Maximum potential genetic performance can only be obtained when disease influence is minimised. Disease control is best accomplished by a combination of sanitation programmes, which help prevent exposure to disease organisms, and vaccinations. Certain diseases are quite common among all poultry populations worldwide and should be included in all standard vaccination programmes. In addition, sanitation efforts to prevent disease exposure or at least reduce the level of exposure, will allow the vaccinations to be most effective.
sanitation, and strict traffic control are the most effective and least
expensive tools in a disease prevention programme. Physical removal of all
litter, manure, dust, feathers, and other poultry house debris to a spot remote
from the poultry house is the first step in an efficient cleanout programme
effective sanitation programme must include removal, dismantling, and
disinfecting all equipment in the house, before the house itself is cleaned and
disinfected. High-pressure sprayers and an effective disinfectant are
necessities for eliminating disease carryover. This must be supplemented by a
rodent and insect control programme. These efforts must be continued for maximum
housing the flock, dead birds must be removed and incinerated daily. Rubbish and
debris should be moved out on a regular basis, and not allowed to accumulate.
programmes need to be individually designed with consideration for maternal
immunities of the chicks, disease exposures expected, vaccines available, routes
of administration preferred and planned use of inactivated injectable products.
of the extreme variability of these factors among producers worldwide, it is difficult
to recommend one programme which would be satisfactory for all. I therefore
recommend that you consult your Veterinary Adviser on a programme suitable for
your particular circumstances.
of the exact programme, care always needs to be exercised to ensure each bird is
given an adequate dose of viable vaccine. In my experience, most vaccination
failures relate to improper administration techniques.
and vehicular traffic threaten constant import of disease organisms. Locked doors
and a policy of no visitors is advisable. When it becomes necessary to permit
entrance of visitors, clean disinfected footwear and outer garments should be
provided. Feed and egg trucks, and their drivers, must be isolated from the bird
equipment should be confined to as few houses as possible and should be cleaned
and disinfected when transported between houses.
can frequently appear in these operations as a consequence of pecking and
prolapse. It is particularly troublesome since the authorised treatments call
for withdrawal of the eggs from the market during treatment and while residues
of the flock at housing with a correct bodyweight. This presupposes
the rearing of a flock especially for this production and for a given unit
beak trimming between 8 and 12 weeks
in using spectacles
lice are more common on slats than on the floor. On litter the birds can dust
bath and get rid of the lice. On slats the problem is frequent. Treating empty
houses with insecticide, direct spraying of birds with authorized insecticides
can limit the consequences.
Mite is a very common external parasitic infection that may result in a loss of
production. Red Mite are migratory spending the day hidden in secluded areas
such as cracks and crevices in the framework of the house, on perches and feeder
tracks. At night they become active crawling onto birds to feed. Control is
through use of insecticides but is only effective if they are applied correctly
and with care. To prevent resistance insecticides should be rotated.
are protozoan parasites which invade and eventually destroy the intestinal
ruffled feathers and hunched appearance.
growth leading to flock unevenness.
FCR as the digestive tract becomes less efficient.
may be seen in the droppings.
in mortality as disease increases.
a disease only seen in rear.
are ingested by the birds from the litter
oocysts are crushed by the action of the gizzard and release sporozoites
which penetrate the intestinal wall.
sporozoites grow within the cells of the intestinal wall, divide and rupture
the wall of the intestine.
and females sporozoites fuse forming oocysts which pass in the droppings
The oocyst sporulates in contact with oxygen and moisture
length of the life cycle varies from 4-7 days depending on the species of the
coccidia, as many as l00 million oocysts may be eliminated per bird. They can
survive and remain infective for over 18 months.
protective clothing, using foot dips and wheel sprays will minimise the spread
from farm to farm and house to house. Using an effective oocidal disinfectant at
turn round will reduce the challenge on site. Oocyts can also be destroyed by
hot water, dehydration and freezing.
/ chemicals which are included in the rearing ration and attack the coccidia.
