Deal­ing with in­fec­tious process

The Poultry Bulletin - - CONTENTS - By Brian Fairchild and Eric Sheppard

Man­age­ment pro­ce­dures to re­duce In­fec­tious Process

In­fec­tious Process or In­flam­ma­tory Process - com­monly known as IP - is a form of cel­luli­tis in which in­flam­ma­tion oc­curs be­tween the skin and mus­cle tis­sue. Be­fore IP can be con­trolled, it is im­por­tant to un­der­stand the un­der­ly­ing fac­tors that con­trib­ute to the con­di­tion. One com­mon fac­tor among IP in­ci­dents is in­jury to the skin. The skin is the first line of de­fence against bac­te­rial in­fec­tions.

It is gen­er­ally ac­cepted that most cases of IP are a re­sult of

a scratch or other in­jury that pro­duces a skin tear al­low­ing bac­te­rial in­fec­tions to form. While sev­eral or­gan­isms have been found as­so­ci­ated with th­ese le­sions, E. coli are the bac­te­ria most com­monly found. The key to pre­vent­ing this con­di­tion from de­vel­op­ing is to man­age birds in a way that re­duces scratching and to main­tain en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions that min­imise bac­te­rial chal­lenge from the lit­ter. Be­low are some com­mon man­age­ment pro­ce­dures that can be taken to help pre­vent IP.

Keep birds spread evenly through­out the house

There are many rea­sons why it is im­por­tant to keep birds evenly dis­trib­uted through­out the house. Not only does this help dis­trib­ute bird heat, mak­ing it eas­ier to main­tain proper bird tem­per­a­tures, but it also helps main­tain bet­ter lit­ter qual­ity. It is crit­i­cal to use mi­gra­tion fences through­out the year to keep birds evenly dis­trib­uted. When too many birds get in one sec­tion of the house more mois­ture is added to the lit­ter in that area and there is more com­pe­ti­tion for feeder and drinker space that can in­crease the in­ci­dence of scratches.

Birds have sharp claws and thin skin, so when they crawl over each other or get too crowded it is rel­a­tively easy for a scratch to oc­cur. Util­is­ing two wa­ter me­ters to mon­i­tor wa­ter con­sump­tion in the front and back of the house is a way to mon­i­tor bird dis­tri­bu­tion. House en­vi­ron­men­tal con­trollers have the abil­ity to ac­cept mul­ti­ple wa­ter me­ter in­puts mak­ing it easy to mon­i­tor daily wa­ter con­sump­tion.

Avoid feed out­ages

Feed bins should be checked rou­tinely to eval­u­ate the amount of feed avail­able. De­pend­ing on when the feed out­age oc­curs dur­ing the flock growout and how long the birds are off of feed, dif­fer­ences in body weight may never be ob­served. How­ever, birds will crawl over each other in an at­tempt to ac­cess the feed when the feed pans be­gin to re­fill re­sult­ing in el­e­vated in­ci­dence of scratches. This in­creases the like­li­hood that dis­eases such as Gan­grene Der­mati­tis and IP will oc­cur in the flock.

Main­tain good lit­ter qual­ity

Ad­e­quate ven­ti­la­tion is needed to con­trol mois­ture in the house. This im­proves lit­ter and air qual­ity. Good lit­ter qual­ity will help keep bac­te­rial pop­u­la­tions in the house in check. If the lit­ter be­comes too wet, it is pos­si­ble that bac­te­rial pop­u­la­tions, such as E. coli, will in­crease, thus el­e­vat­ing the chal­lenge to the bird’s im­mune sys­tem. Am­mo­nia is a stres­sor on the bird that not only im­pacts weight gain and feed con­ver­sion, but may also im­pair the birds’ im­muno­log­i­cal de­fences, mak­ing them more sus­cep­ti­ble to bac­te­rial in­fec­tions which could lead con­di­tions such as air­sac­culi­tis and/or In­fec­tious Process.

