Bio D® and Broiler Breeders: Supporting High-Performance Animals in Their Vitamin D Needs

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Article | 17.09.2021
Modern diet formulation has developed greatly over the past years, with both macro- and micro-nutrients being explored in detail. One area of focus has been vitamins, including vitamin D. It is rightly considered to be an essential nutrient, as vitamin D is involved with regulating calcium homeostasis and as such has a very broad impact on skeletal development, immunity, and basic metabolic processes. Consequently, the importance of making sure the vitamin D requirement of high-performing animals is met speaks for itself.

This is especially true for broiler breeders: it is not only important to secure the animals' own vitamin D requirements in terms of individual growth and development, but also in regard to their production goals. Parameters such as egg quality, embryo development and hatchability all rely heavily on vitamin D, making it clear why proper supplementation of the vitamin is important for optimizing broiler breeder operations.

When looking at ways to secure vitamin D requirements for production animals, supplementation via the diet is often the easiest way to go. When doing so, it is key to understand the differences between the commercially available vitamin D products, and the different metabolites they contain. For example, Bio D® is a novel 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 product, produced via microbial fermentation and is one of the most effective vitamin D products to use when supplementing an animal. Thanks to the specific production method, its 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 offers great benefits in terms of stability and bioavailability. As such, Bio D® differs greatly from standard vitamin D3, as well as from synthetic versions of 25-hydroxy vitamin D3


Impact of 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 on broiler breeders

A recent trial evaluated the impact of Bio D® on the performance of broiler breeders. A total of 720 female broiler breeders, all from the Hubbard D line, were divided evenly between two treatments. The control group was fed a basal diet containing only standard vitamin D3, equalling a total level of 3,000 IT per kg of feed. The Bio D® group received the same control diet with Bio D® added on top, bringing the total level of vitamin D supplementation to 5,784 IU vitamin D3 per kg of feed.

The trial ran for a period of 105 days, starting when the birds were 48 weeks of age and finishing when they were 62 weeks of age. At three different moments (53, 58 and 62 weeks of age) 2,400 eggs per treatment were used to evaluate hatching performance and embryo mortality. Inclusion of Bio D® in the feed of broiler breeders significantly decreased embryo mortality in terms of early mortality (<7 days) as well as total embryo and day-old chick (DOC) mortality. Similarly, broiler breeders in the Bio D® group achieved a better hatching performance (Tables 1 and 2). 

Table 1. Mortality and hatching performance of both treatment groups
Table 2. Percentage difference between the control and the Bio D® group for the measured parameters



Vitamin D is essential for animals. As standard diet ingredients do not contain enough of this vitamin, it should be supplemented to make sure the animals' vitamin D needs are met throughout production. As efficiency is key in diet formulation, opting for a highly effective vitamin D metabolite makes sense. This is where Bio D® comes in, containing 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 with unique properties due to its fermentation origin. The benefits of Bio D® are clearly seen in field trials. 


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