Six Important Measures for Poultry Farming

Six Important Measures for Poultry FarmingOver past few decades the poultry industry has shown tremendous growth to meet the increasing demand in supply of meat and eggs. However, poultry farming is associated with a variety of toxic compounds such as ammonia, pesticides, pathogens and other airborne emissions. So, here are the six measures to keep in mind when planning for poultry farming.

1. Diet : Chickens are omnivores. Therefore, they should typically be fed a prepared feed that is balanced for all nutrients. However, feed consumption may increase in the winter, and decrease in the heat of the summer. An important point of poultry diet is administering access to clean and fresh water. This is especially true in the summer as they cool themselves by panting.

2. Housing : A quality pen is important to poultry farming. Chickens are descended from jungle birds, which mean they like to be up high, so a place for them to roost is important. Sheds must provide protection from the weather and predators. Their main predators are rats, owls, hawks, and cats. An enclosed space for them to stay at night is essential to their protection. It should have a heat lamp for the winter months as well as ventilation for fresh air.

3. Daily care : Chickens need to be fed and water, and changed daily. The pen must be cleaned out weekly to maintain sanitation and control odour.

4. Bird Health : Healthy birds show peculiar signs such as they are alert and active with bright eyes, and they will be moving around. The poultry droppings show firm and grayish brown coloration. If the chickens aren’t normal, start taking correct measures to cure the disease.

5. Sanitation : An important element to bird health is sanitation. The shed and outdoor area must be cleaned weekly or as needed to control manure and odour build up. The waterers and feeders should be regularly disinfected and cleaned.

6. Poultry litter management : Poultry litter is made up of waste feed, digesta, intestinal flora and mineral by-products from metabolic processes and water. This causes problems with a foul odour and humidity.

So how to manage the poultry litter?

  • The First method is thoroughly cleaning the shed more than once a year. This will control the odour and fly populations.
  • The Second method is to pasture the chickens. Moving of shelters can be a valuable tool while pasturing chickens and reducing cleaning time.
  • A third option is composting. Composting can be done right in the chicken’s bedding.

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What is the effect of KiFAY on IGF-1 and protein accretion in broilers?

What is the effect of KiFAY on IGF1 and protein accretion in broilers - Vinayak IngredientsA comparative study was performed to investigate the efficacy of KiFAY as a feed additive on performance parameters, thyroid, and pancreatic hormone levels in broilers. Ninety birds (Vencobb 400) were randomly divided into three groups viz., Control (no DL-methionine supplementation), Treatment 1 (containing added DL-methionine) and Treatment2 (containing KiFAY and without DL-methionine supplementation). The performance parameters (weekly body weight, body weight gain, feed intake, and feed consumption ratio) were recorded and calculated during the whole study of 4 weeks. Analysis of insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF1), triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4) and thyroid stimulating Hormone (TSH) were performed at the end of the study.

The results show that birds on supplementation of KiFAY performed significantly (p<0.001) better than other treatments. The weekly body weight, body weight gain, feed intake and feed consumption ratio improved in KiFAY treated birds. The study shows an increase in insulin and IGF1 levels (p<0.001) in KiFAY than other treatments. Serum T3, T4 and TSH levels in the treatment2 were higher than other treatments (p<0.001). The KiFAY supplementation was able to improve performance with associated responses at a hormonal level in broilers.

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Effect of Protein and Amino Acids on Fat Deposition in Poultry

Effect of Protein and Amino Acids on Fat Deposition in Poultry - Vinayak IngredientsThe abdominal fat tissue is very important in chickens due to its rapid growth as compared with other fat tissues. Most fatty acids are produced in the liver and stored as triglycerides in adipose tissues. Thus, the abdominal fat is a reliable parameter for estimating total body fat content as it directly correlates with the total lipid content in avian species. Nutritional factors play a key role in regulating body fat deposition. Therefore, this article discusses the effect of two such nutritional factors viz., protein and amino acids on the abdominal fat content and the mechanism of regulating abdominal fat deposition in poultry in a beneficial manner.

Protein is the most expensive component of poultry diets.

