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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Egg and Poultry Production Safety Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #339635

Research Project: Evaluation of Management of Laying Hens and Housing Systems to Control Salmonella and Other Pathogenic Infections, Egg Contamination, and Product Quality

Location: Egg and Poultry Production Safety Research Unit

Title: Assessing the impact of early production molting of pullets on the prevalence of Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Enterobacteriaceae

item EBERLE, KRISTA - North Carolina State University
item Jones, Deana
item Gast, Richard
item ROBISON, CARA - Michigan State University
item ANDERSON, KENNETH - North Carolina State University
item KARCHER, DARRIN - Purdue University

Submitted to: Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2017
Publication Date: 7/17/2017
Citation: Eberle, K.N., Jones, D.R., Gast, R.K., Robison, C.I., Anderson, K., Karcher, D. 2017. Assessing the impact of early production molting of pullets on the prevalence of Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Enterobacteriaceae. Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract. 96:21.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: million pullets euthanized were healthy but could not be moved because of quarantine. No research has been conducted regarding delaying the onset of lay in pullets and subsequent impact on egg safety. The objective of the study was to assess early production molting and its impact on Campylobacter and Salmonella spp. prevalence, as well as total aerobes and Enterobacteriaceae enumeration. Hyline W-36 pullets were reared in a cage-free house. At 17 wk, pullets were assigned to one of four treatments: control (C); floor (F); floor with enrichment, addition of perches and nest boxes (E); and floor with molt (M). The C was moved into a multi-tier aviary to begin lay while F, E, and M treatments were brought into lay in the pullet house. When production reached 10%, a non-anorexic diet was fed to the M birds for 6 wk. Post-molt, F, E, and M treatments were moved into the aviary and kept until 32 wk. Fecal, organ, and egg shell samples were collected and analyzed at the onset of lay (18 wk), pre-molt (19 wk), post-molt (25 wk), and depopulation (32 wk) to determine prevalence of Salmonella and Campylobacter spp. Total aerobic and Enterobacteriaceae levels were enumerated for egg shell pools collected separately from the floor, nest box, and aviary system. There was no difference for Salmonella and Campylobacter spp. prevalence among treatments for all samples. No difference in total aerobes or Enterobacteriaceae was detected in egg shell pools for all treatments at 25 and 32 wk. However, there was a difference (P<0.01) in aerobe counts between the C (3.8 log cfu/ml), F (1.8 log cfu/ml) and M treatments (2.3 log cfu/ml) at 19 wk when C was laying in the system (wire and nest boxes) and F and M treatments were laying on the floor. For the M treatment, there were no differences for aerobe or Enterobacteriaceae shell pool levels pre- and post-molt, when birds laid in the aviary system wire and nest boxes. A difference was identified between egg collection locations for total aerobes once all treatments were in the aviary. Total aerobe counts were higher in eggs collected from the floor (2.6 log cfu/ml) compared to nest boxes (2.2 log cfu/ml) and aviary system wire (2.2 log cfu/ml; P<0.01). The results of this study indicate that early production molting of floor-reared birds has little impact on egg safety once birds are moved into a multi-tier aviary.