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Keywords:

  • Salmonella;
  • poultry;
  • broiler breeder;
  • management;
  • multilevel analysis

Summary

A two-part serial survey of 49 broiler breeder farms was conducted in four south-eastern states: Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina. Broiler breeder farms from three to five broiler company complexes in each state were visited on two separate occasions to document management practices and perform environmental sampling for Salmonella prevalence estimation. Salmonella was detected in 88% of the broiler breeder houses that were sampled and was identified on all 49 farms enrolled. Many management characteristics were consistent across the different states and companies. Multilevel analysis was used to evaluate management characteristics as risk factors for Salmonella prevalence and to estimate the proportion of variance residing at the different hierarchical sampling levels. Management characteristics associated with increased Salmonella prevalence included treatment of the flock for any disease, having dusty conditions in the house, having dry conditions under the slats and walking through the house more than one time per day to pick-up dead birds. After adjusting for state as a fixed effect, the percentages of variance in Salmonella prevalence occurring at the complex, farm, visit, house and individual sample levels were 5.2%, 6.8%, 11.8%, 2.8% and 73.4%, respectively. The intraclass correlations for samples collected from the same house; for samples from different houses during the same visit; for samples from different visits to the same farm; and for samples from different farms in the same complex were as follows: 0.27, 0.24, 0.12 and 0.05, respectively.