Producers urged to monitor gut health for homeostasis
Producers who follow gut health management best practices and monitor closely for facility health factors can ensure a more viable and proficient flock, according to Kaylin Chasser, graduate research associate at Ohio State University.
Maintaining healthy birds means balancing gut health, between factors that can reduce health and those that promote healthy chicken digestion.
Chasser spoke on Sept. 16 at the virtual Poultry Sales and Service Conference about “Controlling Disease in Antibiotic-Free Poultry Production” from information written by Dr. Lisa Bielke, associate professor, animal sciences, Ohio State.
“Vaccinations are fantastic when they’re possible, but not all opportunistic diseases and infections have a vaccination available,” Chasser said.
Approaching disease issues “with prophylaxis is always going to be better than using therapeutics, preventing the problem before it has time to affect the flock,” she said.
That often centers on birds’ gut health.
The goal of overall intestinal health is to reach a state of homeostasis, Chasser said. Eubiosis, a good state, makes use of host synergy, a protected mucus membrane, colonization resistance, balanced immune activation and nutritional benefits.
A negative state, or dysbiosis, could include a damaged epithelium, toxins, lowered diversity, an unbalanced immune response, cellular turnover and reduced nutrient absorption.
Pioneer colonization of the gut is of critical importance: How that early exposure can provide a conduit for positive intestinal health growth and development.
A host of opportunistic infections can include necrotic enteritis; dysbiosis; avian pathogenic E. coli; gangrenous dermatitis; enterococcal spondylitis, or kinky back; and bacterial chondronecrosis with osteomyelitis, or BCO.
“Any of these factors can influence the production timeline,” she said. “All from the primary breeder through the production flock, any point in this process, it can be subsequently amplified in each subsequent step. We need to take a look at the entire production process from beginning to end.”
Biosecurity is one of the first tools to control infection, Chasser noted, and can only act as strong as its weakest point.
Management is critical in prevention of infections.
Chasser said the top third of poultry farms have good management practices, with little to no problems when removing antibiotics. However, the middle third can and will change their practices to prevent damaging effects.
The bottom third may face major changes to management practices and have the potential to consistently struggle.
The control of opportunity comes down to management, Chasser said:. Management is key not only throughout the production process but also at the breeder flock and hatchery level, ensuring that bird health is maintained at every step.
For more information, contact Lisa Bielke, www.bit.ly/Bielke.
1-800-634-5021 410-822-3965 Fax- 410-822-5068
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