Alfalfa hay does not negatively impact performance outcomes in broilers during coccidiosis challenge
The use of alfalfa and similar forages in poultry products is often limited due to the detrimental effects of high-fiber ingredients on non-ruminant animal performance. Despite this, inclusion of alfalfa hay, specifically late-cutting hay, may confer health benefits that protect against the damaging effects of coccidiosis in poultry. The study objective was to examine performance outcomes in Ross 708 broilers fed 5% 5th-cutting alfalfa hay during a coccidiosis challenge. A total of 144 birds were assigned to a corn-soybean meal control or diet with 5% inclusion of ground 5th cutting alfalfa hay for 42d divided into 14d starter, grower, and finisher periods. At 14d, half of the birds were orally inoculated with 10X Coccivac® B-52 vaccine with a 2x2 factorial treatment arrangement of diet and inoculation. Body weight (BW) and feed intake (FI) was recorded weekly to calculate average performance outcomes. Prior to inoculation, 5% alfalfa did not negatively impact performance but increased week 2 FI by 5.1% (P = 0.04). As expected, coccidiosis reduced performance in week 3 (P < 0.05). Alfalfa inclusion did not alter coccidiosis-induced performance outcomes; however, numerical differences observed in non-inoculated birds supports future research into the benefits of feeding late-cutting alfalfa and its products to poultry.
How to Cite:
Fries-Craft, K. & Bobeck, E., (2021) “Alfalfa hay does not negatively impact performance outcomes in broilers during coccidiosis challenge”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 17(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/air.11913