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Main research question/goal
How can we adapt the amount of phosphorus (P) in poultry feed to the needs of the chicken and how can we increase the use of the phytate-P (PP) to result in an economically, nutritionally and environmentally favourable feeding strategy? Because the phytate-P (PP) of the vegetable raw materials is only used from 0 to 50% by poultry (in function of age and their metabolism), (mineral) non-phytate-P (NPP) is added to the feed. This ensures that the chickens have a sufficient (but sometimes excessive) amount of digestible P for their optimum growth. However, phytate-P also forms complexes with other nutrients which results in a reduced availability of these nutrients. The aim of this study is to optimize the P in the feed to correspond to the P needs of poultry, ultimately resulting in less residual P in their manure.

Research approach
We carry out empirical feeding trials to test whether adjustments to the feed by 1) phase feeding and 2) supplementing additives (phytase, vit. D3) can result in a more efficient use of P and reduced excretion. Based on the obtained results, we develop new strategies to respond to the problems related to excess P in chicken manure: economical, nutritional and ecological (soil eutrophication).

ILVO participates in a European working group whose goal is to evaluate and harmonize the knowledge of P research. Some of the goals are to obtain a definition of "available phosphorus" or a standardized way to determine phosphorus availability. The working group hopes to achieve correct NPP and Ca levels for poultry feed, accounting for all factors that may affect Ca and P availability. This should result in a more efficient use of P, less expensive poultry feed (mineral P is expensive) and a further decrease in P excretion in poultry.

Funding provider(s)
ILVO - Instituut voor Landbouw-, Visserij- en voedingsonderzoek
Effective start/end date1/01/08 → …

ID: 4149372