Every summer, sows have difficulty with the higher temperatures in the sty. Reduced feed uptake, less milk and reduced fertility are common consequences of heat stress.

In addition to sows, broilers can also suffer from heat stress in the summer. Reduced feed uptake directly results in lower growth and often higher feed conversion. Research shows that by adding Betaine to feed, heat stress is reduced. This is due to Betaine’s ability to regulate osmosis. This makes animals less dependent on their own inefficient ability to balance their water levels. As a result, less energy is required for maintenance, leaving more energy for growth and production. The graph below shows the results of a test with broilers. These broilers were exposed to high environmental temperatures (12 hours at 24°C, 3 hours rising from 24°C to 37°C, 6 hours at 37°C, 3 hours reducing from 37°C to 24°C). The chickens were given the same feed, the only difference being the levels of Betaine (respectively 0% [control], 0.05% and 0.1%).

Efects of Betaine on broilers
Figure 1. Effects of Betaine on broilers

Research has shown that by adding Betaine to the feed of chickens infected with Eimeria, damage to the animal’s digestive system is reduced. This is evidenced by intestinal-damage scores (Augustinus & Danforth, 1999). This reduction in intestinal damage also has a number of other advantages. One of these benefits is better digestion of nutrients. The stronger intestines also reduce carcass infection in the abattoir as a result of intestinal breakages. The reduction in coccidiosis caused by adding Betaine to feed means that the risk of developing necrotic enteritis (NE) is lower, as the development of NE is linked to the presence of damage caused by coccidiosis (Elwinger et al, 1992).

For a considerable amount of time, the product NUTRI-C® has been available from E.F.S.-Holland. NUTRI-C® is a sophisticated blend of organic acids enriched with natural Betaine. In order to guarantee consistent and reliable quality, the raw materials are meticulously selected and monitored. NUTRI-C® was developed specifically for pig and poultry feed. It contains more than enough Betaine to completely replace choline chloride supplements to premix or mixed feed. As the aggressive component choline chloride is not needed, the stability of the remaining feed components is greatly increased. As mentioned above, Betaine improves energy management, as well as liver function (resulting in better use of nutrients), faster growth and shorter recovery times. Furthermore, Betaine increases the proportion of breast meat produced by broilers.

With summer around the corner, you may well benefit from further information about reducing heat stress using NUTRI-C®. If you are interested, feel free to contact E.F.S.-Holland.