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Pullets Reared in Conventional Cages -
Anticoccidial Drugs

This information is NOT a housing management guide. These sections were created to help explain the relationship between housing and oocyst ingestion. Please consult your veterinarian and bird management guide from the breeding company for housing management information.

Brooding

General Good Barn Practice Provide chicks with clean, biosecure housing. Ensure that feed and water are readily available to the chicks when they are placed (1). Additionally, proper heat, ventilation and lighting as well as feed and water quality are required for good rearing management (1). 

Physical Cage Environment During Brooding: Nipple Drinker Cups If nipple cups are attached to the drinkers this is a potential reservoir for oocysts.

dirtycupincage

Figure 1. Example of a dirty nipple drinker cup for pullets reared in conventional cages.  Be cautious as this dirty cup can be a potential reservoir for oocysts.

General Good Practice for Coccidiosis Management During Rearing

Physical Cage Environment: Manure Belts - When a manure belt is in use it will rotate and go through a scraping area where manure is scraped off the belt into a manure disposal area. While most of the manure is removed during this process, the scraper cannot remove all of the manure and it is not equipped to remove microscopic organisms, such as Eimeria. In multi-tier conventional cage system the manure belts act as a roof for the tier level below. When the bird is tall enough they are able to peck at the manure belt roof and potentially at oocysts that remain on the belt (2,3). This issue can act as a potential disease source OR a method to allow for low level of oocyst cycling depending on the number of oocysts being shed and becoming infectious in the environment. 

ManureBeltConventionalCage

Figure 2. Example of a manure belt in use during pullet rearing.  The scraper removes most but not all the manure (A) and is not equipped to remove microscopic organisms, such as Eimeria.  In a multi-tier conventional cage system the manure belt acts as a roof for the tier below (B).  Pullets in lower tiers may have access to Eimeria from the manure belt, especially when they are tall enough to peck at the belt.  (Picture Credits: Guy Kostrey, Sceneskape Productions)

References

1. Anonymous. Layer management guide: Lohmann LSL Classic. In. Lohmann Tierzucht GmBh. 2005.

2. Price, K.R. Use of live vaccines for coccidiosis control in replacement layer pullets. The Journal of Applied Poultry Research 21:679-692. 2012.

3. Dr. Mike Petrik, personal communication.