Turkeys require a high feed intake with an average FCR of 2.30 (e.g., strain BUT 6), a factor which makes the cost of feeding, the first investment consideration for producers. High protein turkey diets, however, can result in the creation of favorable conditions for certain opportunistic pathogens, such as Clostridium perfringens. Turkeys are also vulnerable to enteritis disease, with the risk that this may lead to wet litter conditions under which turkeys can easily be exposed to dysbacteriosis and leg bone malformation.
Reducing feed costs, therefore, while keeping turkeys healthy and productive, is one of the major challenges facing producers at present.
The impact of necrotic enteritis is higher in turkeys than in other poultry species. This is due to certain breeding methods, such as the use of high protein diets and the early departure of female turkeys, which can be stressful for the remaining birds. One of the key steps to lowering the risk of enteritis disease is to reduce the presence of Clostridium in the bird’s gut.
An in vitro study, conducted by Santovito et al., evaluated Safmannan® inhibition capacity in relation to Clostridium perfringens growth in the liquid phase. In the graph, the black curve shows the normal growth of Clostridium perfringens without an inhibitor. The orange curve shows the impact of Safmannan® on the bacterial growth, with the longer lag phase and maximum population being reached at a much lower level than in the control group. This is explained by the fact that Safmannan® binds the bacteria, which are then unable to multiply.
An in vivo trial was carried out in Italy in 2021 to evaluate the effect of Safmannan® on turkeys. There were 2 groups: a control without Safmannan® and a group supplemented with Safmannan® from 500 g/t in the starter feed to 125 g/t in the finisher feed. Body weight in the Safmannan® group increased by 80g while FCR reduced by a significant 4 points (see figure), both factors helping farmers to increase their income.