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Lighting during grow-out and Salmonella in broiler flocks

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Background: Lighting is used during conventional broiler grow-out to modify bird behaviour to reach the goals of production and improve bird welfare. The protocols for lighting intensity vary. In a field study, we evaluated if the lighting practices impact the burden of Salmonella in broiler flocks. Methods: Conventional grow-out flocks reared in the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Texas, USA in 2003 to 2006 were sampled 1 week before harvest (n = 58) and upon arrival for processing (n = 56) by collecting feathered carcass rinsate, crop and one cecum from each of 30 birds, and during processing by collecting rinsate of 30 carcasses at prechilling (n = 56) and post-chilling points (n = 54). Litter samples and drag swabs of litter were collected from the growout houses after bird harvest (n = 56). Lighting practices for these flocks were obtained with a questionnaire completed by the growers. Associations between the lighting practices and the burden of Salmonella in the flocks were tested while accounting for variation between the grow-out farms, their production complexes and companies. Results: Longer relative duration of reduced lights during the grow-out period was associated with reduced detection of Salmonella on the exterior of birds 1 week before harvest and on the broiler carcasses at the post-chilling point of processing. In addition, starting reduced lights for ≥18 hours per day later in the grow-out period was associated with decreased detection of Salmonella on the exterior of broilers arriving for processing and in the post-harvest drag swabs of litter from the grow-out house. Conclusions: The results of this field study show that lighting practices implemented during broiler rearing can impact the burden of Salmonella in the flock. The underlying mechanisms are likely to be interactive.
Victoriya V. Volkova , J. Allen Byrd , Sue Ann Hubbard , Danny Magee , Richard H. Bailey , Robert W. Wills
USDA Scientist Submission
Acta veterinaria Scandinavica 2010 v.52 no.46
BioMed Central
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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