Without a Doubt

Latest data confirm that vaccination yields equal or better protection than in-feed antibiotics.

Recently released data show that performance in broilers vaccinated for coccidiosis continues to equal or surpass that of broilers on a traditional program with in-feed anticoccidials.

"The latest results corroborate some of the findings from last year's study and also show that producers are achieving great performance with Coccivac-B, regardless of bird size," says Dr. Linnea Newman, a veterinary consultant for Schering-Plough Animal Health Corporation.

"Producers can confidently vaccinate their flocks and expect both protection against coccidiosis and excellent performance," she says.

'Apples to apples'

This is the second year that performance data has been available from an industry reporting service in the United States. In 2003, the results in broilers vaccinated with Coccivac-B were good, but birds of all weights were lumped together, leaving it difficult to tell with exact certainty how birds in different weight classes were faring, Newman explains.

The latest data, from 2004, separates birds into different weight classes and provides an "apples-to-apples" comparison. "It shows that, without a doubt, vaccinated birds did as well as or better than birds receiving in-feed anticoccidials," she says.

In the study, birds vaccinated with Coccivac-B were compared to birds of similar weight at different complexes that were on a traditional anticoccidial program. Both groups were compared weekly during the same time, from week 29 (July 18) to week 48 (December 5).

Figure 1. 42-day mortality
(complexes 5.2 "� 6.0 lbs).
Figure 2. Live bird weight
(complexes 5.2 "� 6.0 lbs).
Figure 3. 42-day mortality
(complexes >6.0 lbs).
Figure 4. Days to 5.0 lbs
(complexes >6.0 lbs).
Figure 5. Days to 5.0 lbs
(before & after transition to Coccivac-B).

All together, there were 27 complexes - 9 vaccinated, and 18 using a traditional anticoccidial. Processingweight ranged from 5.2 to 6.2 pounds.

Key results:

  • Mean bird weight of the vaccinated birds was 5.79 lbs, compared to 5.59 lbs for the anticoccidial group.
  • Vaccinated birds demonstrated better caloric conversion and better livability (Figure 1) in this weight class.
  • Vaccinated birds had faster weight gain, averaging 2 days faster to 5 lbs compared to the anticoccidial group (Figure 2).
  • The performance index also was better for vaccinated flocks, which had a 0.2 to 0.4 cent advantage compared to birds in the other group.
In the 36 complexes processing birds 6 lbs or more - 15 vaccinated and 21 using traditional anticoccidials - the results were also excellent for coccidiosis-vaccinated birds:
  • Mean bird weight was 7.23 lbs in vaccinated birds compared to 7.22 lbs in the anticoccidial group.
  • The performance index and feed conversion in vaccinated birds closely matched that of the anticoccidial group.
  • Vaccinated birds demonstrated an advantage in livability (Figure 3) and rate of gain (Figure 4) that translated into a slight performance index advantage.
"We expect long term performance with Coccivac-B to improve further with annual vaccination, since it renews sensitivity of the house coccidial population to anticoccidials," Newman says.

"Our actual overall 2004 performance numbers have improved compared to 2003, echoing the industry performance improvements," she says. "As the industry improves its performance year after year, Coccivac-B performance remains in step. Coccivac-B provides a highly competitive alternative to in-feed anticoccidials with the added advantage of enhancing Eimeria sensitivity to all control methods."

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