Interactive Effects of Betaine and Monensin in Uninfected and Eimeria acervulina-Infected Chicks

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Three experiments (Exp.) were conducted to evaluate the interactive effects of dietary betaine (BET) and monensin (MON) in uninfected or Eimeria acervulina-infected chicks. The treatments were replicated with six (Exp. 1) or five (Exp. 2 and 3) pens of five chicks each. The experimental periods lasted 9 (Exp. 1 and 2) or 10 (Exp. 3) d each and the coccidiosis infections were established on Day 2 (Exp. 1 and 2) or Day 3 (Exp. 3) of the experiment. Average initial weight of the chicks was 101, 73, and 68 g in Exp. 1 to 3, respectively, and the initial age of the chicks was 5 (Exp. 1) or 4 (Exp. 2 and 3) d. A corn-soybean meal basal diet was used in each experiment. In Exp. 1, the effect of dietary BET (0, 0.1, or 0.5%) in uninfected or coccidiosis-infected (COC; 5 × 105 sporulated E. acervulina oocysts) chicks was investigated. In Exp. 2, the interactive effects of BET (0 or 0.1%) and MON (0 or 55 ppm) in uninfected or COC chicks were investigated in a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments. Experiment 3 was identical to Exp. 2, except the level of MON was 110 rather than 55 ppm. In Exp. 1, 2, and 3, COC reduced (P < 0.01) gain, feed intake (FI), feed efficiency (GF), and plasma carotenoid concentration (CAR) and increased (P < 0.01) lesion score (LS). In Exp. 1, gain and FI were decreased in uninfected chicks fed 0.1% BET but gain and FI were increased in COC chicks fed 0.1% BET (COC × BET quadratic, P < 0.01). Dietary BET linearly increased (P < 0.05) GF. In Exp. 2 and 3, MON increased (P < 0.01) gain, FI, GF, and CAR and decreased (P < 0.01) LS of COC chicks, but MON had no effect in uninfected chicks (COC × MON, P < 0.01). In Exp. 2, GF was increased more in chicks fed both MON and BET than in chicks fed MON (BET × MON, P < 0.06). In Exp. 3, BET increased GF of uninfected chicks fed MON and of COC chicks not fed MON (COC × BET × MON, P < 0.02). Betaine may have an effect on E. acervulina-infected chicks, but there is no conclusive evidence to indicate that the efficacy of MON is improved when fed in combination with BET.

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Poultry Science

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