PoultryUSA - June 2018 - 27
Give the birds enough time in the
Chicks must be in the brooding chamber long
enough to shed oocysts and then uptake them
again. The initial peak of oocyst output occurs at about
four to eight days. However, the birds shouldn't be allowed to cycle twice because the chamber will then be
densely packed with oocysts that will overcome intestinal integrity.
Feed the chicks
The chicks need access to feed immediately
upon arrival. If feed access is delayed, they'll
suffer from delayed gut development and vaccine cycling as well as an altered gut microbe population.
The first week of life is critical for intestinal development
and it's all based on feed access.
Birds need access to supplemental feed for at least nine
days to encourage feed uptake. If the birds are used to
seeing feed in the feed pans, they'll eat whatever collects
in the pans. So, the supplemental pans must be filled with
feed, not litter or feces.
When transitioning from starter to grower feed, avoid
switching during peak coccidia cycling. Changing the
June 2018 ❙ www.WATTAgNet.com
type of feed, particle size or composition will cause intestinal stress. Additional stress placed on a gut already compromised by the vaccine can cause health problems.
Litter moisture must be monitored. Wetter litter indicates a higher presence of oocysts and
greater cycling, which can be detrimental to
intestinal health, as well as an environment encouraging
Clostridium growth. McElroy encouraged managing litter
rather than cleaning it out entirely because of the beneficial microbiota living in the substrate.
Monitor for intestinal changes
Watch for indicators of intestinal health like
droppings in the litter. When droppings are
loose, fluffy or coated with mucus, that indicates
there's an intestinal shift - possibly due to too much coccidia cycling. If growers pay attention to the environment,
they can learn a lot about the gut health.
Pay attention to the details inside the
Finally, farmers need to observe other factors in
the house to ensure proper vaccine cycling and
health. Water lines need to be clean and uniform to prevent microbial changes. House temperatures must be set
to avoid either heat or cold stress, as both can affect the
microbial population of the gut.
"It's every piece to the puzzle in terms of basic management and every piece is important," McElroy said.
"Day-to-day management is hopefully how we can have a
more successful vaccine program." ■
The future of
poultry health: New
and old challenge,
Birds need access to feces so they
can cycle the vaccine. Use a stocking density allowing for a good
spread of the oocysts in the environment and then uptake.
If density is too high, particularly
in the brood chamber, there will
likely be excess moisture in the litter
which encourages sporulation. If the
birds are confined, they can be overwhelmed with oocysts. A single oocysts can replicate tens of thousands
of times if given the right conditions.
If density is too low, there won't be
enough shedding, or sporulation, and
the birds will not uptake uniformly.