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Keywords:

  • ad libitum feeding;
  • Campylobacter jejuni ;
  • feed structure;
  • intermittent feeding;
  • oat/barley hulls;
  • poultry

Abstract

Aim

We have tested the effect of feed structure and feeding regime to prevent the spread of the zoonotic pathogen Campylobacter jejuni in broiler chicken flocks.

Methods and Results

Birds were offered two types of feed, control diet and a diet supplemented with 15% oat/barley hulls for structure. In addition, the birds were either fed ad libitum or intermittent. One bird in each treatment group was infected with a three-strain-mix of Camp. jejuni, and the spread of Camp. jejuni within the group was investigated. Feed structure increased the gizzard weight, delayed the spread of Camp. jejuni within the group and reduced the relative amount of Camp. jejuni in the caecum compared with the control diet.

Conclusions

Our results show that stimulating the bird's natural barriers is a novel and promising intervention strategy to reduce the spread of Camp. jejuni in chicken flocks.

Significance and impact of the Study

Preventing Camp. jejuni in broiler chicken flocks is essential to ensure food safety because this bacterium is transferred to chicken carcasses during the slaughter process and readily survive in unprocessed poultry products. We have evaluated a novel approach for stimulation of the bird's natural barriers in the upper digestive tract with promising results.