Pathogenic clostridial species are associated with a host of different disease states in poultry. Probably the most well known would be necrotic enteritis (NE), which is caused by Clostridium perfringens. Usually in association with some sort of gut stressor like coccidia infection, excessively high dietary protein, or high fiber. Overall, the cost of NE to the broiler industry is estimated to be more than $5 billion globally. There are several other poultry clostridial diseases in addition to NE. For example, C. colinum causes ulcerative enteritis, C. perfringens and C. septicum both cause gangrenous dermatitis/cellulitis, and C. botulinum causes botulism.
Here it is again…the poultry production gear. With VFD’s, ABF, NAE, Organic, etc…requirements, pathogen reduction has become more critical than ever. The water sanitation cog has always been one of my top two most important (but they all are in moving a production system forward) cogs. It is gaining more attention due to the improvement in livability, gut health, and overall performance for those that take it seriously.
We all know that with winter comes cold weather and with cold weather comes copious amounts of respiratory challenges for the broilers/pullets/layers in your care. In this quarters article, I wanted to briefly go over some of the most common respiratory issues poultry may face, as well as, some things you can do to try and prevent and treat once they get them.
Today’s modern chicken and turkey is best classified as an intestinal athlete. When things are in a steady state and the food being ingested is being properly digested and turned into poop, the best analogy I can think of is a well-rehearsed symphony orchestra playing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. When things are upset and the steady state is disrupted the analogy would change to the worst middle school band recital that you have ever had to endure.
After working at BVS for a year now and getting to witness first hand the ups and downs of ABF and Organic poultry production, I have become increasingly familiar with the array of nutraceutical products on the market and how to use them. Many of the products available for use in poultry claim either specific and broad protection or prevention against some of the most common poultry diseases. Often the products work better together, rather than on their own, but figuring out that magic combination usually comes after a lot of trial and error.
No matter how much time you spend in your turkey house, ensuring every little thing is in working order, your turkeys might still get sick. When they get sick, my hope is to teach you a checklist that you can go through on your own before calling your veterinarian to try and figure out what might be going on. This might help you identify the problem on your own, or at the very least will help you present your situation to your veterinarian.
To tighten or not to tighten…this is some question poultry producers may ask as their production facilities get some age on them. For new houses, this better be a no brainer; if a new house isn’t tight, you need to have a frank discussion with the construction engineer. But for older houses, we need to ask ourselves what the payback is relative to the geographic climate conditions (although weather has been unpredictable – on November 29, I was talking to a customer near Charlotte, NC and his thermometer was in the 20° range. At the same time my temp near Gettysburg, PA was in the mid 30’s), how long the house will be in operation, and what the cost benefit is. In this article, we will look at the benefit part, only from a house tightness perspective, not an insulation value perspective.
In March 2018 I presented at the Midwest Poultry Show turkey production session. The title of my presentation was “Paying Attention to Detail– Raising Turkeys Without Antibiotics?”. I have spent a lot of time discussing the need to pay attention to detail. Why? Because in today’s animal production, we are moving toward no antibiotic use. We can no longer rely on the crutches of the past, as I listed them in that presentation (see slide below).
Kinkyback or Enterococcal spondylitis is a condition that has been occurring more frequently in broilers as growth rates have increased and is a very difficult problem to correct. I personally worked in a complex that struggled with the problem for five years and it was a very demoralizing issue for everyone involved.
Over the past century, the broiler industry has grown from individual families owning 10-15 birds a piece, to the industry we know today. Over that time, people realized that the more birds you could raise successfully under one roof, the more economic poultry production could be. Families and farmers started raising hundreds to thousands of birds in a flock, they started selecting hardy birds that experienced less disease, they realized that some breeds of birds were better at laying eggs while others produced more breast meat. They began processing meat birds at a central facility with USDA oversight to ensure the safety of the product they were producing.