The villus-crypt ratio in broilers, also known as chickens raised for meat production, is a measure of the health of the gut. The villi are small, finger-like projections in the small intestine that are responsible for absorbing nutrients. The crypts are small, depression-like structures in the small intestine that contain the cells that produce new villi.
A healthy gut has a high ratio of villi to crypts, indicating that there are a lot of villi present to absorb nutrients. However, in broilers with gut health issues, the villus-crypt is often low, indicating that there are fewer villi present to absorb nutrients.
There are many factors that can affect the villus-crypt ratio in broilers, including diet, genetics, and disease. For example, a diet that is deficient in certain nutrients such as zinc, copper, and vitamin E can decrease the number of villi and lower the ratio. Similarly, a diet that is too high in protein or energy can also lead to gut health issues and decrease the ratio.