The field of poultry production is one of the largest local industries in Pakistan, fulfilling the increasing market demand for affordable protein sourced from chicken meat and eggs. Broiler, the breed of chicken most used for its meat, is a commercial commodity that forms a major portion of the country’s dietary needs. Ever since the advent of livestock, humans have tried their utmost to improve the production of animal products by a variety of methods. This includes both careful selection of profitable breeds in the long term and the usage of various supplements in the short term. One of these supplements being used for quite some time now is copper.

Currently, copper compounds form an important part of commercially used supplements. Copper is a naturally occurring element that is crucial in the functioning of all life. It has wide-ranging effects from an animal’s growth to its immune system - and everything else in between. Copper is essential to promoting healthy growth in tissues and it has been discovered that copper supplements also increase an animal’s ability to withstand the extremes of temperatures and improve its health in general. Extreme temperatures are detrimental towards the growth rate of broilers and this leads to increased expenses towards climate control, and feed and causes significant monetary losses for the businesses.

As of now, the most common method of copper supplementation is inorganic copper compounds. In pursuing this research at the Department of Anatomy and Histology, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, it was our intention to find out if copper nanoparticles (copper particles one billionth of a meter in size) produced more effective gains in the parameters of the study, which were quantified using the weight and small intestine tissue of the chickens while exposed to low ambient temperatures. We chose nanoparticles because it was theorized that the exceedingly small size of the material could possibly improve the absorption of the copper. The results of our study were very promising. Compared to broilers who were only given a basal diet used as an industry standard, the chicken which was supplemented with copper nanoparticles showed improvement in weight gain and better feed conversion ratio. It is our hope that this study can illustrate the benefits of incorporating modern technology into the field of poultry rearing and our results have validated this hope.

SAQIB SALEEM ABDULLAH, 

SAIMA MASOOD,

Lahore.