Management, vaccination keys to Salmonella prevention in cage-free egg layers

Between 2017 and 2022, cage-free layer production increased nearly 200%
calendar icon 21 September 2022
clock icon 1 minute read

The number of cage-free egg layers has soared in recent years, raising questions about the impact the production system might have on the prevalence of foodborne Salmonella.

Between 2017 and 2022, cage-free layer production increased nearly 200%. By January 2022, there were 111 million cage-free layers.1 The predominant foodborne pathogen in layers that’s of concern is Salmonella Enteritidis; Salmonella Typhimurium can also occur, though to a lesser extent.2

Studies comparing the prevalence of Salmonella among different types of production systems for layers have yielded different results.3 Personally, I haven’t seen much difference in Salmonella prevalence between caged and cage-free hens. The risk for Salmonella seems to be less related to the type of system and highly related to management, and the best control of Salmonella I’ve witnessed is achieved when good management is coupled with vaccination.

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