Chicken health and its gut

The Gut:How To Achieve and Maintain A Healthy Gut In Your Chicken And its Benefit

How To Effectively Maintain And Achieve A Healthy Gut In Your Chicken And The Benefit To Derive From it.


Maintaining and achieving a healthy gut in your chicken (poultry birds) has a tremendous impact on your overall success rate.

Over the past 6 decades, we have all witnessed significant genetic improvement in poultry production particularly in terms of:

  • Improved quality and quantity of birds produce at any given time.
  • Reduction in mortality rate due to availability of vaccines and improved management techniques
  • Reduction in losses due to the adaptation of better technology
  • Mark reduction in excessive use of antibiotics through improvement in biosecurity, management practices, particularly in automated large-scale farms scattered all across the world.


This brings us to the article for today that talks about one of the most important single factor that affects poultry production.

 “The Gut”. The gut in simple terms is referred to as the gastrointestinal tract.

The gut of the chicken is a delicate and complex organ it performs varying functions which comprise the following:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Microbiology
  3. Immunology,
  4. Physiology

It has a very important role to play in the overall health and successes rate of the entire poultry production.

When the gut of a chicken is compromised, digestion and nutrient absorption are adversely affected in the process.

It can have a detrimental effect on feed intake and the absorption of nutrients for a healthy bird.

Without good absorption and conversion of nutrients by the gut for the birds to utilize for good health and growth.

This will lead to serious economic loss and greater susceptibility to diseases.

When this happens most farmers are then left helpless and confused not knowing fully what to do or what is exactly wrong with their birds.

The following important points are good strategies you can adopt to help you reduce intestinal health problems and the production hazards associated with them.


Chicken health and its gut


The Use of Dietary Fiber

It was discovered that dietary fiber has a profound effect on gastrointestinal tract (GIT) development.

Digestive physiology, including nutrient digestion, fermentation, and absorption processes of poultry.

Dietary fibers enhance the development of the gizzard in poultry birds. A well-developed gizzard is a must to maintain good intestinal health. The coarse fiber particles are selectively retained in the gizzard, which ensures a complete grinding and well-regulated feed flow and secretion of digestive juices and regulates GIT motility and feed intake.

The addition or inclusion of insoluble fibers in adequate amounts in feed improves the gizzard function and help tremendously in the control of harmful bacterial in the gut.


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The use of Probiotics and Prebiotics in Poultry in Achieving a Healthy Gut

With so many countries discouraging the use of antibiotics and the antibiotics resistance issues in chicken.

Probiotics and prebiotics have attracted considerable attention as better alternatives to the use of antibiotics in animal feeds.

Supplementing diets with probiotics and prebiotics is highly beneficial to the chicken as they improve the intestinal health or gut of the chicken significantly.

And of course, when this happens it has overall effects and influence on the bird’s growth performance and health.

Probiotics introduce beneficial microorganisms into the intestinal tract of the bird through the diet (feed or water).

Its consists of live bacteria, fungi, or yeasts that positively contribute to the gastrointestinal tract of the bird.

As such, they are important for a well-formed and well-maintained digestive system which is the aim or desire of every poultry farmer.

And it is indirectly necessary for optimal growth performance and the overall health of the animals in general.

 Prebiotics Prebiotics in simple terms are non-digestibility feed ingredients that positively affect the hosts (livestock) i.e. Oligosaccharides which are a very good example of prebiotics and are non-digestible carbohydrates.

The prebiotics works simply by supplying nutrients to beneficial microorganisms or by tricking harmful bacteria into attaching themselves to the oligosaccharide rather than to the mucous membrane.

This reduces intestinal colonization thereby decreasing the incidence of bacterial infection in the birds leaving the birds healthy which is the aim and desire of every farmer.


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poor gut is responsible for poor health in chickens


The use of Toxin binders, Anti- mycotoxins

Mycotoxins have caused a lot of damage to many farmers over the years, and in fact, have succeeded in discouraging so many farmers.

Leading them to quit farming altogether especially poultry farming. Among the various toxic effect of mycotoxins are:

  1. It causes severe immunosuppression
  2. Giving room for opportunistic infection
  3. Reduces the effectiveness of vaccination
  4. Giving room for indiscriminate use of antibiotics in poultry the list can go on and on.

The use of antioxidants or toxin binders would go a long way in neutralizing or cushioning the adverse effects of mycotoxins in the gut or the general health, and well-being of the chicken.

Once the gut or intestinal health of your bird is very healthy there would be accelerated growth. And good performance results in an excellent feed conversion ratio which would, in turn, translate into higher yield and profit for you as the farmer.  

 Other Management Practices that Will Help in Improving the Chicken Gut

Practicing a sound and effective poultry operation would guarantee Profitability and reduce or eliminate losses or death that might result from a compromised gut.

A lot of poultry diseases are gastrointestinal related i.e. necrotic enteritis, coccidiosis, diarrhea, fowl typhoid, and other viral infections that affect poultry such as astroviruses, enteroviruses, etc.

The following management practices if adequately carried out would improve the intestinal health or gut of your birds:

  1. Providing proper and adequate nutrition and a clean environment for your birds
  2. Providing feed at the right time, do not allow them to go hungry for too long it can trigger underlining diseases.
  3. Avoid conditions that encourage stress at all time
  4. Ensure and encourage the practice of biosecurity at all times to reduce the transfer of disease from one farm to another.
  5. Strict adherence to the vaccination schedule.
  6. Effective and proper treatment of an existing gut disorder


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In Conclusion

Maintaining healthy intestinal health for your chicken cannot be overemphasized.

You should keep this very important point at the back of your mind in terms of the intestinal health of your chicken.

that the gastrointestinal system of a chicken has two very important functions:

  • one is digestion & absorption
  • Immunity

These two points cannot be compromised, It is very important you do what is outlined above to achieve this, it would go a long way in helping you achieve and make substantial profits in your business venture.

Other points you can derive from maintaining a healthy and sound gut for your chicken include:

  1. Adequate digestion and absorption of valuable feed nutrients given to your chicken
  2. Less wastage and proper utilization of feed nutrients
  3. Ensures resistance against harmful microorganisms in your chicken intestine.
  4. A proper feed conversion ratio results in higher yields and profits for the farmer.
  5. Reduces mortality and morbidity rates

Achieving all these would go a long way in increasing the profitability of your entire poultry operation thereby living you satisfied and happy.


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