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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Comparison and assessment of necropsy lesions in end-of-lay laying hens from different housing systems in Denmark

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Apperantly healthy laying hens at the end of production (60 to 91 wk) were investigated for the occurrence of pathology and bacterial infections. In total, 7,477 hens from 15 flocks representing the following production systems: Enriched cages, barn housed layers, and organic/free range layers were necropsied. Indications of bacterial infection were investigated by bacteriological cultivation. The overall prevalence of lesions was 16.60%, including lesions of both infectious and non-infectious origin. The most prevalent lesions were bursitis presternalis (6.65%), reproductive tract lesions (e.g., salpingitis and/or peritonitis and/or oophoritis) (3.50%), serosal scarification (e.g., fibrotic adhesive peritonitis) 1.55%, and neoplasm 1.73%. Significant differences were observed between different production systems and/or flocks in the prevalence of reproductive tract lesions, bursitis presternalis, serosal scarification, skin infections, juvenile hens, and traumas/fractures. No significant difference was observed between different production systems in the prevalence of neoplasia, infection of septicemic etiology, and pododermatitis. In total, 3.4% of the hens were out of lay, with significantly higher rate in organic flocks. Infections of the reproductive tract were the most prevalent lesions with bacterial etiology in all productions systems. In total, 40% of the hens with lesions associated to the oviduct were out of lay and significant difference between production systems were observed. Escherichia coli was the most commonly isolated bacteria and in 90% of the cases they were isolated from the reproductive tract lesions. The second most prevalent bacteria was Gallibacteruim anatis. Significant difference in the prevalence of E. coli positive hens was observed between production systems (P < 0.05). In conclusion, the prevalence of reproductive tract lesions in apparently healthy end-of-lay laying was higher than indicated in previous reports. These findings support the previous suggestions that E. coli and G. anatis are the major pathogens causing reproductive tract lesions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPoultry Science
Volume99
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)119-128
Number of pages10
ISSN0032-5791
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s)

Copyright:
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • Animal Husbandry/methods, Animals, Autopsy/veterinary, Bacterial Infections/classification, Chickens, Denmark/epidemiology, Female, Housing, Animal, Poultry Diseases/classification, Prevalence, laying hens, pathology, subclinical infections, bacteriology, reproductive tract

ID: 61720317