The increase in the dietary protein content improves the daily weight gain, carcass yield, and meat quality by reducing body fat deposition and increasing protein content. A report shows that reducing dietary protein level during the starter, grower, and finisher phase, and compared with normal-protein diets as recommended by NRC, 1994 led to a significant increase in the abdominal fat content. An analogous study where increasing dietary protein level in the diets of broiler chickens in all three phases led to a significant reduction in abdominal fat deposition compared with diets formulated according to NRC (1994) causing lean broiler chickens. Therefore, dietary protein content must play a direct or indirect role in the regulation of lipid metabolism. In 2002, it was found that reducing dietary protein content upregulates malic enzyme MRNA expression increases malic enzyme activity in the liver of broilers compared with the control, and vice versa. Further study also showed that increasing dietary protein content caused a significant reduction in hepatic enzyme MRNA expression in the livers of broiler chickens. Therefore, dietary protein level directly affects body fat deposition. Thus, it is important to suffice the protein requirements of birds to produce high-quality meat with low-fat deposition.

At present, only methionine, lysine, and arginine are known to beneficially regulate body fat deposition in poultry. Therefore, the addition of these amino acids in poultry diets should be ensured to prevent unnecessary fat deposition. Among these, methionine is the first limiting amino acid in poultry diet. It is an essential amino acid as it directly affects on growth performance and helps in producing lean meat. A report shows that inclusion of L-methionine in poultry diet leads to a significant reduction in body fat content. The effect of dietary L-methionine in reducing the fat deposition may be associated with changes in lipolysis and lipogenesis. Lysine also has a prominent role in meat quality by increasing protein deposition, reducing the water-holding capacity, and enhancing muscle pH. The lysine supplementation in poultry diets significantly enhances lean meat production. A meat-type ducks fed with lysine-deficient diet gave significant high abdominal fat percentage while the inclusion of lysine eliminated this effect. Hence, the addition of lysine in poultry diets promotes lean meat production by reducing carcass fatness via lipogenesis inhibition.

Another essential amino acid is the arginine which plays multiple roles in poultry production, implicated in the reduction of carcass fat deposition. A study reports a significant reduction in the abdominal fat content in Japanese quails at 42 days of age, 2.0% arginine supplementation on day zero of incubation. A corresponding study reported that providing 1.0% more arginine in addition to the NRC (1994) recommendations reduces the abdominal fat content by decreasing the activities of enzymes involved lipogenesis. In avian species, therefore, dietary L-arginine supplementation inhibits certain hepatic enzymes, which causes a reduction in the abdominal fat content by reducing the size of abdominal adipose cells.

Hence, the fat-reducing effects of protein and certain amino acids have not been fully clear. Thus, this article makes an effort to elucidate our current understanding of the mechanism related to the effects of protein and amino acids that beneficially regulate abdominal fat deposition in poultry.

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7 Main Nutrition Requirements in Egg Layers

7 Main Nutrition Requirements in Egg Layers - Vinayak IngredientsPoultry diets are a mixture of several feed stuffs such as soybean meal, cereal grains, fats, animal by-product meals, and vitamin and mineral premixes. Here are the few main nutrients which producer must not ignore when planning the poultry feed formula for layers.

ENERGY

The main source of energy for poultry is dietary carbohydrates. Corn, grain sorghum, wheat, and barley are important carbohydrates to poultry diets. These adversely affect the digestive processes of poultry when present in sufficient dietary concentrations. For example, pentosan and beta glucans of rye and barley respectively increase the viscosity of digesta and helps in nutrient absorption of poultry. Supplementation of rye or barley with dietary enzyme improves nutrient utilisation and growth of young poultry.

PROTEIN

Dietary requirements for protein are actually requirements for the amino acids contained in the dietary protein. They are main constituents of structural and protective tissues, such as feathers, bone matrix, skin, and ligaments, including organs and muscles. The individual amino acids and short peptides after digestion-absorption may serve a variety of metabolic functions and precursor to biochemical pathways. Insufficient dietary protein leads to slow growth or less productivity.

MINERAL

Minerals are the inorganic part of feeds or tissues. Calcium and phosphorus are essential for the formation and maintenance of the skeleton and eggshell formation. Sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride function with phosphates and bicarbonate to maintain homeostasis of osmotic relationships and pH throughout the body. The forms of phosphorus, such as ATP and phospholipids if present in plants, can be digested by poultry; however, such digestible forms usually account for only 30 to 40 percent of the total phosphorus. The remaining phosphorus is present as phytate phosphorus and is poorly digested. Trace elements, including copper, iodine, iron, manganese, selenium, and zinc are required in small amounts in the diet. Trace elements function as part of larger organic molecules. Iron is a part of haemoglobin and cytochromes, and iodine is a part of thyroxine.

