SUMMARY
  • Fast-growing broilers are especially susceptible to bone abnormalities, causing major problems for broiler producers (Shim et al., 2012).
  • Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA, have proven beneficial for bone health in humans (Molfino et al., 2014).
  • The inclusion of Optomega Liquid in the diet resulted in significant improvements in broiler performance and tibia strength.
BACKGROUND
  • Bone problems can affect the health and welfare of broilers, which can result in severe economic loss (Shim et al., 2012).
  • Optomega is a high quality, concentrated EPA and DHA product, produced from sustainable fish oils.
TRIAL DESIGN

An independent trial was conducted at the Roslin Institute in the UK. 250 Ross 308 day-old chicks were allocated to one of five treatments (Table 1) with four replicates of 12–13 birds per treatment. The birds and feed were weighed weekly. Birds were slaughtered at 14 days and the right leg was removed for bone quality analyses. Total weight gain and tibia breaking strength are shown in results for brevity.

Table 1. Oil inclusion in the diets expressed in kg per tonne.

  Control Treatment 1 Treatment 2 Treatment 3 Treatment 4
Maize oil 50.0 40.0 30.0
Optomega Liquid 10.0 20.0 50.0
RESULTS

Total weight gain over 14 daysFigure 1. Total weight gain over 14 days. abcDifferent superscripts  denotes significant difference (p≤0.001).

Tibia breaking strength at day 14. Figure 2. Tibia breaking strength at day 14. abcDifferent superscripts denotes significant difference (p≤0.001).

  • Including oil in the diet significantly improved broiler weight and total weight gain by 14 days of age, with Optomega Liquid at all dosages resulting in superior performance (p≤0.001) (Fig.1).
  • Optomega Liquid inclusion significantly improved bone density, mineralisation, breaking strength (Fig.2) and stiffness with a linear effect (p≤0.001).
  • Bone histology studies have shown a statistically significant effect of increasing Optomega Liquid on the cross section and cortical area of the tibia (p≤0.01).
  • These results show that including Optomega Liquid in the diet of broilers can significantly improve both bird performance and also tibia strength, density and mineralisation.