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Tebrün, Wiebke; Motola, Gerzon; Hafez, Mohamed Hafez; Bachmeier, Josef; Schmidt, Volker; Renfert, Kevin; Reichelt, Christian; Brüggemann-Schwarze, Sarah and Pees, Michael (2020): Preliminary study: Health and performance assessment in broiler chicks following application of six different hatching egg disinfection protocols.
In: PLOS One 15(5), e0232825 [PDF, 2MB]


As part of a Germany-wide project that evaluates strategies for the reduction of multi-resistant bacteria along the poultry production chain, the impact of different hatching egg disinfectants on hatchability and health of the broiler chicks was evaluated. Animal trials were conducted with extended-spectrum beta-lactamase- (ESBL) producing Escherichia (E.) coli contaminated hatching eggs and six disinfection protocols that used formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, low-energy electron irradiation, peracetic acid and an essential oil preparation. Each protocol was tested on a group of 50 chicks. Equally sized positive and negative control groups were carried along for each trial. Hatchability, mortality and body weight were recorded as performance parameters. During necropsy of half of the animals in each group on day 7 and 14 respectively, macroscopic abnormalities, body weight, weights of liver and gut convolute were recorded and a range of tissue samples for histological examination were collected as part of the health assessment. A decrease in hatchability was recorded for spray application of essential oils. Body weight development was overall comparable, in several groups even superior, to the Ross308 performance objectives, but a reduced performance was seen in the hydrogen peroxide group. Histologically, lymphoid follicles were regularly seen in all sampled organs and no consistent differences were observed between contaminated and non-contaminated groups. Significances were infrequently and inconsistently seen. In conclusion, remarkable findings were a decrease in hatchability caused by the essential oils spray application and a reduced body weight development in the hydrogen peroxide group. Therefore, the essential oils preparation as spray application was deemed inappropriate in practice, while the application of hydrogen peroxide was considered in need of further research. The other trial results indicate that the tested hatching egg disinfectants present a possible alternative to formaldehyde.

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