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Effect of Different Mushrooms Fed to Eimeria-Challenged Broilers on Rearing Performance

23 October 2012

Dietary supplementation with mushroom extracts have potential to improve growth performance in broilers infected with Eimeria (coccidia), possibly through enhanced immune function, according to researchers based in Greensboro, North Carolina. Shiitake mushroom outperformed the other mushrooms as a stand-alone or in combination with regard to performance and Eimeria protection.

An experiment was conducted to evaluate the feeding of four mushrooms separate and combined via Fungus Myceliated Grain (FMG) on broiler chicken performance after an Eimeria challenge at 14 days of age, report W.L. Willis and colleagues at North Carolina A & T State University.

In their paper published recently in International Journal of Poultry Science, they explain that male broilers (n=180) were randomly allocated to one of 12 treatments, replicated three times with five chicks each in a battery cage system for 28 days as follows:

  1. Control-1 (no FMG, unchallenged)
  2. Control-2 (no FMG, challenged)
  3. Shiitake (S) 5% FMG, (unchallenged)
  4. Shiitake (S) 5% FMG, (challenged)
  5. Reishi (R) 5% FMG, (unchallenged)
  6. Reishi (R) 5% FMG, (challenged)
  7. Cordyceps (C) 5% FMG, (unchallenged)
  8. Cordyceps (C) 5% FMG, (challenged)
  9. Oyster (O) 5% FMG, (unchallenged)
  10. Oyster (O) 5% FMG, (challenged)
  11. S+R+C+O 5% FMG, (unchallenged) and
  12. S+R+C+O 5% FMG, (challenged).

Live weight and feed intake were measured at day 7, 14, 21, 28 and oocyst excretion, mortality and bursa weights at day 28.

Coccidiosis infection induced depressed body weights in challenged birds at 21 and 28 days. Eimeria-challenged birds in treatment 4 given Shiitake 5% FMG had body weights that were significantly higher than the other challenged birds at 21 days.

The 28-day weights did not differ from each other in the challenged and unchallenged except for treatment 7 (Cordyceps - unchallenged), which was significantly lower.

While Eimeria counts on day 28 showed significant (p<0.05) differences amongst challenged groups, significant differences were not found in the unchallenged treatment groups.

There were significant (p<0.05) differences in Eimeria counts and bursa weights between challenged and unchallenged birds at day 28.

The results from this study demonstrate that Shiitake was superior and Cordyceps (at the 5% inclusion level) depressed bodyweight in birds whether they were challenged or unchallenged although Cordyceps may reduce oocyst shedding, according to the North Carolina researchers.


Willis W.L., D.C. Wall, O.S. Isikhuemhen, S. Ibrahim, R.C. Minor, J. Jackson, S.L. Hurley and F. Anike. 2012. Effect of different mushrooms fed to Eimeria-challenged broilers on rearing performance. International Journal of Poultry Science, 11(7):433-437.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

Find out more information on coccidiosis by by clicking here.

October 2012

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