Over recent years enzymes have been the focus of a large amount of research and have since become key ingredients in poultry feeds. It is now common practice for phytase and xylanase enzymes to be used across poultry diets, and for Sportsman, game bird diets are no exception.

Cereal crops (wheat, barley), cereal byproducts (such as wheatfeed) and high protein raw materials (such as soybean meal etc.) are the major constituents of poultry feeds and the target for enzymes. Each enzyme has a different function and is added to increase the digestibility of the major components of the feed.

Plants naturally have their own protective mechanisms which have helped enable their survival, having evolved in ways to protect themselves from being eaten by animals. These are primarily in the form of anti-nutritional factors. Grains are protected by a tough outer layer, inside which all of the nutrients are held. Other molecules within the cell also bind to nutrients, allowing the plant to create its own nutrient store for more nutritionally demanding times such as seed germination.

Phytate is one such anti-nutritional molecule, having a role in plant cells to bind to phosphorus to create a large supply available for such demanding times within the plant. A phytate molecule has the capability of binding to six phosphorus molecules, which cannot be released without the enzyme phytase. Various minerals, are also able to bind to the phytate molecule, as well as proteins and starch, making all of these nutrients unavailable to the bird. Phytase is not produced by poultry or game birds so in order to increase the digestibility of cereals in the feed and allow for the release of phosphorus (and the other bound nutrients), phytase enzymes are included in the Sportsman  range of diets.

Another enzyme which is included in Sportsman diets is a xylanase enzyme. This enzyme is able to target the non-starch polysaccharide (NSP) component of plant cell walls, allowing their contents to be released and to be able to interact with digestive enzymes in the gut. The plant cells which contain the nutrients can be thought of as eggs, with the NSP component being the shell and the nutrients which are important to the bird held inside this barrier. The xylanase enzyme then acts to break this shell and release the nutrients into the gut for digestion and use by the bird.

Sportsman consider a wide range of enzymes and other dietary additives, and based on extensive published scientific literature and trial work, are able to be confident in the decision of which enzymes to include in the diet for optimal diet quality and to support good bird health and performance.

Sportsman also have the benefit of a close relationship with AB Vista (enzyme producers) and ABN (poultry feed compounder), all falling within the AB Agri family, of which Sportsman is also a member. This means there is a huge amount of research and expertise at hand to ensure the best products and ingredients are selected to product highly nutritious and good quality Sportsman feeds.