This study investigated the effects of a proprietary commercial feed additive (FA) comprised of a blend of fatty acids, organic acids and phytochemicals, a hydroxy trace mineral (MA), as well as a water acidification product (WA), alone and in combination, on growth performance in non-vaccinated broiler chickens raised in an antibiotic-free production system. The test treatments were: FA, WA, FA and WA combined (FA*WA), FA, WA and MA combined (FA*WA*MA). The efficacy of these treatments were compared to a negative control (CON) and a medicated feeding program (AGP). Ross 708 cockerels (N = 2376) were subject to a 3-phase commercial feeding program: starter (0 - 20 d), grower (21 - 28 d) and finisher (28 - 35 d), with no coccidiostats or additional medications added to the feed. On day 14 birds were subjected to an in-feed Clostridia perfringens (Cp) challenge and a subset of animals were euthanized and the cecal digesta was collected for Cp enumeration. Prior to pathogen challenge (day 14) birds fed the FA*WA and F*WA*MA treatments had significantly higher body weights (+2.6-3.5%) than those fed CON, and similar to that of birds fed the AGP. These early growth advantages were not sustained post-challenge. Clostridia counts in cecal digesta were dramatically reduced in birds fed the AGP compared to all treatments. The FA (-2.5 log), FA*WA (-2.0 log), and FA*WA*MA (-2.3 log) treatments had significantly lower Clostridia counts than the CON treatment. Together, these findings support the use of combined in-feed and in-water strategies for reducing Clostridia, while maintaining growth, in antibiotic free production systems.

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