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Research article2020Peer reviewed

Effect of a targeted treatment strategy against Ascaridia galli on egg production, egg quality and bird health in a laying hen farm

Tarbiat, B.; Jansson, D. S.; Wall, H.; Tyden, E.; Hoeglund, J.

Abstract

Worm control is an important aspect of the successful management of the egg production industry. Of particular concern is Ascaridia galli, which at high parasite loads affect health and production in layers. Application of a targeted treatment strategy (TT) to control A. galli has shown promise. The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of such a strategy on welfare indicators and production performance of layers. Six flocks (F1-6) on a commercial farm were allocated to three treatment groups. Flocks Fl and F4 were treated (TT) with fenbendazole at 22, 27 and 36 weeks post-placement (WPP). Flocks F2 and F5 were treated at 27 WPP (conventional treatment, CT) and hens in flocks F3 and F6 served as untreated (UT) control groups. At 19, 35 and 45 WPP twenty-five hens plus thirty eggs per flock were randomly selected. Hens were weighed and their plumage conditions (PC) were assessed. The eggs were subjected to various external and interior quality analyses. Production data such as number of eggs/hen/week, egg mass and feed conversion ratio (FCR) were calculated from raw data obtained from all flocks on a weekly basis. The number of eggs/hen/week, egg mass and FCR were higher (P < 0.05) in the TT flocks and hens had better PC both at 35 and 45 WPP compared with other flocks. No differences in body weight and physical egg quality were observed between groups except for egg shell strength which was higher (P < 0.05) in the CT flocks. These data suggest that better production performance and plumage, which suggests improved health, can be achieved through the application of a TT strategy. The insights gained from this research should help to justify the extra cost and labor associated with the TT strategy.

Keywords

Poultry; management; egg production; worm control; health status; helminth

Published in

Veterinary Parasitology
2020, Volume: 286, article number: 109238Publisher: ELSEVIER