Raised without antibiotics: How to control coccidiosis in broilers and reach this goal? (Part 2)

Nowadays there is an increasing demand for products that come from animals raised without antibiotics. The concerning thing about antibiotic resistance and the alarming situation with the superbug is that it increases the demand for these distinctive products. Problems such as coccidiosis in broilers and maintaining productive efficiency have to be taken into account.

In broiler production, coccidiosis can be controlled through the use of inonophores. Ionophores are antimicrobials and yet they are used in many countries with antibiotic reduction policies. The reason for this is that there are no public health concerns regarding this type of product. Despite this, it can (and it will) induce resistance in microbials, such as Eimeria, and will have an impact on animal health and production results as consequence.

The most significant use of antibiotics for broiler production is for the prevention of coccidiosis in poultry (ionophore coccidiostats are one type of antibiotic), and for the treatment or prevention of necrotic enteritis.

Coccidiosis control is important for the production of broilers raised without antibiotics, helping to prevent the common secondary clostridial disease, necrotic enteritis. One effective way of controlling coccidiosis without the use of antibiotics is vaccination, which is an advantage because of the lack of resistance so commonly found with the use of coccidiostats.

Nutritional management is imperative for the maintenance of gut health. There are more and more types of feed additives on the market, direct-fed microbials, prebiotics, essential oils, and enzymes are just a few of the products available. The idea of combining different feed additives to get maximum efficacy in improving gut health in order to promote feed efficiency and keep birds healthy is a popular one.

One of the pillars of poultry production is biosecurity; not only is nutrition a key factor, but aspects such as the prevention of the entry of pathogens are also essential in the control of pathologies in poultry production. Prevention, such as vaccination against coccidiosis in poultry and biosecurity, are two of the most important factors in the control of pathologies.

However, nutrition and biosecurity measures are not the only resources that help animal producers to rear animals without the use of coccidiostats and antibiotics. On the other hand, we are now living in a highly technological world where everybody collects data that are susceptible of being transformed into information.

Statistics and mainly data analysis is the science that gives us the answers in situations of uncertainty. Statistics is widely used in different fields: from car factories to animal production, companies take advantage of the usefulness of this tool. Hiprastats® -Hipra’s department of statistics- helps customers in different areas, for instance in assessing the risks affecting the results of coccidiosis vaccination.

As matter of fact, HIPRA®, as the reference in prevention for Animal Health, has dedicated its best efforts to the development of ORIGINS®, a pioneering comprehensive consultancy programme powered by Hiprastats® and designed to create plans for raising livestock animals efficiently and competitively, without antibiotics or coccidiostats.

ORIGINS® is based on the identification of the factors that are key for production without antibiotics and with the use of vaccines against coccidiosis in broilers. This allows the classification of those farms in a company with the highest statistical probability of success in producing animals without the use of antibiotics or coccidiostats. Achieving this objective can also improve the overall results of the company, as it will identify strengths and weaknesses.

To sum up, rearing animals without antibiotics and coccidiostats is within the reach of most companies thanks to the new tools currently available in the field of animal production. Nutrition, biosecurity and data analysis are the most important topics to take into account for the achievement of a more sustainable form of production without abuse of antibiotics or ionophore coccidiostats for the control of coccidiosis in broilers.