Journey of feed through the digestive tract (Part II)
Following the feed through the digestive system in our last article, we talked about the journey from the beak of the bird to the gizzard.
Until this point, feed already has started to be digested and broken down. Now it is time for the animal body to intensify digestion and absorb all nutrients. Therefore, a long and intricate track is needed; the intestine!
Do you know the chicken intestine length? Find it out below.
The intestines in birds are divided into multiple parts depending on the morphology of the “section“ of the intestine and the different functions it. On a wider division chicken intestine can be separated into the small and large intestine.
- Esophagus – Crop
You will find out more in this article:
- Small intestine
- 6.1 Duodenum
- 6.2 Jejunum-Ileum
- Large intestine
The small intestine begins directly after the gizzard and ends in the intersection with the caeca and large intestine. This track can have a length of 140cm+ depending on the size of the animal. Two important functions will be performed inside the small intestine: digestion and absorption. The multiple divisions inside the small intestine are not as clearly differentiated as in mammals where there is a distinct division between duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. In birds, there isn’t such clear differentiation between the last two portions of the small intestine.
The duodenum is the portion of the intestine where digestion is still going to occur, various enzymes from the pancreas and bile from the liver will affect the passage of the feed through the duodenum. Digestive pancreatic enzymes will be involved in protein digestion, while bile will help for the digestion of lipids, a fat-soluble vitamins. The absorption in the intestine is performed by the mucosa and the villi. The villi’s morphology helps to increase the absorption area due to the protuberances that they achieve in the intestine, therefore better and healthier villi will result in better absorption of nutrients.
The duodenum plays also an important role in immunity due to the lymphoid tissue that is present. Besides this, another important action that happens in the duodenum is the neutralization of the acids from the proventricular. More information about the liver functions and their important role in digestion can be found here.
This portion of the small intestine starts at the end of the duodenum where the pancreatic and bile ducts are located and finished when it connects to the large intestine and ceca. In this long part of the small intestine, the villi are shorter, there isn’t so much digestive activity and the lymphoid tissue is in lower quantity than in the duodenum; resulting in absorption being the main activity at this level.
Ceca, large intestine and cloaca.
The ceca are two long blind “sacks” located in the intersection between the small and large intestine. Some water absorption takes place in this portion of the digestive tract but the main activity is the fermentation of the remaining undigested feed. The fermentation in the ceca results in the production of fatty acids and Vitamins from the B family, which can be absorbed and utilized by the bird.
The large intestine, also called the colon, is a short portion of the intestine and its main activity is the absorption of water. Its position in the track is between the ileocolic-caecal junction and the cloaca.
The cloaca is a tubular opening that ends in the exterior of the bird’s body. This portion of the digestive tract is where the digestive and urogenital tract comes together.
From the anatomical side, the structure of the cloaca doesn’t differ as much from the intestine but the muscularis mucosa disappears. Through the cloaca, the bird can excrete digestive and urinary waste as well as lay eggs. For more information about the formation of the egg visit this article.
Besides the physiological activity and anatomy of the intestine and ceca, there is another really important factor that provides a proper function of the system: it’s the microbiome.
In XVET, we count on numerous feed and water additives that help to support the digestive system. Regarding the organs that were mentioned, the products below help and support animals to maintain a healthy intestine; by facilitating the absorption of nutrients.
XVET’s products such as Probiodrink and Lactolyte Energy utilize probiotics to colonize the intestine with beneficial bacteria which will act as competitive exclusion. While the usage of probiotics as feed additives supports proper microbiome colonization, the addition of prebiotics provides nutrients for the bacteria to reproduce more efficacious such as the ones present in Turbo Tox. On the other hand, XVET’s Bacflora BR is formulated with one probiotic and two prebiotics to promote a healthy gut and improve the animal’s performance.
Other solutions for intestinal challenges rely on the addition of enzymes at the feed level to promote proper digestion of the feed molecules and ensure the utilization of the nutrients given in the feed; making MultiZyme and MultimixZyme XVET’s customizable solution, perfect for this task.
In XVETs mission to improve production minimizing the usage of antibiotics, products such as OregoPlus, NovoVital, and Novosol have a direct effect on the intestine health and promotes better animal performance, by using various mechanisms to reach that goal.