020 was collected from a various locality in Serbia and Albania. In the first phase, collected samples were visual characterized by Alternaria spp. presence by color measurement methods. Gained results are conferred in the range of the color properties of grain color properties of Alternaria toxins. Wheat grain samples were significantly different (p < 0.05) in terms of all measured color parameters (L*, a*, b*). Classification of field fungi in analyzed wheat grain samples showed that the significant field fungi were Rhizopus spp., followed by Alternaria spp., and Fusarium spp. In the second phase, biological tests with chickens were carried out during the broiler chickens’ dietary starter period in the first 14th days of age. At the beginning of the experiment, a total of 180-day-old Ross 308 strain broilers were equally distributed into three dietary treatments, with four replicates each. Dietary treatments in the experiments were as follows: basal diet without visual contamination of Alternaria spp. with 25% wheat (A1), a basal diet with visual contamination of Alternaria spp. with 25% wheat from Serbia (A2), basal diet with visual contamination of Alternaria spp. with 25% wheat from Albania (A3). The trial with chickens lasted for 14 days. After the first experimental week, wheat infected with Alternaria spp. in treatment A2 and A3 expressed adverse effects. The highest body weight of chickens of 140.40 g was recorded in broilers on control treatment A1 with statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) compared to treatments A2 (137.32 g) and A3 (135.35 g). At the end of the second week of test period, a statistically significant (p < 0.05) difference in body weight of broiler chickens could be noticed. The highest body weight of 352.68 g was recorded in control treatment A1, with statistically significant differences compared to other Alternaria spp. treatments. The lowest body weight of chickens was recorded in treatment A3 (335.93 g). Results of feed consumption and feed conversion ratio showed some numerical differences between treatments but without any statistically significant differences (p > 0.05). Alternaria spp. contaminated diet increased glutathione (GSH), glutathione reductase (GR), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and decreased peroxidase (POD) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) serum levels, respectively. Built on the achieved results, it can be concluded that the wheat contaminated with Alternaria spp. in broilers nutrition negatively affected growth, decreased oxidative protection and interrupted chicken welfare in the first period of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Nutrition and Welfare in Sustainable Production Systems)
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13 pages, 288 KiB  
Article
Effects of Sunflower Meal Supplementation as a Complementary Protein Source in the Laying Hen’s Diet on Productive Performance, Egg Quality, and Nutrient Digestibility
by Ahmed A. Saleh, Ahmed El-Awady, Khairy Amber, Yahya Z. Eid, Mohammed H. Alzawqari, Shaimaa Selim, Mohamed Mohamed Soliman and Mustafa Shukry
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3557; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063557 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3480
Abstract
The practical usage of untraditional feedstuffs such as sunflower meal (SFM) in laying hens nutrition in developing countries has received considerable attention. SFM is a by-product of the sunflower oil industry and has been progressively added to bird’s diets. Sunflower meal (SFM) is [...] Read more.
The practical usage of untraditional feedstuffs such as sunflower meal (SFM) in laying hens nutrition in developing countries has received considerable attention. SFM is a by-product of the sunflower oil industry and has been progressively added to bird’s diets. Sunflower meal (SFM) is gaining great interest as a feed ingredient due to its eminent crude protein content, low anti-nutritional compounds, and low price. The current experiment was aimed to assess the production efficiency, egg quality, yolk fatty acids composition, and nutrient digestibility of laying hens fed SFM. A total of 162 Bovans Brown laying hens aged 60 weeks old were randomly allocated using a completely randomized design into three experimental groups of nine replicates each (n = six/replicate) for eight weeks. The dietary treatments involved a control (basal diet) and two levels of SFM, 50 and 100 g/kg feed. The dietary treatments did not influence live weight gain, feed intake, and egg mass. On one hand, the laying rate was increased; on the other hand, the feed conversion ratio and broken eggs rate of laying hens were decreased (p < 0.05) by the dietary inclusion of SFM. Dietary treatments had no effect on the egg’s quality characteristics except the yolk color and yolk height were larger (p = 0.01) for laying hens fed SFM compared with those fed the control. Dietary inclusion of SFM decreased (p < 0.05) the content of cholesterol in the egg yolk. Still, it increased the yolk contents of vitamin E, calcium, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, and oleic acid (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the dietary inclusion of SFM increased crude protein and calcium digestibility, but decreased the ether extract digestibility. In conclusion, our results suggested that the dietary inclusion of SFM, up to 100 g/kg at a late phase of laying, could improve the production performance, some of the egg quality traits, and nutrient digestibility while decreasing egg yolk cholesterol. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Nutrition and Welfare in Sustainable Production Systems)
22 pages, 1559 KiB  
Article
Slow-Release Urea as a Sustainable Alternative to Soybean Meal in Ruminant Nutrition
by Saheed A. Salami, Maria Devant, Juha Apajalahti, Vaughn Holder, Sini Salomaa, Jason D. Keegan and Colm A. Moran
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2464; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052464 - 25 Feb 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4052
Abstract
Three experiments were conducted to evaluate the feasibility of using a commercial slow-release urea product (SRU; Optigen®, Alltech Inc., Nicholasville, KY, USA) as a partial replacement for vegetable protein sources in cattle diets. The first experiment was an in vitro rumen [...] Read more.
