Managing coccidial risk
Usually a disease of young birds, coccidiosis is caused by intestinal parasites belonging to the Eimeria genus. In poultry several Eimeria spp. can occur, whereas in broilers E. maxima, E. acervulina and E. tenella play a major role. Infection can occur with several Eimeria spp. at the same time. The Eimeria oocysts, always present at the farm, are very resistant and can easily survive the environmental conditions while shedding mainly in the feces. Day-old chickens arriving at the farm ingest oocysts from the start. When these chicks are not resistant enough or the infection pressure is too high, it will lead to a coccidiosis outbreak, often between week 3 and week 8 of age.
The impacts of
Coccidiosis on poultry
As a single-celled organism (protozoa) the Eimeria shed in the intestinal wall or mucous leading to:
- Poor nutrient absorption
Commonly ruffled feathers, chilliness and half-closed eyes are observed as external symptoms. In addition, coccidiosis can lead to secondary bacterial infections like clostridiosis.
How to manage
Coccidiosis inside poultry houses?
Due to the high resistance of the oocysts, it is important to consider good hygiene measurements during and especially between two cycles. On farm-level several preventive strategies are used: coccidiostats, vaccination and natural products. The choice and effectiveness of each solution depends on each farm. Coccidiostats like ionophores and chemicals are still the norm in the standard poultry production and have a long history and well know efficacy. Nevertheless, more and more resistance against these solutions is observed in the field. A toxicity for birds can even be observed with some of these products during heat stress periods. Vaccination consists of live or attenuated coccidia and are applicable in the hatchery or on farm. Vaccines can for sure be a worthy alternative to coccidiostats in efficacy, but besides the fact that it is still an expensive solution for broilers, the immune system is triggered by the vaccine, which will impact the growth as a consequence. In addition to anticoccidial ionophores/chemicals and vaccines, natural products are emerging as an alternative and complementary way to control coccidiosis.
Natural solution for contributing to coccidial risk management
Norponin® XO is a natural solution based on plants rich in saponins that contributes to the management of coccidial risk in multiple species.