VITAMINS

Vitamin C is synthesised by poultry and is, accordingly, not considered a required dietary nutrient. The dietary requirement for vitamin E is highly variable and depends on the concentration and type of fat in the diet, the concentration of selenium, and the presence of prooxidants and antioxidants. Vitamin K activity is exhibited by a number of naturally occurring and synthetic compounds with varying solubilities in fat and water.

WATER

Water must be regarded as an essential nutrient, although it is not possible to state precise requirements. The amount needed depends on environmental temperature and relative humidity, the composition of the diet, rate of growth or egg production, and efficiency of kidney resorption of water in individual birds.

XANTHOPHYLLS

The carotenoid pigments not only provide yellow-orange coloration of egg yolks and poultry fat but also contribute to coloration of the skin, feet, and beak. Alfalfa meal contains lutein which provides a yellow colour, whereas corn and corn gluten meal contain primarily zeaxanthin which impart as orange-red colour. Synthetic carotenoids are also used approved by the regulatory agencies used in poultry diets as the concentration of the desired pigments in natural feed stuff is not always constant.

ANTIMICROBIALS

Antimicrobial agents are nutritional feed additives/growth promoters and are not nutrients as they are essential to poultry. They are included in diets to improve growth, efficiency of feed utilisation and livability. They are added at relatively low concentrations (1 to 50 mg/kg), depending on the agent and stage of development of poultry.

Poultry diets are a mixture of several feed stuffs such as soybean meal, cereal grains, fats, animal by-product meals, and vitamin and mineral premixes. Here are the few main nutrients which producer must not ignore when planning the feed diet.

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Bone Defects In Fast Growing Chicken

Bone Defects In Fast Growing Chicken - Vinayak IngredientsBirds pertaining rapid growth and heavy body weight in chicken, are usually associated with a week skeletal body. This has been implicated in musculoskeletal and cardiovascular disease in meat-type poultry. It does not always necessarily result in disease but many of the complications can be eliminated by slowing down the growth rate and research on this has produced contradictory results. Therefore it would be more correct to be called as metabolic disease, since most of these diseases are due to metabolic imbalances associated with rapid growth.

If the hypothesis that musculoskeletal deformity caused due to rapid growth is valid, then we must take into account how specific defects could be associated with rapid growth.

1) The defect may be due to increase in body weight.

2) The defect could occur because of undeveloped tissues (bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles).  This is because as the strong tissue is produced, remodelling and bone alignment would require more duration than rapid growth.

3) The defect could be related to high amino acid supplement, enzyme, hormone, or oxygen requirement by specialised cells.

4) The defect may be due to metabolic by-products such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid that are increased by rapid growth.

5) Rapidly dividing cells could be more prone to toxic or metabolic injury.

Most of the skeletal deformities in birds result in birds that are not able to walk. Birds in these cases find difficult to get feed and water due to chronic pain and anxiety associated with aggression from other birds.

Skeletal deformities can be caused in a variety of ways. Nutritional deficiencies are one of the causes in skeletal disease in all birds. Birds that are growing fast have higher requirement of essential amino acid supplement and have more skeletal defects than in slower growing strains. Mechanically induced or trauma-associated problems are also much more frequent in fast-growing broilers. These problems may be caused due to immaturity and weight than rapid growth because tissue becomes stronger and more resilient with age. This age-related effect is particularly true of bone, tendon, and ligament. Toxins in feed or water can cause skeletal deformities. Toxin effects are not usually associated with rapid growth, although rapidly growing birds would consume more of the offending product. Genetic problems may also result in skeletal defects, but not related to growth.

To conclude, prevention of musculoskeletal disease in chickens must be the goal, and attempts should be made to find management and nutritional techniques to reduce bone defects such as better lighting programs appear to improve broiler mobility and better methods of catching and transferring birds.

