Using more bioavailable sources of trace minerals pays off


A study of broiler breeder performance was conducted using three separate mineral programmes. The objective was to determine if productivity could be maintained at lower inclusion levels, simultaneously benefitting the bird and the environment. The results show an improvement in egg production and a decrease in mortality.


Higher bioavailability, lower dosage

Due to relatively low costs, inorganic trace mineral sulphates are often supplied in excess to ensure deficiencies do not occur. However, organic trace minerals such as proteinates have established their efficacy over decades of usage. As they are more bioavailable to the bird, they can be fed at reduced levels.

Productivity put to the test

Trouw Nutrition conducted a study at North Carolina State University. The objective was to determine if broiler breeder performance could be differentially influenced by either replacing high levels of trace mineral sulphates with reduced levels of trace mineral proteinates, or a mixture of the two.

Researchers studied 2,304 females and 264 males across 12 pens. At 21 weeks of age, three trace mineral programs were applied – each with differing copper, zinc, manganese and selenium content. Exact program mineral levels can be seen in Table 1.

Table 1. Treatment table


Selenium, ppm

Copper, ppm

Zinc, ppm

Manganese, ppm


0.3 Optimin

6 Optimin

30 Optimin

35 Optimin


0.3 Selenite

6 CuSO4

90 Zn SO4

100 Mn SO4


0.15 Optimin

3 Optimin

30 Optimin

35 Optimin


0.15 Selenite

3 CuSO4

60 Zn SO4

65 Mn SO4

* Mineral levels were considered to be adequate for all treatment groups

ORG: organic trace minerals
INO: inorganic trace mineral sulphates
MIX: mixture of organic and inorganic sources

Organic trace minerals improving broiler performance
When fed the organic trace mineral program between 27- 35 weeks of production, the rate of lay and the number of eggs per hen increased while hen mortality decreased. Furthermore, in the later weeks (weeks 36-45) providing a mixed program including both mineral sources reduced the number of late, dead embryos. No differences in fertility, hatchability and shell quality were found. However, the use of organic trace minerals increased the selenium content in the egg compared to the inorganic mineral-fed birds. The higher selenium content is a competitive advantage for producers, as selenium enriched eggs are considered a value-added product due to their recognized benefits in human health.

In summary, the use of organic trace minerals has the potential to improve productivity of broiler breeders even when fed at reduced levels. The implications of these data may indicate that total trace mineral levels can be reduced without affecting performance when using a more bioavailable source of minerals. This has the benefit of reducing trace mineral excretion and its impacts on the environment while maintaining optimal broiler breeder production.

About Selko
Selko is the feed additives brand of Trouw Nutrition, a Nutreco company. Selko’s portfolio consists of natural feed additive solutions that add value to integrators, feed mills and farmers. Focus areas are Salmonella control, feed safety, gut health in antibiotic-free production systems and trace mineral nutrition solutions. Selko solutions are offered as a complete package consisting of products, know-how and services. The Selko brand encompasses blends of organic acids, organic and hydroxy trace minerals, betaine and mycotoxin binders. Trouw Nutrition’s global sales organisation commercialises the Selko feed additives brand.


This article was written based on TRS Optimin #41