Trace minerals are often ignored nutrients in poultry feed formulations, some people even advocate total elimination of mineral supplements in feed formulation. But increasing amount of literature shows that trace minerals should no longer be afford to be ignored as they appear to affect bird’s appetite and immune system reactions. We usually concerned about immune system responses of farm animals. We all talk much about immunity while selling our products to farmers and farmers takes equally strong interest when they heard about immune system enhancing products.
Farmers want their birds to have strong immune system to fight against pathogens, but we should understand the fact that this system of the body is highly energy and nutrient consuming system which could drained nutrients at high level and could possibly effects FCR. So, we need to know that when to keep this system dormant and when to switch on. Pathogens which invades the body would probably trigger immune system but sometimes certain feed ingredients are also used to stimulate immune system like yeast and soybeans.
Zinc, Selenium and other trace minerals have been evaluated in regards to their roles in the immune system responses. Although, we cannot be so sure regarding their specific roles in immunity but evidences are piling up slowly and in future we may develop some products which are specifically designed for immune system.
As we have seen recently specific compounds are being developed by chelation of minerals like Zinc picolinate has better bioavailability than its citrate or gluconate chelates. These specialized products are not been regarded as normal mineral mixture but considered as functional nutrient. Zinc, copper, manganese and all trace minerals are no longer defined by their concentration alone. They have ceased being simple minerals in classic nutrition terms. They are now become health additives.
Of course it is not their high or super doses of such trace minerals that possess such functional roles but ordinary mineral mixture supplies could bring same performance in normal doses. We are underestimating the importance of minerals because they are cheaply available. Many of us flows with chelation technology and unnecessarily assumed expensively chelated minerals as super nutrients. Normal mineral mixture which is available in the market could provide sufficiently acceptable results in layer rations.
To cut short, it important to follow new developments in the trace mineral nutrition science, but before making any changes in your existing diet take a comprehensive review of current form of minerals that you are using. Perhaps your present trace minerals formula is right and you don’t need any changes.
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