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Role of Antioxidants in Feed

Role of Antioxidants in FeedAntioxidants in feed play a major role in animal health, production and performance. This is due to the detrimental effects of radicals and toxic products of their metabolism on various metabolic processes. It is a well known fact that oxidative stress is involved in many degenerative disorders. The oxidative free radicals are therefore considered as pathobiochemicals mechanism for initiating or progression of various diseases. The prooxidant-antioxidant balance can be regulated by optimal nutrient uptake or providing herbal antibiotics. Thus, the essential step in maintaining the balance between the oxidative damage and antioxidative defence in the animal body would be to boost the antioxidant capacity by optimising the dietary intake of antioxidants.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant. It is an important anti-stress agent. However, it can be easily oxidized. Sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is required in collagen biosynthesis and protein metabolism.

Vitamin E is the found in the biological membranes and lipid droplets. Vitamin E is absorbed in the small intestine with various efficacious depending on the diet composition, level of supplementation, age, sex and other individual characteristics of animals. It is the main chain-breaking antioxidant in biological systems.

Carotenoid is a natural pigment, responsible for yellow, orange and sometimes red pigmentation’s in plants, insects, birds and marine animals. They possess antioxidant activity. They have some health promoting properties, including immune system modulation. They are found in some plant-derived feed ingredients.

Manganese has an essential part of a range of enzymes taking part in antioxidant protection, bone growth and egg shell formation carbohydrate and lipid metabolism including processing of cholesterol.

Zinc is the second most abundant trace element trace element in mammals and they take part in antioxidant defence as an integral part of SOD, hormone secretion, keratin generation and epithelial tissue integrity immune function.

Iron has a vital role in antioxidant defence as an essential component of catalase, energy and protein metabolism, hence respiratory carrier, electron transport, oxidation-reduction reaction.

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Do you know the good, the bad and the ugly of inflammation in poultry?

Inflammatory responses in birds are because of an immune response. These immune responses can be non-specific (innate) immunity and specific (adaptive) immunity.  Thus, the inflammatory responses can be cell specific as in case of cell mediated immune responses which include T or B lymphocyte responses. These are localized or site specific, whereas non-specific responses are more generalized involving phagocytic cells and innate antibody.  A generalized mass inflammatory response has an overwhelming effect on today’s commercial poultry. The chain reaction of events caused by an antigen always involves the innate immunity reaction prior to the involvement of cell mediated immunity. As we learnt in in vaccination basics, vaccines improve specific antibody titers to prevent infection of target microbes. But does this stop inflammatory responses arising from the innate side of the bird? Do these inflammatory responses affect poultry?

Immunity in its most non-specific forms has more demerits than otherwise. The preventive blanket of mucin and ciliary responses as in case of respiratory and gut associated infections is affected the most in the generalized inflammatory tidal wave. Many researchers have associated tethered mucin thinning and reduced ciliary activity as a primary reason for an active infection in birds. Once opportunistic commensals evade, they spread fast. Most cell mediated responses which may be associated with these commercials would respond very late to such an onslaught. The most pronounced effects of these infections would be in high stress conditions, especially in heat stress. Heat stress and high ammonia concentrations or similar stresses would require rapid panting behavior which would mimic generalized inflammatory responses.

Immunization reactions are common in poultry where the generalized immunity might be one of the reasons for morbidity. The birds are at this stage in their young, but antibody deficient forms. As it is, Vaccination is a boon in the poultry industry but frequent respiratory outbreaks could point a direction towards controlling the span of their inflammatory reign. We have seen protection from certain diseases provided with warmth generated from poultry body, and have seen several mortalities from heat stress, similarly balancing this double edged sword should be left to nature. It is most reassuring to see the improving specifics in immunization, but at the same time it is scary to see the broadening antigen carrying potential of the microbes. All considered, surely inflammation would play a vital part in the future of poultry rearing.

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Poultry Gut Microbiome

Poultry Gut MicrobiomeThe microbiome of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of poultry is very diverse yet relatively stable in a dynamic state. The poultry (e.g. duck, chicken and turkey) GI tract consists of cloaca, colon, cecum, small intestines (duodenum, jejunum and ileum), gizzard, proventriculus, crop and esophagus. The GI tract of the poultry is much shorter than that of mammalian animals. But it contains highest bacterial abundance and diversity. The bacteria found in the intestine mostly include Escherichia coli, Lactobacillus, Bacteroids, Eubacterium, Peptostreptococcus, Propionibacterium as predominant organisms. Other group of micro organisms such as anaerobic, gram-negative cocci, facultative anaerobic cocci and streptococci are also found in the GI tract. In this article we briefly discuss the factors affecting the poultry gut micro biome and its importance for poultry nutrition.

