Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 12, 1995
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Proventriculitis is a term used to describe an enlargement and inflammation of the glandular stomach of chickens. This condition has been a problem mainly in chickens which are processed at 4-5 weeks of age for the Cornish hen market, and often results in rupture of the stomach during processing, thus contaminating the carcass. We previously showed that inoculation of one-day-old chicks with homogenized proventriculi from birds with the condition would reproduce the disease, and that the effects on the proventriculus were also evident when a homogenate filtered to exclude bacteria was fed to the chicks. We designed this study with 6 groups of chickens. Half of the birds were fed a standard chicken feed and half were fed the same feed to which 2 lbs/ton copper sulfate (Cu) was added. One day old chicks were inoculated into the crop with either crude proventriculus homogenate, filtered proventriculus homogenate, or sterile saline. Both crude and filtered proventriculus homogenate had a much stronger effect on proventriculus score than did Cu. Crude homogenate had a much stronger effect on proventriculus weight than did either Cu or filtered homogenate. Body weights were decreased in birds fed homogenate or Cu, but not in birds fed the filtered homogenate. Overall feed conversion was significantly decreased in the birds fed homogenate and only slightly decreased in birds fed Cu. There were few significant interactions shown in this study, mainly because the effects of the homogenate were much stronger than the effects of Cu. This study did suggest that at 4 weeks of age, natural exposure to low levels of the infectious agent present in the homogenate may interact with the excess dietary Cu, and result in increased proventriculus size, decreased body weight and poorer feed conversion.
Technical Abstract: Oral inoculation with either crude homogenate (CH) of affected proventriculus tissue or homogenate filtered through a 0.2 micron filter (FH) was shown to produce proventricular lesions. Dietary copper sulfate (Cu) has also been shown to cause such lesions. This study looked at the interaction between CH, FH, and 2 lbs/ton of Cu on proventricular lesions, body weight, feed conversion, and relative organ weights. Broiler chicks were distributed into 6 groups with 4 replicate battery pens per group. Birds were fed either a standard broiler diet or the same diet with 2 lbs/ton Cu. Each dietary treatment was inoculated per os with 1 ml of either sterile saline, CH, or FH at day of hatch. Both CH and FH affected proventricular score far more then Cu, resulting in no interaction when pen means were analyzed as a 2 / 3 factorial. Proventriculus relative weights were higher in the Cu x FH group during week 1, and in the Cu x CH group during week 4. Body weight was decreased in birds fed CH or Cu, but not i birds fed FH. There was a synergistic decrease in body weight in the Cu X FH group during week 1, and in the Cu x CH group during week 2. Feed conversion efficiency was decreased in birds fed CH only (P=0.04) and in birds fed Cu only (P=0.1). There was a strong (4.2 vs 2.3) but not highly significant (P=0.1) decrease in feed conversion efficiency in birds fed both CH and Cu. These data demonstrate that an infectious agent in both CH and FH causes proventriculitis, and that Cu by itself, or interacting with the infectious agent, may cause proventriculitis and decrease performance.