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The Influence of Flock Health, Performance, Husbandry and Vaccination Against Other Diseases on Susceptibility to Colonisation with Campylobacter spp. in Housed Broiler Flocks

University of Bristol
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End date
This research project aims to investigate the theory that farmers who consistently produce positive flocks are more likely to have poor production scores.
  1. Examine retrospective data from at least three poultry companies to identify farms with consistent evidence of either 'good' or 'poor' husbandry. Parameters to be examined will include levels of mortality and carcass rejection at slaughter, frequency of hock and/or pad burn and details of disease incidence. Data on campylobacter status and time of colonisation.
  2. To follow cohorts of flocks from 'good' or 'poor' farmers over ten flock cycles to establish campylobacter status and time of colonisation.
  3. To examine, in detail, production data from the above farms to compare flock health and performance. In this component, dead birds will also be subjected to detailed standardised post-mortem. An assessment of farm hygiene will also be made.
  4. To support the above data by determining the campylobacter status of flocks chosen randomly at slaughter and by comparing culture results with company production data.
  5. To identify flocks, which differ in vaccination regimes and to sample these before and after these interventions to determine whether vaccination is a risk factor for campylobacter colonisation.
More information
FSA funded project B03008 and independent studies in Northern Ireland and Scandinavia, have demonstrated that farmers differ in the frequency with which campylobacter positive housed broilers are produced.

Furthermore project B03008 suggested that there was a possible relationship between aspects of bird husbandry and campylobacter colonisation. As the colonisation of broiler flocks is very likely to be multi-factorial there are many possible reasons for farmer to farmer differences.

This project is an extension to B03008 and involves a more detailed study to determine the relative roles of the different aspects of flock management, which might influence the entry of campylobacter into broiler flocks and/or affect the susceptibility of the birds to colonisation.

The final report, "Campylobacter spp. in Housed Broiler Flocks, the Influence of Flock Husbandry Practices on the Frequency of Colonisation" is available at Foodbase, an open access repository of the FSA.

Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the Food Standards Agency Research webpage.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project number