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Nutrition and Digestive Physiology of the Broiler Chick: State of the Art and Outlook

Monogastric Research Centre, School of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Anna Arczewska-Włosek and Sylwester Świątkiewicz
Animals 2021, 11(10), 2795;
Received: 8 September 2021 / Revised: 23 September 2021 / Accepted: 23 September 2021 / Published: 25 September 2021
The first week after hatch is the most challenging period in the life of broilers. The digestive tract of the newly hatched chick is immature and must undergo dramatic changes before it can efficiently digest and absorb nutrients. The gut is the vital organ where nutrient digestion and absorption take place. Ontogenic changes that accompany improved digestion and absorption include increased secretion of digestive enzymes, increase in the gut absorptive surface area, and enhanced nutrient transporters. The obvious limiting factors are the secretion and activities of digestive enzymes, and the surface area for absorption. These limitations are overcome as the birds grow older, with concurrent improvements in nutrient utilization. In addition, substantial changes also take place in the physical and functional development of the immune system and intestinal microbial ecology. However, the focus of the current review was on nutrition-related challenges and nutritional approaches to assist the chick during this highly demanding period.
Because the intestine is the primary nutrient supply organ, early development of digestive function in newly hatched chick will enable it to better utilize nutrients, grow efficiently, and achieve the genetic potential of contemporary broilers. Published data on the growth and digestive function of the gastrointestinal tract in neonatal poultry were reviewed. Several potential strategies to improve digestive tract growth and function in newly hatched chick are available and the options include breeder nutrition, in ovo feeding, early access to feed and water, special pre-starter diets, judicious use of feed additives, and early programming. View Full-Text
Keywords: newly hatched chick; gastrointestinal tract; nutrition; broiler newly hatched chick; gastrointestinal tract; nutrition; broiler
MDPI and ACS Style

Ravindran, V.; Abdollahi, M.R. Nutrition and Digestive Physiology of the Broiler Chick: State of the Art and Outlook. Animals 2021, 11, 2795.

AMA Style

Ravindran V, Abdollahi MR. Nutrition and Digestive Physiology of the Broiler Chick: State of the Art and Outlook. Animals. 2021; 11(10):2795.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ravindran, Velmurugu, and M. R. Abdollahi. 2021. "Nutrition and Digestive Physiology of the Broiler Chick: State of the Art and Outlook" Animals 11, no. 10: 2795.

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