Effects of a direct fed microbial (DFM) on broiler chickens exposed to acute and chronic cyclic heat stress in two consecutive experiments

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Two consecutive 35 d experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of a multistrain DFM fed continuously to broiler chickens exposed to HS from 28 to 35 d on broiler performance, body composition, ileal digestibility, and intestinal permeability using serum Fluorescein Isothiocyanate Dextran (FITC-d) concentration. The treatments were arranged as a 2 x 2 factorial with temperature: Elevated (HS: 33 ± 2°C for 6 h and 27.7°C for the remaining 18 h from 28 to 35 days of age) and Thermoneutral (TN: 22 to 24°C over the entire 24-h day from 28 to 35 days of age) and diet: cornsoybean meal based with and without DFM (3-strain Bacillus; Enviva PRO) fed over the entire 35-d period as the two factors. Experimental diets were formulated to meet all nutrient recommendations based on breed standards using a starter (0−10 d), grower (10−21 d), and finisher (21−35 d) period. For each of the 2 experiments, 648 Ross 708 broiler chicks were allotted among the treatments with 9 replicate pens of 18 broilers. Data were analyzed as a 2 × 2 factorial within each experiment in JMP 14. In both experiments, cloacal temperatures were increased (P ≤ 0.05) in the broilers subjected to the HS treatment at both 28 d (acute) and 35 d (chronic). Supplementing birds with DFM reduced cloacal temperatures in the Experiment 1 at 28 d, but not at the other time periods. The HS treatment reduced body weight gain and lean tissue accretion from 0 to 35 d in both experiments (P ≤ 0.05). In Experiment 2, when the litter was reused BWG was increased by 36 g/bird with supplementation of DFM (P ≤ 0.05). Ileal digestibility at 28 d (2 h post HS) was improved with DFM supplementation in both experiments (P ≤ 0.05). Serum FITC-d increased with HS at both 28 and 35 d. Serum FITC-d was generally decreased with DFM at 28 d but the response was inconsistent at 35 d. Overall, the results suggest that HS reduced broiler performance and DFM treatment improved intestinal permeability and nutrient digestibility responses to HS in both experiments but did not improve performance until built up litter was used in Experiment 2.

heat stress, broiler, DFM, intestinal permeability, reused litter