Microbiome and Host

Many intestinal bacteria hydrolyze carbohydrates to simple sugars which are further fermented to short chain fatty acids (SCFA) (viz., butyrate, propionate and acetate) by other intestinal bacteria. The SCFA are utilized as a source of energy and carbon. Gut bacteria also contribute to host nitrogen metabolism. These bacteria metabolize uric acid to NH3, which is utilized by the host to synthesize a few amino acids such as glutamine. Gut micro biome of poultry may also serve as a source of vitamin to its host. Mucins secreted by goblet cells of the gut are important source of carbon, nitrogen and energy for some commensal and pathogenic bacteria. Gut micro biome also has impact on intestinal morphology of poultry. One such effect is evident when birds raised on a conventional diet show shorter intestinal villi and shallow crypts with low load of bacteria. However, dietary supplementation of probiotic organisms increases villus height: crypt depth ratio in ileum of broilers.

Microbiome and Immunity

The first line of defense mechanism in the inner surface of avian gut is the gel-like mucus layer formed from mucin glycoprotein produced by the goblet cells. The mucus layer prevents the intestinal pathogens from penetrating into intestinal epithelium. The disruption of the mucus layer is probably due to the severe necrosis of the intestinal mucosa which results in vast shedding of goblet cells. Production of beta-defensin is another important strategy present on the intestinal epithelial surface. Βeta-defensin are produced by avian macrophage, heterophils and epithelial cells that kills various intestinal pathogens by disrupting cell membrane permeability. In birds, the cell mediated immunity (T and B cells) can be found in dispersed areas (lamina propria and epithelium) and in more organized lymphoid tissues (Payer’s patches and bursa of fabricius).

Microbiome and Diet

Diet has great potential to modulate the host digestion and nutrient absorption. Wheat, barley or rye-based diets have more impact on the gut micro biome. These diets contain high levels of water-soluble, indigestible, non-starch polysaccharide that favor necrotic enteritis. Excessive non-starch polysaccharide leads to rise in digesta viscosity, decreased digesta passage rate and a decline in nutrient digestibility. Another potential diet ingredient, soyabean is used as a source of protein to promote the growth lactobacilli population and reduce the number of coliforms in cecum of poultry. Some of the gut micro organisms are also influenced by dietary fat source. Dietary enzymes such as xylanase and beta-glucanase, increase intestinal lactic acid bacteria(LAB) and decrease the population of adverse and pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli. Dietary supplementation with xylanase and beta-glucanase protects against necrotic enteritis as the enzyme breakdown the non starch polysaccharide in the diet and reduce the digesta viscosity. Plant derived trans-cinnamaldehyde and eugenol are effective in reducing S. enteritis colonization in 20-d old broiler chickens. Others such as blend of essential oils, containing thymol, carvacrol, eugenol, curcumin and piperin reduce the colonization and proliferation of such pathogens. Antibiotic growth promoter (AGP) is another feed additive used to improve feed efficiency, increase animal growth and maintain animal health. The inclusion of AGP in poultry diet reduces the incidence of disease and promotes better performance of the birds by inhibiting the growth of enteric pathogens. However, due to rising antibiotic resistance among the pathogens, the use of AGP has been prohibited. The proliferation of the bacteria present in the gut can be increased by the ingestion of prebiotics.

Prebiotics are polysaccharides such as galatosaccharide (GOS) and fructosaccharide (FOS).

GOS favors the growth of Bifidobacteria in the GI tract of broiler chicken.

Competition for nutrient and attachment site

The GI tract of newly hatched chick is sterile, but is immediately colonized by surrounding organisms. Over the period of time, normal colonization and succession of gut micro biome takes place in healthy adult poultry’s intestine. The GI tract serves as an ideal habitat for micro organisms however, due to limited space and resources; there is competition among organisms for nutrient resources. Some bacteria produce bacteriostatic or bactericidal substances to kill its competitors. The LAB ferment carbohydrates to organic acids and inhibits the growth of certain pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella by reducing the pH of the gut. Certain bacteria such as Enterococcus sp., Pediococcus sps., Bacillus subtilis also produce antimicrobial agent called bacteriocins to selectively inhibit the growth of other bacteria. However, pathogens are adapted to new environment very fast mediated by a process such as conjugation, transformation and transduction. Providing probiotics (live microbial feed supplement) benefits the host through the following mechanisms:

(1) Inhibiting the growth of pathogenic bacteria from colonizing and proliferating in the gut through competition for nutrient and attachment site

(2) Production of bacteriostatic and bactericidal substances against pathogens

(3) Enhancing gut barrier function and

(4) Enhancing host immunity.

