Effect of an intestinal optimizer in laying hens

Effect of an intestinal optimizer in laying hens

The trial was conducted in Romania beetwen 2017 and 2018 with Isa Brown laying hens, and was aimed at preventing coccidiosis and minimizing economic losses related to the disease through the use of an intestinal optimizer.

An intestinal optimizer is a product of natural origin rich in pronutrients that improves the local immune response of the intestine. It is not a pharmacological product, it does not create resistances, it does not leave residues and, therefore, it can be administered during the whole productive cycle without withdrawal period, unlike chemical coccidiostats.

Experimental design

The trial was conducted in a farm that suffered outbreaks of coccidiosis by E. tenella for 6 years in 22-28 weeks-old hens.

The birds were separated into two batches:

  • Batch A (89,433 birds): intestinal optimizer (preventive). An intestinal optimizer was administered at 0.5 kg/t from week 19 to 40 (22 weeks of treatment). Administration of the product started prior to the outbreak of the disease, which means that the intestinal optimizer was used as preventive.
  • Batch B (29,250 birds): control (treatment). This batch did not receive any natural product as prevention of the disease. When coccidiosis outbreak appeared (week 26) and mortality increased, the intestinal optimizer was applied as following:
    • Intestinal optimizer (powder premix) at 0.5 mg/kg for 15 weeks (from week 26 to 40).
    • Intestinal optimizer (oral solution) at 0.1 ml/kl as support for the first 7 days after the onset of symptoms.

The evaluated parameters were: weekly and accumulated egg production (%) (Housed Hen Egg), presence of coccidiosis lesions and weekly and accumulated mortality rate.


Control batch VS pronutrient batch

Chart 1 and 2: Egg production (%) in the treated batch (F1 – left) and the control batch (F2 – right).

Regarding egg production (%), the batch using the intestinal optimizer as preventive treatment shows a normal egg production (not affected by the disease) that even exceeds the breed standard (Chart 1). In contrast, in the control batch, which suffers the coccidiosis outbreak, production is affected and the batch is not able to recover normal parameters (Chart 2). The same situation can be observed if the number of housed hen eggs (H.H.E.) of both bathes are compared (Chart 3).

Number of eggs per bird housed in both study lots

Chart 3: Number of eggs per bird housed in both study lots and in the racial standard.

Regarding mortality, the peak produced by cecal coccidiosis due to E. tenella in the control group can be seen in figure 4. The outbreak caused fibrino-necrotic or hemorrhagic lesions with a score of 3 to 5.

Percentage of accumulated mortality

Chart 4: Percentage of accumulated mortality in control, treatment and breed standard.

Chart 5 shows a summary of the productive parameters evaluated and the difference between the studied batches.

Productive parameters and related to coccidiosis

Chart 5. Productive parameters and related to coccidiosis at week 40 of the laying cycle.


To conclude, the use of an intestinal optimizer in a batch as a preventive for coccidiosis:

  • Avoided a coccidiosis outbreak, while the control group suffered the disease.
  • Allowed to gain 4.98% eggs (24.3 eggs) more per housed bird compared to the control group (at week 40).
  • Obtained similar production to breed standards.
  • Decreased mortality by 1.32 points compared to the control batch.

Therefore, this trial shows that using an intestinal optimizer for the prevention of coccidiosis is an effective tool to prevent the outbreak of the disease whilst allowing good productive results. However, according to the obtained results, its use once symptoms appear does not have the same effectivity and the productive parameters expected for the age of the animal are not met.

This optimizer of the intestinal mucosa is commercially available under the trademark Alquernat Zycox.


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