These products allow controlled exposure to coccidia to allow immunity to
vaccine comprising a suspension of seven species of attenuated sporulated
oocysts adapted to make them harmless to the birds but allowing the birds to
build up immunity. Birds must be litter reared to allow for recycling of the
Treatment is available via drugs, which attack the coccidia in the gut. There are no products licensed for laying hens (UK) so if used they must be under veterinary direction and eggs must be withdrawn from human consumption during treatment and for a further 7 days after treatment
bodyweight gain through inefficient use of feed.
and poor condition - often birds have pale combs.
egg shell quality and internal egg quality (for example pale shells and pale
vent pecking and cannibalism due to straining.
birds ingest worms eggs found in the litter and the soil. The three most common
worm types found in the growing pullet or the laying hen are large roundworms,
capillaria worms (hairworms) and caecal worms.
roundworms (Ascardia galli)
worms inhabit the large intestine. Their lifecycle takes around 10-14 weeks.
infect mainly the small intestine causing damage to the intestinal lining. Their
lifecycle is 6-7 weeks.
worms (Heterakis gallinarium)
eggs hatch in the small intestine and work down to caecum where they burrow into
the walls and emerge in mucus. They are known to be a carrier for Histomonas
(Blackhead). Their lifecycle takes 6-8 weeks
worm egg counts from droppings
Post mortem, worms may be found in the gut and/or the caeca
is the only licensed poultry wormer available (UK) without veterinary
subscription. It has the advantages of killing mature and immature stages and
eggs of Large Roundworm, Caecal Worm and Hair Worm. Eggs must be withdrawn from
human consumption during treatment (usually 7 consecutive days) and for 7 days
after the end of treatment.
is no longer licensed (UK), but can be prescribed by a vet. Eggs must be
withdrawn during treatment and 7 days following the last day of treatment.
1. Roundworms only
salts in drinking water (citrate, adipate, dihydrochlorure, dichlohydrate).
2 g for 10 kg
liveweight or litre of water per day.
active against adult round worms. Treat every 3 weeks.
solution at 34-35 %
3 ml/10 kg liveweight.
salts in feed
4 kg/tonne for one day. Repeat every 3 weeks.
is not authorized for birds in lay. Residue delay for meat birds is 2 days.
20 mg/kg live weight
Levamisol solvable powder 20 % :Dose: 100 g/1000 kg
Levamisol 8 % liquid: 0.25 litre / 1000 kg
delay for eggs is 5 days.
8 % solution: 0.5 litre / 1000 kg liveweight
12 % solution: 0.33 litre / 1000 kg liveweight
40 mg tablets: 1 tablet per kg liveweight
125 mg tablets: 1 tablet per 3 kg liveweight
Residue delay for eggs is 6 days.
2. Round & Capillary worms
active ingredient most used is Flubendazol that is used for poultry with runs or
litter at a dose of 60 ppm for 7 consecutive days. Residue delay for eggs - none.
3. Caecal worms
efficient ingredient for these parasites is Niclosamide.
used is 80 mg/kg liveweight.
can be given as a suspension in water or in feed (Yomesane). It also exists in
association with Tetramisol in tablet form given as I tablet per bird in the
The residue delay for eggs is 5 days.
Flubendazole is also suitable.
pullets should be routinely wormed before leaving the rearing farm or within the
first weeks of housing on the laying farm. This will ensure that the pullets
will start their laying life free of worms. Pullets remaining in cage units
should then be free from infestation as the system minimises contact with faeces
and hence with any worm eggs~
placed on free range units will be at risk from worm infestation. The worm eggs
are difficult to kill and may survive in the soil for up to one year. The best
methods to control the worm eggs are paddock rotation and harrowing the pasture
to expose the worm eggs to sunlight, lethal to the worm eggs. Worm egg
populations are seasonal since they favour warm, wet conditions. Keeping
pastures short or grazed through the year will reduce the survival time of worm
eggs. Good hygiene will reduce the spread of infestation.
It is advisable to routinely check for worms through taking representative dropping samples 2 or 3 times during a flocks life. This is a simple test and can be carried out by any veterinary practice. (A representative sample would be a pot containing 40-50 faeces).
The two main reasons for beak trimming are:
reduce feed wastage
Beak trimming is a highly skilled operation which should be carried out by trained people in accordance with Welfare Codes. If there are any doubts, please consult your local veterinarian.
The following precautions should be observed at all times:
Do not beak trim sick birds
Do not hurry
Provide a deeper level of feed for several days after trimming
Only use well trained staff
Provide vitamins in water to help overcome stress
Beak tipping between 8 and 10
days will not totally prevent pecking. Trimming too severely reduces growth and
causes unevenness. So in addition to the tipping it is advisable for a second
trimming between 9 and 10 weeks.
do this correctly, place a finger between the upper and lower beak; trim and
cauterise each beak separately. The blade must be at the correct temperature.
Cauterisation must be done with care, in particular at the sides of the beak to
beak trimming is a sure cause of an uneven, flock and may handicap some of the birds
(causing difficulty in feeding and drinking). It should be done with care.
time or last vaccination provides a good opportunity to check beak quality and to
re-trim where necessary.