Poultry litter microorganisms influence gut microbiome

Chickens are in constant contact with the micro organisms from the surrounding environment. The poultry litter usually harbors a complex microbial community. Reuse of poultry litter commonly practiced by poultry farmers to reduce produce cost, influences chicken guts micro biome. The reused litter may also harbor disease-causing micro organisms from the previous flock and thus serves as a source of pathogens to the subsequent flock.

Conclusion

The gut represents an essential microbial ecosystem that lives in symbiosis with the host. The development of GI micro biome plays a crucial role in the nutrition, health and growth of the chicken. Thus further research on the intestinal micro biome of the poultry can potentially provide us more knowledge to improve management of poultry diseases, antibiotic resistance and better control of colonization and spread of human pathogens.

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Gut Inflammatory Status in Poultry

Gut Inflammatory Status in Poultry - Vinayak IngredientsThe gastrointestinal tract is the most exposed surface in the body and many diseases are largely related to the poultry gut health status of the chicken (broiler). It is an important organ system as poor gut health results in poor nutrient assimilation. Some bacteria play an important role in helping broilers digest feed. Feed constituents affect the viscosity of the gastric content which helps in the development of small intestine micro-biota.  Any significant fluctuation in number or type of commensal leads to diarrhea which may cause severe damage to the intestine ultimately leading to poor performance and diseased birds. Dysbiosis that outnumbers good bacteria for which bad bacteria are then able exert their undesirable effects on the gut lining. Thus, to maintain good health and welfare farmers should focus on the integrity of the intestinal system.

Many causes lead to the loss of intestinal integrity such as :

  • Immuno-suppression : This can be caused due to viral diseases, vaccination or some disease challenges.
  • Antimicrobial activity : The use of antimicrobial growth promoters affect on bacteria can affect the natural micro flora of the intestine.
  • Environmental factors : Many clostridial spores or coccidia can persist despite harsh environmental conditions may gain infectivity later under favourable conditions.
  • Feed factors : Correct formulation of the diets plays critical role. Some of the ingredients such as enzyme incorrectly mixed or applied can have devastating consequences to intestinal integrity.
  • Water : Adequate supply of clean potable water is a norm. Any deviation in water quality has a direct effect on gut.

Disturbance in the intestinal integrity may affect health status and overall performance of birds in poultry production. Strategies such as prevention programs towards infectious disease and using alternatives to antibiotic are advisable replacing the existing chemical antibiotic to maintain intestinal homeostasis.

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Respiratory Disease In Poultry

Respiratory Disease In Poultry - Vinayak IngredientsImagine a flock of 1000 chickens or may be a few backyard chickens. In both the case you can encounter major challenge in controlling respiratory diseases in poultry, when trying to maintain a healthy flock. So what are the most common signs you see in your flock. These could be- sneezing, discharge around the nostrils and eyes, open mouthed breathing, ruffled feathers, head shaking and wheezy breathing sounds.

The most common causes are described in brief below :

Newcastle Disease (ND), also known as pneumoencephilitis, is highly contagious and that attacks the internal organs (viscerotropic). All birds of wide age groups are susceptible to ND. Humans and other mammals are also affected by ND. ND occurs in three forms, lentogenic (mildly pathogenic), mesogenic (moderately pathogenic) and velogenic (highly pathogenic). It is characterized by a sudden onset of clinical signs including hoarse chirps (in chicks), watery discharge from nostrils, labored breathing (gasping), facial swelling, and paralysis, trembling and twisting of the neck. In laying birds, show symptoms such as decreased feed and water intake and a substantial drop in egg production. Newcastle virus can be transmitted by the air borne route or wild birds, contaminated footwear, workers, visitors, and dirty equipment. Newcastle virus is also transmitted in the egg and the infected embryos die before hatching.

In live birds, the virus is shed in body fluids, secretion, excreta and breath. There is no specific treatment for ND. Antibiotics can be given for 3-5 days to prevent two bacterial infections. However, prevention programs should include good sanitation, vaccination and implementation of a comprehensive biosecurity programme.

