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Broiler production without antibiotics: United States field perspectives

Smith, John A.
Animal feed science and technology 2019 v.250 pp. 93-98
Food and Drug Administration, antibiotics, coccidiosis, coccidiostats, diet, disease control, ionophores, marketing, necrotic enteritis, poultry production, vaccines, United States
Recent United States Food and Drug Administration restrictions on antibiotic use in broilers should have minimal impacts on broiler health and performance. Of more significance are marketing programs that more severely restrict and often totally prohibit the use of antibiotics, including ionophores, in broiler production. The major impacts of antibiotic-free programs include increased neonatal infections due to removal of added antibiotics from Marek’s vaccines, compromised control of coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis, control of litter moisture and the issues associated with wet litter, and general disease control. Management of these issues requires significant adjustments to management and diet and the use of non-antibiotic medications such as chemically-synthesized coccidiostats. While these adjustments can ameliorate the impacts of antibiotic-free programs, performance, health, and welfare problems are likely to exceed those found in programs with unrestricted access to judicious use of all approved medications.