Effects of Enriched Charcoal as Permanent 0.2% Feed-Additive in Standard and Low-Protein Diets of Male Fattening Turkeys : An On-Farm Study.
Wet litter is the most important cause of footpad dermatitis in poultry, this in turn being a highly relevant animal-related welfare indicator. This field study was subdivided into two experiments. In Experiment 1, the standard diet was supplemented by 0.2% enriched charcoal, being a non-specific absorber and therefore might be promising in reducing faecal moisture. In Experiment 2, the experimental group received a reduced crude protein diet during weeks 6-13, combined with a 0.2% enriched charcoal supplementation. The trials were each conducted with two batches on three farms under on-farm conditions. The animals were observed at 6, 10, 14 and 18 weeks of age to collect data on body weight and different health parameters. The mortality and litter samples were analysed after slaughtering. In Experiment 1, performance and health were not affected despite higher dry matter content of the litter. In Experiment 2, the weight of birds receiving the protein-reduced diet was decreased significantly throughout the experiment. However, the slaughter weight did not differ. The mortality was reduced by 0.5% in the experimental group. Therefore, it was concluded that 0.2% of enriched charcoal is not a valuable feed-additive regarding animal health, while temporary protein reduction might have positive effects.