Preventative care is vital to the success of any commercial poultry operation. Not only does it improve the health and welfare of birds, but it also ensures the profitability of your operation. It’s important to know the most effective strategies to prevent disease in layer chickens, starting with nutrition, water quality and proper housing conditions.
1. Nutrition and Feed
Proper nutrition is fundamental to the health of your layers. Ensuring that birds have access to a balanced diet is essential as nutrient deficiencies can lead to various diseases. Properly formulated diets not only protect against nutrient deficiencies but also optimize gut health and functionality. To achieve this, it’s crucial to have a nutritionist formulate your feed and provide a full diet program that adapts to the birds changing nutrient requirements over time so that they can grow and perform at their best.
Feed additives are another way to support birds during times of stress or as a preventative measure to ensure optimal performance. For instance, including yeast cell wall products in the feed can help bind Salmonella in the digestive tract and reduce its prevalence in the flock. Other feed additives containing essential oils and plant additives can help naturally boost immunity and prevent the spread of disease in the flock.
Water sanitation also plays a critical role in keeping your birds healthy. Poor-quality water can expose birds to chemicals, nutritional imbalances or disease-causing microorganisms. It’s important to test the water regularly for pH levels, salinity and bacterial contamination. Installing a water treatment system can help reduce these risks.
Water management presents an opportunity for improving bird health and flock performance. Supplying adequate clean water is key to maintaining hydration, body temperature and health.
A properly maintained housing environment is another crucial factor in poultry health. A well-ventilated house is essential to prevent the buildup of harmful gases like ammonia. Noxious ammonia gas can irritate the respiratory tract of birds, causing infections, low performance and even reduced egg production. It’s critical to maintain optimal ammonia levels through proper litter management and ventilation.
Litter management involves monitoring litter conditions and moisture levels. Litter amendments like Essential Dry™ XP can be added to help improve litter quality, neutralize ammonia levels and combat disease-causing bacteria.
Adequate ventilation is also needed to help regulate temperature, moisture (humidity) and ammonia levels. Additionally, inconsistent ventilation in a house can lead to crowding or smothering challenges in cage-free layers. Proper equipment maintenance, such as regularly checking fan belts and water lines will help reduce the risk of malfunctions that can damage litter conditions and impair bird performance and health.
Birds, like humans, thrive when they’re in a comfortable environment. By creating an optimal environment for your flock and adhering to breed standards for housing conditions, your birds can perform at their best.
Manage Disease with Ralco
Stay ahead of costly treatment expenses by focusing on prevention. With over 50 years of experience, Ralco has been a trusted partner in helping poultry producers overcome challenges and optimize their operations. Our nutritionists use expert-formulated feed programs, essential oils and prebiotic feed additives and litter amendments to naturally manage disease and boost flock health.