Neochicc® is Cargill’s new complete diet for broiler chicks, in mini-pellet form.

Poultry technical specialist Luke Barnard explains how the advanced ingredients in this complete chick diet has raised performance benchmarks from days zero to five.

Luke Barnard joined Cargill UK’s poultry team in March 2023 as UK technical application specialist. He studied biological sciences and took this knowledge into animal nutrition, spending 12 years in technical and product development roles in global animal nutrition companies, focusing mainly on poultry.

He can be reached at

The Neochicc® diet has been shown to improve feed conversion rates, chick weights, and overall profitability.

Start with the best

High-quality and highly digestible raw ingredients and a favourable feed format are the foundation of the Neochicc® offering. 

These are carefully included in the diet with a specially selected cocktail of proven feed additives designed to help the animal, and specifically its digestive tract and processes, to reach maturity successfully and as soon as possible.

Stimulating digestion The company has used its wide experience in nutrition and phytogenics in the development of Neochicc® and a range of phytogenic compounds in the diet. These are stabilised essential oil compounds proven to promote efficient broiler performance. Figure 1 shows published research showing the effect of essential oil compounds on digestive enzyme activity. These enzymes are responsible for starch, fat and protein digestibility. In young birds their production is not at its peak and, therefore, nutrient digestibility can be restricted.
A graph showing the Effect of essential oil compounds (EOC) on digestive enzyme activity (Source: Adapted from Basmacioğlu Malayoğlu et al., 2010)

Figure 1 – Effect of essential oil compounds (EOC) on digestive enzyme activity (Source: Adapted from Basmacioğlu Malayoğlu et al., 2010)

Gastrointestinal development

The small intestine of newly-hatched chicks is immature and undergoes physiological and morphological changes during the first two weeks post hatch.  

During this time the barrier function of the intestinal cells is being established. 

Key components in Neochicc®, have been shown to promote intestinal integrity by helping the intestinal cells ‘stick together’ and provide the cells with energy for proliferation, growth and development. 

This action is shown in Figure 2. Intestinal cell proliferation is needed for a healthy gut system, to maintain barrier function, and expand the surface area for nutrient absorption.

The Effect of essential oil compounds on epithelial cell proliferation in the intestine (Source: Cargill)

Figure 2 – Effect of essential oil compounds on epithelial cell proliferation in the intestine (Source: Cargill)


Immune support

After hatching, the gastrointestinal tract of the bird is colonised by bacteria and the immune system needs to be trained to distinguish between commensal and pathogenic bacteria. 

But the chick’s immune system is also immature until approximately four weeks old, so early nutrition plays a key role in supporting it.

Neochicc® uses ‘kind to the gut’ ingredients to support the immune system and promote its development.

Neochicc® aims to be the complete solution for young birds. Our research shows that taking a multifaceted approach to promoting bird maturity, while providing the best and most bioavailable nutrients, can achieve the best possible start for the young bird.

“In simple terms, we now have a more sophisticated diet and feed presentation that supports gut development and growth, but also promotes health and welfare to improve the lifetime performance of the birds.” 

Vital early action

Young chicks face many challenges, and they are not well equipped to deal with them at birth. Their lifetime performance typically rests on how successfully they navigate their way through the first few days. 

Diet, therefore, plays a vital role, but young birds don’t consume a great deal – in the case of broilers, only 3% of their total lifetime feed intake – so the quality and actions of the diet are paramount. 

Neochicc® has come up with consistent results in helping these young birds get off to the best start in life.

Neochicc® results

On-farm UK-based trial results, between winter 2021 and spring 2022, showed an improvement in feed conversion rates of three points across 25,000 broiler flocks and consistently higher weights at day seven, where Neochicc® was fed compared with a standard crumb. 

‘Overall profitability in flocks fed Neochicc improved by 5p a bird.’  

For more details on Neochicc®, Cargill’s mini-pellet complete diet for broiler and layer chicks, see

  Key merits of an advanced complete young chick diet

  • Specially selected raw materials designed to help gut function and development without compromising nutrient digestibility 
  • The best possible combination of ingredients for the maturation and function of the immune system  
  • The unique role of each ingredient and their complementary actions in maximising bird performance 
  • Provides the birds with the best possible start to equip them through the challenging first few days.