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Pullets Reared in Enriched 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.


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


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

General Good Practice for Coccidiosis Management During Rearing

Physical Enriched 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 roofs 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. 

Physical Enriched Cage Environment: Perches, Platforms and Dust Bath Areas - As the pullets grow to use the perches, platforms and dust bath areas fecal build-up may occur on or below these additions. Consequently, it is important to note these areas as potential reservoirs for oocysts. Additionally, this elevation may allow the birds defecate on each other which could be another way in which birds could ingest oocysts (4). 


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.

4. Appleby, M.C. The Edinburgh modified cage: effects of group size and space allowance on brown laying hens. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 7:152-161. 1998.