Impact of Skip-a-Day and Every-Day Feeding Programs for Broiler Breeder Pullets on the Recovery ofSalmonellaandCampylobacterfollowing challenge2

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The impact of restrictive feeding programs on Salmonella and Campylobacter colonization and persistence after challenge was investigated for broiler breeder pullets housed in an experimental rearing facility. Pullet-chicks were placed on litter in 3 feeding program rooms and each room contained 2 replicate pens. The feeding programs were: (1) Skip-a-day in trough feeders (SAD); (2) Every-day in trough feeders (EDT); (3) Every-day on the pen litter (EDL). On d 1, an additional group of hatchmate chicks were housed in a separate room and gavaged with Salmonella Typhimurium, to later serve as seeder chicks. After seeders were confirmed Salmonella-positive at wk 4, at wk 5 seeders were placed into each feeding program pen to commingle with 135 penmates. At 7, 9, 11, 17, 18, and 20 wk the litter surface in each pen was sampled using intermittently stepped-on drag-swabs. At 8, 12, 16, and 20 wk of age the ceca were sampled from 10 penmates/pen and 2 pooled spleen samples/pen were collected. SAD litter remained Salmonella-positive through 20 wk of age while EDL and EDT pens had no detectible litter Salmonella recovery by 18 and 20 wk. EDL fed pens had no direct (<102 cfu/mL) litter Salmonella recovery during the entirety of the experiment. Salmonella prevalence for ceca from SAD pullets was significantly (P < 0.05) higher at 8 wk (70%) compared to EDT (40%) and EDL (30%). At wk 12, SAD pullets for both on and off-feed sampling days had significantly higher Salmonella recovery (40%), compared to EDT and EDL (both at 5% recovery). By 16 and 20 wk, only the SAD pullets on the on-feed day (48 h without feed) had recovery of Salmonella at 20%. Salmonella recovery in pooled spleen samples did not appear associated with feeding treatments (22% positive). The remaining pullets challenged with Campylobacter at 21 wk produced similar trends as was seen for Salmonella. SAD program pullets had significantly higher Campylobacter from ceca (80 to 100%) compared to pullets on EDL (30 to 60%) or EDT (40 to 95%). These results suggest that using a Skip-a-Day feeding program for broiler breeder pullets contributes to persistently higher Salmonella and Campylobacter ceca colonization and litter prevalence.

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