Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 28, 1995
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Broilers which are processed at 4-5 weeks of age for the cornish hen market often have a condition called proventricu-litis. The proventriculus is the glandular stomach of birds, and when affected appears enlarged and flabby and often ruptures during processing, contaminating the carcass. In this study, homogenized proventriculi from birds with the condition were shown to cause similar changes in the proventriculus when fed to one-day-old broiler chicks. When the homogenate was filtered to exclude bacteria, it still produced these changes. Body weights and feed efficiency were lower in birds fed the proventriculus homogenate but were not changed in birds fed the filtered homogenate. Field birds with very severe proventriculitis were found to have higher body weights than birds without proventriculitis, or birds with a mild form of the disease. Infectious proventriculitis has usually been associated with stunting or malabsorption syndrome, but this study suggests it also occurs in the abscence of stunting, and may be associated with a virus infection.
Technical Abstract: Proventriculitis is a problem affecting the processing of broiler carcasses, particularly those processed at 4-5 weeks of age. The proventriculus, and the gastric isthmus connecting the proventriculus to the gizzard, are enlarged and swollen and often rupture during processing, causing carcass contamination. This study suggests that a filterable agent found in homogenated proventriculi can cause lesions similar to those seen in field cases. Proventriculitis was produced independently of an effect on growth, and only unfiltered homogenate caused stunting. Field birds with severe proventriculitis were shown to have increased body weights compared to birds without proventriculitis or with milder lesions. Intestinal weakness was not associated with proventriculitis and field birds with the most severe proventriculitis had stronger intestines. While infectious proventriculitis has generally been reported as one of the lesions associated with stunting syndrome, these data suggest it may have an independent etiology.