Three experiments were conducted to evaluate the feasibility of using a commercial slow-release urea product (SRU; Optigen®, Alltech Inc., Nicholasville, KY, USA) as a partial replacement for vegetable protein sources in cattle diets. The first experiment was an in vitro rumen fermentation that evaluated the effect of replacing soybean meal (SBM) nitrogen with nitrogen from either SRU or free urea in diets varying in forage:concentrate ratios. The second experiment examined the effect of replacing SBM with SRU on in situ dry matter and nitrogen degradability in the rumen. In the third experiment, a feeding trial was conducted to evaluate the effect of replacing SBM (0% as-fed SRU) with 1% or 3% as-fed SRU on feed carbon footprint (CFP; total greenhouse gas emissions associated with the life cycle of feed raw materials) and the toxicity potential of SRU in growing beef cattle. Results showed that replacing SBM with SRU up to 1.3% did not negatively affect in vitro rumen fermentation parameters. Supplementing SRU favourably decreased ruminal accumulation of ammonia and lactic acid when compared to free urea. There was no significant effect on effective rumen degradability of dry matter and nitrogen when one-third of SBM was replaced by SRU in the in situ study. Compared with the 0% SRU diet, feed CFP decreased by 18% and 54% in 1% SRU and 3% SRU diets, respectively. Additionally, feeding up to 3% SRU diet to beef cattle did not affect health and intake, and blood hematological and biochemical indices were within the physiological range for healthy bulls, suggesting no indication of ammonia toxicity. Overall, these results indicate that SRU can be used as a sustainable alternative to partially replace vegetable protein sources in ruminant diets without compromising rumen function and health of ruminants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Nutrition and Welfare in Sustainable Production Systems)
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Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

20 pages, 400 KiB  
Review
Honeybee and Plant Products as Natural Antimicrobials in Enhancement of Poultry Health and Production
by Erinda Lika, Marija Kostić, Sunčica Vještica, Ivan Milojević and Nikola Puvača
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8467; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158467 - 29 Jul 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3212
Abstract
The quality and safety attributes of poultry products have attracted increasing widespread attention and interest from scholarly groups and the general population. As natural and safe alternatives to synthetic and artificial chemical drugs (e.g., antibiotics), botanical products are recently being used in poultry [...] Read more.
The quality and safety attributes of poultry products have attracted increasing widespread attention and interest from scholarly groups and the general population. As natural and safe alternatives to synthetic and artificial chemical drugs (e.g., antibiotics), botanical products are recently being used in poultry farms more than 60% of the time for producing organic products. Medicinal plants, and honeybee products, are natural substances, and they were added to poultry diets in a small amount (between 1% and 3%) as a source of nutrition and to provide health benefits for poultry. In addition, they have several biological functions in the poultry body and may help to enhance their welfare. These supplements can increase the bodyweight of broilers and the egg production of laying hens by approximately 7% and 10% and enhance meat and egg quality by more than 25%. Moreover, they can improve rooster semen quality by an average of 20%. Previous research on the main biological activities performed by biotics has shown that most research only concentrated on the notion of using botanical products as growth promoters, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial agents. In the current review, the critical effects and functions of bee products and botanicals are explored as natural and safe alternative feed additives in poultry production, such as antioxidants, sexual-stimulants, immuno-stimulants, and for producing healthy products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Nutrition and Welfare in Sustainable Production Systems)
11 pages, 435 KiB  
Review
Selenium: An Essential Micronutrient for Sustainable Dairy Cows Production
by Hammad Ullah, Rifat Ullah Khan, Vincenzo Tufarelli and Vito Laudadio
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10693; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410693 - 21 Dec 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3455
Abstract
This review article discusses the importance and effects of Selenium (Se) in sustainable dairy cows’ production. The Se is an important micronutrient in dairy cows. It is one of the important feed derived antioxidants. It participates in important enzymes and enzyme reactions to [...] Read more.
This review article discusses the importance and effects of Selenium (Se) in sustainable dairy cows’ production. The Se is an important micronutrient in dairy cows. It is one of the important feed derived antioxidants. It participates in important enzymes and enzyme reactions to improve metabolism, growth, and the defense system of the body, which results in the improved health of animals, particularly that of the mammary gland and reproductive system, thereby improving productive and reproductive performance. The Se is usually deficient in soil due to current extensive farming strategies, so its supplementation is generally advised. Supplementation of Se in organic form is generally preferred over inorganic form due to its better incorporation and uptake, resulting in improved performance. Kidneys, liver, testis, and lungs are important sites for Se storage. The Se is excreted in urine, feces, exhaled breath, loss of skin, and hair cells. Although Se supplementation plays an important role in the profitability of dairy cows, its excess intake is toxic and should be avoided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Nutrition and Welfare in Sustainable Production Systems)
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