Prevent bone diseases in poultry

Bone diseases associated with fast-growing birds

Background on the challenge

Due to the imbalance between bone and muscle growth in fast-growing birds, the pressure on the bones is changing, which causes deformities. The most common skeletal defects occur in leg bones (Tibial Dyschondroplasia, Rickets, Black bone syndrome) and joints (Femoral head necrosis). Bone fractures are a combination of inadequate management and hygiene, as well as the lack of nutritional adjustments with the new genetics on bone structure.  The tibia is the fastest-growing bone in young broilers, so 6.5% of tibial fractures are related to Tibial Dyschodroplasia (TD), which is an abnormality in tibial growth plate development (see Figure 1).

Many nutritional factors have been shown to influence the occurrence and severity of TD. One of them is related to a moderate imbalance of dietary Ca and P, which can be counteracted by increasing the levels of vitamin D3. Calcification in modern broilers is impaired. There is indication that this may be due to low enzyme activity.

The implication for the industry

Bone fractures are of concern to the poultry industry as they affect broiler gait, animal welfare, and production performance.

Around 1% of all heavy-meat-type birds that are reared worldwide have some degrees of this disease. It occurs around 5-8 weeks of age in broilers, while in turkeys it happens at a later stage in their growth period.

Birds suffering lameness and TD generally need to be treated with antibiotics.

  • quick to react

  • improves Ca-metabolism

  • improves bone calcification

  • increases tibia breaking strength

  • reduces growth plate abnormalities

Panbonis® is a complementary feed that contains a standardized level of 1,25 dihydroxycholecalciferol-glycosides (1,25(OH)2D3-gly) from dried and ground Solanum glaucophyllum leaves. 1,25(OH)2D3-gly can only be absorbed after the sugar molecule is released from 1,25(OH)2D3 by specific enzymes that are present in the intestine. This is a gradual process, ensuring a slow release of the bioactive component. Once it is absorbed, it does not need additional activation steps, like vitamin D3 or 25-hydroxycholecalciferol (25(OH)D3) do, which means that Panbonis® can directly support the animal even in periods when specific activation enzymes in liver and kidney are limited.

Dietary supplementation with 1,25(OH)2D3, is effective in preventing TD in broilers. 1,25(OH)2D3 stimulates chondrocyte differentiation and inhibits the initial accumulation of these chondrocytes in the growth plate of the tibia.

  • Supports the crucial role of vitamin D3

  • 100% Natural

  • GMO-free

  • Standardized content of the active ingredient

  • Gradually absorbed from the intestine

  • Considered a complementary feed in the EU

  • High processing and storage stability

Mode of action

Vitamin D3 needs two conversion steps to become metabolically active. The first step happens in the liver, where vitamin D3 is converted to 25(OH) D3. 25(OH) D3 is the storage form of vitamin D3 and gives a good indication of the vitamin D3 status of the animal. The second activation step happens in the kidney, where the 25(OH)D3 is converted into 1,25(OH)2D3. 1,25(OH)2D3 then interacts with the vitamin D3 receptor (VDR), which is – among others – located in the gut cells. There, 1,25(OH)2D3 increases the expression of Calbindin, a Ca-binding protein in the cell that transports the Ca from the gut to the blood.

Calcification in heavyweight broilers is impaired due to the lack of 1α-hydroxylase, the enzyme that converts Vitamin D3 in its active metabolite 1,25(OH)2D3. Therefore, when providing Panbonis®, which naturally contains 1,25(OH)2D3-gly, only the glycosides need to be cleaved by endogenous enzymes, and the free 1,25(OH)2D3 can be absorbed and is directly available at the site of Ca-absorption.

Poultry – Vitamin D Metabolism

Trial results

The basal diet contained 1000 IU/kg of Vitamin D3. The diets were formulated to induce a high incidence of TD, via a moderate imbalance between dietary Ca and P.

Table 1. Bodyweight gain from 1 to 14 days and blood ionized Ca, tibia breaking strength, and tibia stiffness in 14-day old broilers

  Control Panbonis®10 SED Sign.
BWG, g 183.9 192.5 9.38 0.089
Blood ionized Ca, mM, pH 7.4 1.21 1.31 0.030 **
Tibia breaking strength, N 44.83 49.38 2.999 *
Stiffness, N/m 37472 41016 2863 NS
TD incidence (%) 6.7 0    

Sign.: significances: *P<0.05; **P<0.01

Our solution Panbonis®
  • quick to react
  • improves Ca-metabolism
  • improves bone calcification
  • increases tibia breaking strength
  • reduces growth plate abnormalities