The health and performance of birds, as well as livability, can be influenced by environmental, metabolic and social stressors that the flock experiences. Mortality in a load of finished birds is considered to be influenced by the following three main factors: health status of the flock, thermal stress and physical injury during catching and loading.3
When an animal first encounters a stressor, the neurogenic system is activated.5 Failed attempts to combat or flee from the stressor immediately result in the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal cortical system.5 The activation of this system eventually leads to the proliferation of the adrenal-cortical tissue, which then secretes corticosteroids (i.e. stress hormones).6 Previous studies have shown that corticosteroids have a negative impact on broiler growth and performance.7 Chromium has been shown to reduce the levels of corticosteroids in birds alleviating the negative impact of stress on them.8,9 Furthermore, chromium has been shown to improve livability in birds subjected to different type of stressors.9
Ultimately, if we can lower the corticosterone levels in stressed birds, we can help them grow more efficiently and be better prepared to face disease and stress challenges to maintain high livability. Learn more about stress and the only FDA-reviewed source of chromium propionate on the market today at kemin.com/stress.
1Strain J.H. Nordskog A.W. The Relative Importance of Breeder Flock and Broiler Flock Factors Determining Income Over Feed Costs in Random Sample Broiler Tests. Poult Sci. Volume 41, Issue 5, 1 September 1962a, Pages 1573-1577.
2Strain J.H. Nordskog A.W. Genetic Aspects of the Profit Equation in a Broiler Enterprise. Poult Sci., Volume 41, Issue 6, 1 November 1962b, Pages 1892-1902
3Bayliss, P.A., and Hinton, M.H. 1990. Transportation of broilers with special reference to mortality rates. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 28: 93–118.
4Chauvin, C., Hillion, S., Balaine, L., Michel, V., Peraste, J., Petetin, I., Lupo, C., and Le Bouquin, S. 2011. Factors associated with mortality of broilers during transport to slaughterhouse. Animal, 5: 287–293.
5Siegel, H. S. (1980). Physiological stress in birds. Bioscience 30:529–533.
6Holmes, W. N., and J. G. Phillips (1976). The adrenal cortex of birds. Pages 292–420 in General, Comparative and Clinical Endocrinology of the Adrenal Cortex. I. Chester Jones and I. W. Henderson, ed. Academic Press, New York, NY.
7Dupont J., M. Derouet, J. Simon and M. Taouis (1999). Corticosterone alters insulin signaling in chicken muscle and liver at different steps. Journal of Endocrinology 162, 67-76
8Mirfendereski and Jahanian, 2015.
9Lester T., Brown K., Vignale K., Alvarado C., Lee J., 2018. Evaluation of chromium propionate and a butyric acid complex on male growth performance, corticosterone level and meat yield. International Poultry Scientific Forum. Atlanta, Georgia. Abstract M86, pg. 26.