Sector Poultry

a good investment in bad times

Nourishing young animals adequately is essential to obtain good zootechnical and economical performances. The birth process followed by intensive handling procedures and movements induces a lot of stress to the young animal, no matter, if it is a piglet, a calf, or a young bird. The right housing and providing or giving access to the necessary nutrients are crucial in order to cope with this. Although nature provides young animals with the necessary nutrients to survive via the presence of the colostrum or in birds the yolk, feeding the young animals additionally with the proper nutrients is essential in stimulating their intestinal development. The development stage of the intestine determines the digestive capacity of a bird and therewith its ability to digest nutrients efficient.

right from the start

Opposite to other species birds have the advantage to have a nutritional storage in their body – the remaining of the yolk sac – but also – unlike other species in professional animal husbandry – the birds, no matter if it are chickens or turkeys, usually have no access to feed directly. Including hatching, grading, sorting, storage and transport it can take 24 up to 72 hours until day old chick are placed at the farms. These circumstances make it obvious, why an early feeding in the poultry house is extremely relevant and important for the later development.

Besides these external stressors, the young birds must face also a harsh change in nutrition after hatch. While the yolk basically consists of fats and proteins in poultry specific molecules, the bird is later confronted with mostly plant based fats, proteins and, of course, a lot of starch.

Figure: Gonzalez et al., 2003

There are several scientific publications, which easily show the benefit of early feeding in terms of a better gut development (see fig.). The better development of the gut surface, especially in the duodenum, indicates a better digestive capacity, which is a good basis for an efficient nutrient utilization.

The early feeding of course only benefits the birds, if the feed is adequate to the demands of a young bird. The pre-starter feed should build a bridge between the yolk-nutrition and the later feed-based nutrition in the development stage of the bird, so the set-up of the feed needs to be proper. Therefore, the nutrient levels as well as the composition & structure have to be on target, as the feed needs to fulfill several goals like the mentioned GIT development & maturation, but also stimulation of the adaptive immune system, sufficient growth of other organs, skin, feathers, bones, etc.

A homogeneous and crumbled structure leads to rapid, and stable increasing feed intake and with its selected specific composition builds the bridge between the yolk-nutrition and the later feed-based nutrition and development stage of the bird.

To reach a fast and balanced gut development in all segments, the nutrient sources combine the “known” nutrients of the yolk with the later plant-based nutrients to adapt, but without overwhelming the GIT of the young animals.

The composition should merge low anti-nutrition factors with a good overall digestibility and should prepare the birds towards the composition, which the birds later face the rest of their lives. All these items are always taken into consideration in our Earlyfeed concepts.


A good prestarter feed seems to be an expensive investment in a poultry flock, especially in the current times, when meat prices are under pressure globally and raw material prices on the other hand seem to rise.

But on the other hand, the feed intake per bird is very limited, as a prestarter is only fed for a very specific time & amount and additionally the benefits of a stable, well developed bird with a high performance potential more than cover the costs. In challenging times, it is extremely important to utilize all input (birds, feed, etc.) as efficient as possible to achieve a return on invest. Based on this experience we are convinced that a good prestarter pays off, especially in challenging times.

Your Earlyfeed expert
Stefan Alius
Product Manager Poultry

This contact was suggested based on the location you are browsing from. You can of course also consult our other contacts and locations here.

Do you want to get things right from the start?

Getting your rearing strategies right early in the production cycle, pays off in the long run.
Together, let’s give the youngest animals everything they need to perform well later in life.

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