Man­age feed and drinker lines ac­cord­ing to man­u­fac­turer guide­lines

Feeder and drinker sys­tems should be op­er­ated ac­cord­ing to the man­u­fac­turer guide­lines. Drinkers that are too low will re­sult in wet­ter floors that will in­flu­ence bac­te­rial pop­u­la­tions in the house and air qual­ity. Feed

lines that are too low are a pos­si­ble con­trib­u­tor to IP oc­cur­rences. If birds can ob­tain feed from the pans while sit­ting they may be in­clined to set­tle in th­ese ar­eas for long pe­ri­ods of time. As a re­sult, other broil­ers will be tempted to crawl over th­ese birds to ac­cess feed for them­selves which will in­crease the oc­cur­rence of scratches.

Use light­ing pro­grams to man­age bird ac­tiv­ity

Light­ing pro­grams have a strong in­flu­ence on bird ac­tiv­ity and feed­ing rou­tines. Lower light in­ten­sity will re­sult in less bird ac­tiv­ity, which is also usu­ally ac­com­pa­nied by fewer scratches. Dark pe­ri­ods are de­sir­able dur­ing pro­duc­tion, but if the dark pe­riod is too long (and this will vary among breeds and age of the bird) the birds could rush the feed­ers when the lights do come on. If this is sus­pected, dark pe­ri­ods should be re­duced or an in­ter­mit­tent light­ing pro­gram should be con­sid­ered.

Pace your­self when walk­ing the houses

The pace at which a per­son walks a house can in­flu­ence the in­ci­dence of scratches. If a per­son walks too quickly, birds will crowd in cor­ners and at mi­gra­tion fences. This can in­crease skin scratches and the in­ci­dence of IP. A slow, steady pace should be used to min­imise bird crowd­ing, es­pe­cially when ap­proach­ing the mi­gra­tion fences.

Ob­serve birds dur­ing the feed with­drawal pe­riod

Feed with­drawal pro­ce­dures may in­flu­ence bird ac­tiv­ity. Usu­ally it is pre­ferred to let the birds clean the feed from the pans be­fore the feed lines are raised dur­ing the feed with­drawal pe­riod prior to catch­ing. How­ever, it has been ob­served that birds crawl over each other in at­tempts to ac­cess the feed pans. In th­ese si­t­u­a­tions, it is nec­es­sary to raise the pans be­fore they are com­pletely empty. Light­ing pro­grams dur­ing feed with­drawal are crit­i­cal and light pe­riod or in­ten­sity should not be changed dur­ing this pe­riod. One ex­am­ple that oc­curred a few years ago was where the light in­ten­sity was in­creased in an ef­fort to make the birds clean the pans in a shorter pe­riod of time.

While that ob­jec­tive was reached, the down­side to the plan was an in­crease in the in­ci­dence of IP due to scratches that oc­curred due to in­creased bird ac­tiv­ity as­so­ci­ated with the in­creased light in­ten­sity. It is pos­si­ble for some of the ini­tial stages of avian cel­luli­tis to form in as few as 6 hours. As a re­sult man­age­ment up to the point the birds leave the house is im­por­tant.

Lit­ter cleanout and windrow­ing can be ef­fec­tive

Re­search has shown that it is dif­fi­cult to re­move the or­gan­isms that cause IP, such as E. coli, with­out a com­plete clean out and disinfection. It is im­por­tant to re­move the lit­ter from the farm to en­sure that dark­ling bee­tles do not carry the bac­te­ria with them as they mi­grate back into the houses. Down time be­tween flocks does not al­le­vi­ate the IP prob­lem alone.

Ad­e­quate down­time be­tween flocks com­bined with com­plete clean out and disinfection has been ob­served to be more ef­fec­tive. An­other strat­egy that has shown to be suc­cess­ful is windrow­ing lit­ter. Windrow­ing the lit­ter in the mid­dle of the house to heat the en­tire pile has shown to re­duce E. coli num­bers as long as the heat gen­er­ated is high enough.

In­fec­tious Process is not a dis­ease that is passed from bird to bird and it usu­ally is not as­so­ci­ated with in­creased mor­tal­ity. It is com­mon for a per­son to not re­alise that their birds even have an IP prob­lem un­til they are pro­cessed. If a farm rou­tinely has an IP prob­lem, the pro­ducer is en­cour­aged to work with their broiler flock su­per­vi­sor to in­ves­ti­gate whether some of the man­age­ment is­sues dis­cussed above can be ap­plied to im­prove flock per­for­mance and re­duce the in­ci­dence of IP.¡

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