Influence of commercial laying hen housing systems on the incidence and identification ofSalmonellaandCampylobacter1

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Abstract

The housing of laying hens is important for social, industrial, and regulatory aspects. Many studies have compared hen housing systems on the research farm, but few have fully examined commercial housing systems and management strategies. The current study compared hens housed in commercial cage-free aviary, conventional cage, and enriched colony cage systems. Environmental and eggshell pool samples were collected from selected cages/segments of the housing systems throughout the production cycle and monitored for Salmonella and Campylobacter prevalence. At 77 wk of age, 120 hens per housing system were examined for Salmonella and Campylobacter colonization in the: adrenal glands, spleen, ceca, follicles, and upper reproductive tract. All isolates detected from environmental swabs, eggshell pools, and tissues were identified for serotype. Two predominant Salmonella were detected in all samples: S. Braenderup and S. Kentucky. Campylobacter coli and C. jejuni were the only Campylobacter detected in the flocks. Across all housing systems, approximately 7% of hens were colonized with Salmonella, whereas > 90% were colonized with Campylobacter. Salmonella Braenderup was the isolate most frequently detected in environmental swabs (P < 0.0001) and housing system impacted Salmonella spp. shedding (P < 0.0001). Campylobacter jejuni was the isolate most frequently found in environmental swabs (P < 0.01), while housing system impacted the prevalence of C. coli and jejuni in ceca (P < 0.0001). The results of this study provide a greater understanding of the impact of hen housing systems on hen health and product safety. Additionally, producers and academia can utilize the findings to make informed decisions on hen housing and management strategies to enhance hen health and food safety.

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