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Choice of litter material can decrease Salmonella in poultry flocks

Posted on 15. April, 2011.

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Researchers at the Department of Animal Sciences at Georg-August-University Göttingen in Germany studied the effect of four types of litter material on the frequency of Salmonella in broilers.

Wood shavings showed the highest prevalence of Salmonella. The study was published in the January–February 2011 issue of Berliner und Munchener Tierarztliche Wochenschrift.

During the fattening period of a broiler flock four different litter materials (peat, chopped straw, shavings and silage) were tested simultaneously. The separated sections were tested for the presence of Salmonella bacteria using the sock-sampling method as described in the regulation EC No. 646/2007 with slight modifications in the sampling technique and the laboratory protocol.

In addition, some chemical and physical parameters regarding litter quality and house climate were analysed. Samples were taken at day 0 (housing of animals), day 14, and day 30. At the end of the fattening period Salmonella Paratyphi B (d-tartrate +), representing a common strain in German broiler flocks, were isolated from culture.

According to the various types of bedding materials some differences in the frequency of Salmonella detection were found. With three samples out of six samples being positive, wood shavings showed the highest Salmonella prevalence, followed by peat with two positive results. Corn silage was found to be a suitable alternative for common litter materials and revealed only one positive sample. Chopped straw was found to be free of Salmonella in our study. However, the latter had a higher risk for negative side effects concerning animal health and house climate.

The study showed that the choice of an appropriate litter material might be of considerable importance in order to decrease the Salmonella burden within poultry flocks.

The full article can be found at: Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr., 2011, 124(1-2), 71-77.

In Picture:  Salmonella enteritidis. Photo by Jean Guard-Petter, United States Department of Agriculture.

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