Dr. Erwin Awitan on Feed Sanitation and Hygiene

Dr. Erwin Awitan, a technical consultant and a former assistant professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine in the University of the Philippines Los Baños, conducted a seminar titled, “Feed Sanitation and Hygiene” in the Animal Science Lecture Hall on August 2 as part of the Animal Science 299 Graduate Seminar Series. The seminar discussed about the problems associated with poultry management and the ways for proper feed handling.

Dr. Awitan talked about the experienced difficulties of farmers in poultry management which lower the performance of broiler chickens. Farmers complain that something is wrong with the feeds.  However, Dr. Awitan explained that the feeds do have complete nutritional requirements. The real problem is that farmers and other animal scientists fail to provide the right environment for the chickens.

Discussing heat stress among chicks, Dr. Awitan emphasized that high temperature maximizes water consumption of the chicks which causes wet droppings. Heat is also related with other problems in poultry management such as in feed handling as high temperature causes grain damages.

“They [farmers] don’t understand how to play humidity inside the building,” Dr. Awitan explained.

According to him, the temperature requirement is not satisfied because farmers don’t apply the concept of heat index. They often misread the poultry’s behaviour. As a result, the chicks are more vulnerable to infections and metabolic diseases.

Further, based on Dr. Awitan’s cited findings, the biggest problem that poultry farmers experience today is the disease among chickens called Necrotic Enteritis. It is the inflammation of the small intestine caused by pathogens which is usually acquired from contaminated feeds.  He shared that this could also be due to poor husbandry practices among poultry farmers.

“Just imagine the already stressed broilers ingest feeds with high bacterial content…” he explained.

Dr. Awitan also shared that to reduce the inefficiency and mortality rate among broilers, farmers should reduce heat, avoid feed contamination, provide force ventilation, and improve husbandry and animal health. He also added that custom fit nutrition, energy balance, and digestibility should be considered by farmers to have a higher efficiency and production rate in their poultries. (Christine Mae B. Santos)

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