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Evaluation of Salmonella enteritidis in molting hens after administration of an experimenal chlorate product (for nine days) in the drinking water and feeding an alfalfa molt diet

McReynolds, J., Kubena, L., Byrd, J., Anderson, R., Ricke, S., Nisbet, D.
Poultry science 2005 v.84 no.8 pp. 1186
induced molting, bacterial colonization, cecum, hen feeding
The method most commonly used to induce molting and stimulate multiple egg-laying cycles in laying hens for commercial egg production is to fast the hens. Unfortunately, increased risk of Salmonella enteritidis (SE) infection may result from the use of this method. Methods to stimulate multiple egg-laying cycles without increasing the risk of SE infection are needed. Hens over 50 wk of age were divided into 12 groups of 11 hens each and placed in individual laying cages. One week prior to dietary changes, hens were placed on an 8-h light and 16-h dark photoperiod that continued for the 9-d molt. All hens were challenged orally with 10(6) cfu of SE on the fourth day of the molt. Treatments were nonfed hens with distilled water (NFD), nonfed hens with the experimental chlorate product (ECP, which provided 15 mM chlorate ion) water (NFECP), alfalfa diets with distilled water (ALD), and alfalfa diets with ECP water (ALECP). In the NFD hens, 67% (log10 2.74) of the crops and 94% (log10 5.62) of the ceca were colonized, whereas for the NFECP hens significant reductions to 22% (log10 1.05) of the crops and 61% (log10 2.44) of the ceca were observed. In the ALD hens, 61% (log10 2.52) of the crops and 94% (log10 4.06) of the ceca were colonized. In the ALECP hens, highly significant reductions to 11% (log10 1.26) of the crops and 39% (log10 1.12) of the ceca were observed. When compared with the NFD hens, significant reductions in SE invasion of the ovary, liver, and spleen occurred in all other treatments, except the ovary in the ALD hens. The low alfalfa intake is probably a factor in our lowered protection against SE when compared with previous results. For several parameters, these results suggest that ECP or the combination of ECP and alfalfa may be a useful tool to reduce the risk of SE during an induced molt.