Animal health and nutrition specialist Labtec has launched what it claims to be the UK’s first liquid supplement to boost effective vitamin D3 and calcium levels in layers and broilers.

Dcal-Xtra Plus is a unique blend designed to be added to the drinking water of breeders, broilers and layers. It is specifically intended for use during periods of malabsorption and at times when feed supplies of vitamin D3 may be inadequate to meet demand.

“Vitamin D3 and calcium are vital nutrients in poultry systems, being intimately involved in the development of bone and shell quality,” explains Labtec managing director David Tavernor.

“Shortages of either D3 or calcium can result in reduced leg strength in turkeys, broilers and pheasants and shell weakness in laying birds, all of which knock profits. Dcal-Xtra Plus is the first product to combine calcium with the highly available 25(OH) vitamin D3 to maximise the benefit to bone and shell quality.”

Mr Tavernor explains that standard vitamin D3 has to be synthesised by the liver before it is available to the bird. 25-OH-vitamin D3 is a metabolite of D3 that avoids the need for synthesis, making it more readily available to the bird. “The increased speed of availability combined with the extra calcium gives birds a double boost.”

It is completely water soluble and is designed to be added to the header tank of drinking systems or supplied through standard dosing equipment at a rate of 0.5ml/litre of clean drinking water.

The product is supplied in one-litre containers, enough to treat 2000 litres of drinking water and typically costs £17.50/litre.