1 Department of Animal Science - Immunology and microbiology, Department of Animal Science, Science and Technology, Aarhus University2 unknown3 Department of Animal Science - Immunology and microbiology, Department of Animal Science, Science and Technology, Aarhus University
The aim of the present work was to examine how different fats commonly used in the feed industry affect broiler performance, nutrient digestibility and microbial fermentation in the gastrointestinal tract of broiler chickens challenged with virulent Clostridium perfringens strains. Two experiments were carried out, each including 480-day-old male broilers (Ross 308), which were randomly distributed to eight experimental groups using six replicate pens per treatment and 10 birds per pen. In Experiment 1, birds were fed diets containing soybean oil, palm kernel fatty acid distillers, rendered pork fat and lard. In Experiment 2, birds were fed diets containing rapeseed oil, coconut oil, beef tallow and palm oil. In both experiments, the birds were either not challenged or challenged with a mixture of three C. perfringens type A strains. Irrespective of the fat type present in the diet, C. perfringens did not affect broiler chicken body weight gain (BWG) and mortality in either of the two experiments. The BWG was affected by dietary fat type in both experiments, indicating that the fatty acid composition of the fat source affects broiler growth performance. In particular, the inclusion of animal fats tended to improve final BW to a greater extent compared with the inclusion of unsaturated vegetable oils. In Experiment 2, irrespective of the dietary fat type present in the diet, C. perfringens challenge significantly impaired feed conversion ratio in the period from 14 to 28 days (1.63 v. 1.69) and at 42 days (1.65 v. 1.68). In both experiments apparent metabolizable energy values were affected by dietary fat type. Irrespective of the fat type present in the diet, C. perfringens challenge decreased the digesta pH in the crop and ileum, but had no effect in cecal contents. Moreover, in Experiment 1, total organic acid concentration in the ileum was two to three times lower on soybean oil diets as compared with other treatments, indicating that C. perfringens as well as dietary fat type significantly affects microbiota activity in the broiler chicken gastrointestinal tract.