The effects of fermented milk products (kefir and yogurt) and probiotic on performance, carcass characteristics, blood parameters, and gut microbial population in broiler chickens
This study was conducted to determine the effects of fermented milk products and probiotic on performance, carcass characteristics, blood parameters, and gut microbial population in broiler chickens. A total of 480 one-day-old Ross 308 broilers were allocated to 30 floor pens in a completely randomized design with six treatments, five replicates, and 16 chicks (eight males and eight females) in each replicate. On the first day, the male and female chicks were weighed and divided by the feather sexing method so that the average body weight of chicks was approximately equal in each pen. Treatments consisted of six groups (including control): group 1 had a basal diet and normal drinking water, group 2 had a basal diet and probiotics (PrimaLac®) in drinking water as recommended by the manufacturer, group 3 had a basal diet and 2 % yogurt in drinking water, group 4 had a basal diet and 4 % yogurt in drinking water, group 5 had a basal diet and 2 % kefir in drinking water, and group 6 had a basal diet and 4 % kefir in drinking water. Chemical and microbiological characteristics of kefir and yogurt were measured after each production. The results showed that 4 % kefir, yogurt, and probiotic at the recommend level in water improved body weight gain, feed intake, and feed conversion ratio compared with other groups (P < 0.05). The results indicated that treatment had a significant effect on the carcass yield, intestinal length, thigh yield, and abdominal fat in male and female chickens (P < 0.05). There were no effects on total bacteria population but the lactobacilli and coliform bacteria populations showed increasing and decreasing trends, respectively, with 4 % kefir, yogurt, and probiotic supplementation at 28 and 42 d (P < 0.05). In addition, blood glucose and total protein increased when using a high levels of kefir, yogurt, and probiotic in water, while cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) concentrations were lower in 4 % kefir, yogurt, and probiotic at the recommended level. Consequently, the results of this study showed that the use of 4 % kefir, yogurt, and probiotic at recommended level in water had beneficial effects on the growth performance, intestinal bacteria population, and blood biochemical parameters in male and female broiler chickens.