THE NETHERLANDS - Great progress is being made in the Netherlands towards its declared aim of reducing the use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry production.
This was the main message Dr Hetty van Beers of the Dutch animal health authority told a special conference at VIV Europe yesterday, 21 May.
National results are due to be published in June and they are expected to show a 50 to 60 per cent reduction in antibiotic usage in 2013 compared to the start of the campaign in 2007.
The government target of 70 per cent reduction by 2015 looks as if it will be hard to achieve but some sectors of the animal protein industry have been successful and goals will now be set for each sector.
Among the options for further reducing antibiotics from poultry production involves early feeding of chicks, giving nutrients to chicks as soon as they have hatched.
Carla van der Pol from HatchTech told the conference about experiments that have shown that this early access to feed improves the birds' health and growth.
One trial showed that early access to a special nutritional supplement were better able to withstand an experimental coccidiosis challenge later. The nutrients in the special early feed function as immuno-modulators while the feed also helps establish a healthy gut microflora.
HatchTech's HatchCare system as well as Patio and X-Treck from Vencomatic are demosntrated at VIV Europe - all three systems are based on the concept of allowing chicks access to feed and water right after hatching.
Top image via Shutterstock