Infectious Bronchitis, also known as bronchitis or cold. It is found only in chickens. Similar disease occurs in quail caused by a different virus. The severity of infection is influenced by the age and immune status of the flock, by environmental conditions and by the presence of other diseases. Breathing noises are evident with a watery discharge from the eyes and nostrils. Feed and water consumption declines. Egg production drops dramatically. The IBV infects many tissues of the body, including the reproductive tract. It is known to spread by air, infected dead birds, infected houses and rodent. No specific treatment is available. But it can be prevented by enforcing a bio-security program. Vaccinations are also available.

Infectious coryza, mostly affects chickens, pheasants and guinea fowl. It shows swelling around the face, foul smelling, thick, sticky discharge from the nostrils and eyes, labored breathing and rates. The birds may have diarrhea and growing birds may become stunted. Mortality is usually low. Transmission is primarily by direct bird-to-bird contact. This can be from infected birds brought into the flock as well as from birds which recover from the disease. Sulfadimethoxine is the preferred treatment antibiotic. Others such as erythromycin, sulfamethazine, and tetracycline can be used as alternative can be used as alternative treatment. Good management and sanitation are the best ways to avoid infectious coryza.

Avian influenza, can occur in most, if not all, species of birds. AI is categorized as mild form which produces loss of appetite, listlessness, diarrhea, respiratory distress, dramatic drops in egg production and low mortality. The highly pathogenic form produces blue comb, facial swelling, wattles and dehydration with respiratory distress. Egg production and hatch ability decreases. There can be an increase in production of soft-shelled and shell-less eggs. AI virus can remain viable for long period of time at moderate temperatures. It can spread through shoes, clothing, crates and other equipment. Insects and rodents may mechanically carry the virus from infected to susceptible poultry. Broad spectrum antibiotics may reduce losses from secondary infections with proper nutrition, good husbandry. A vaccination program used in conjunction with a strict quarantine has been used to control mild form of the disease. With the more lethal form, strict quarantine and rapid destruction of all infected flocks remains the only effective method of stopping an avian influenza outbreak.

Infectious Bursal disease, also known as infectious bursitis mostly affects chickens. In affected chickens greater than three weeks of age, there is usually a rapid onset of the disease with a significant drop in feed and water consumption, watery droppings leading to soiling of feathers around the vent, and vent pecking. The virus is spread easily by infected bird contact, as well as by contact with contaminated people and equipment. The virus is also shed in the bird droppings and can be spread by air through dust particles. Dead birds are good source of the virus which should be incinerated. Antibiotics, sulfonamides and nitro-furans have little or no effect. Vitamin-electrolyte therapy is seldom effective. High levels of tetracycline are contaminated because they tie up calcium, thereby producing rickets. A vaccine is commercially available.

Fowl pox, also known as bird pox, sore head, avian diphtheria, chicken pox (not to be confused with chicken pox in humans). It affects mostly poultry, turkey, quail, duck; chickens- of all ages are susceptible. The clinical signs occur in two forms. The dry form characterised by raised wart-like lesions on un-feathered areas (head, legs, vent, etc). The lesions heal in about two weeks. In laying hens, infection result in a transient decline in egg production. The wet form shows presence of canker-like lesions in the mouth, trachea, pharynx, and larynx. It may cause respiratory distress by obstructing the upper air passages. Mosquitoes are the primary reservoir and spreaders of fowl pox on poultry ranges. Mosquitoes are infected by feeding on birds with fowl pox in their blood stream. Fowl pox can also be transmitted through direct contact with infected to susceptible birds. Currently, no treatment is available; however, fowl pox outbreaks can be controlled by killing mosquitoes. If fowl pox is endemic in the area, vaccination is recommended.

All the above diseases depict the significance of bio-security that is required in the farm. To help maintain a healthy poultry flock, farmers should buy birds from a reliable source, maintain a clean pen, feed an appropriate diet and protect the birds from disease and predators through proper biosecurity. Small flock owners should seek guidance from veterinary doctors if they have queries about the healthy and management of their flocks. In addition to improving animal welfare, economy, occupational health and consumer protection, future-oriented sustainable farm animal production should enhance standards aimed at preventing or reducing the respiratory diseases through air.

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