Population-level biomarkers of gut health in commercial flocks

  • 32 pages

  • Published: 15 Nov 2021

  • Author(s): Priscilla Gerber

  • ISBN: 978-1-76053-204-8

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Increasing restrictions on the use of antimicrobials in meat chicken production have resulted in the re-emergence of enteric diseases such as coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis, and the emergence of other less-defined intestinal disturbances that have been linked to shifts in the gut microbiota. Current practices for monitoring these conditions are usually based on post-mortem evaluation and gut lesion scoring. However, monitoring chicken gut pathogens and microbiota composition using non-invasive sampling methods could be a low-cost way to detect intestinal disturbances before symptoms occur.

This report describes easy and practical sampling methods to monitor for organisms that cause coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis using dust samples or pooled excreta. These methods can be used as a research or monitoring tool for commercial flocks. The report also recommends which sampling method and timing is best to gain a better understanding of coccidia load in the flock.