Antibiotic-free poultry production

The growing trend in antibiotic-free poultry production requires the use of non-medicated alternatives to enhance the growth and productivity of birds. Prebiotics, which are carbohydrates of low molecular weights, are essential in helping to support a healthy intestinal microflora and optimizing the gut health. An emerging paradigm is the potential to generate prebiotics in the intestine of birds and optimize the gut health without, or with reduced, need for prebiotic additives. A lab in the UGA Poultry Science Department is quantifying and characterizing the profile of prebiotic oligosaccharides, which are derived from the digestion of different feedstuffs; how they influence the microbial communities in the gastro-intestinal tract, and their ultimate effect on the growth and health of the bird. This will help inform nutritional options for feeding broilers in a no-antibiotic-ever production scenario.