Vaccination: Rising To The Top

A national report shows that of 10 poultry complexes with the best results for "days to 5 pounds" in 2006, the top three were using Coccivac-B vaccine instead of a traditional in-feed anticoccidial for coccidiosis control.

The complex with the best result for calorie conversion was also using the vaccine instead of anticoccidials for two of four time periods in 2006, according to the survey (Table 1). Overall, at least four complexes

among the top 10 industry performers for days to 5 pounds (2.27 kg) were using Coccivac-B at some time in 2006; between one and three of the top 10 performers for calorie conversion were using Coccivac-B.

In striking contrast, the same report in 2003 showed that none of the complexes using Coccivac-B were among the top 10 for days to 5 pounds (Table 2).

The report was prepared by Agri Stats, Inc., a statistical research and analysis firm that receives data monthly from 160 poultry complexes owned by various poultry companies. Agri Stats annually compiles the figures and provides comparisons.

Agri Stats also found that for several months in 2006, many of the complexes using Coccivac-B were also in the top 10 for adjusted feed ingredient expense - the feed cost/pound of live weight, which quantifies feed conversion ratios by dollars and cents.

Table 1. In 2006, the top three poultry complexes with the best results were using Coccivac-B for control of coccidiosis.

Source: Agri Stats, Inc.

Analysis of specific results averaged out for all complexes and for birds by weight categories (Table 3) underscores the positive results - broilers vaccinated with Coccivac-B against coccidiosis had better adjusted calorie conversion and fewer days to 5 pounds compared to those on in-feed anticoccidials. Average mortality was similar except for the over 6-pound (2.72-kg) category, where it was considerably lower among Coccivac-B vaccinated birds.

Table 2. In 2003, none of the top 10 poultry complexes with the best results were using Coccivac-B for control of coccidiosis.

Source: Agri Stats, Inc.

Enhances profits

"Good results for days to 5 pounds is important because this parameter reflects daily weight gain," says Dr. Marcelo Lang, a veterinarian and poultry marketing director for Schering- Plough Animal Health. Fewer days to 5 pounds improves the utilization of poultry houses and helps growers reap better profits, which enhances grower relations, he says.

"It's an overall sign of good health and an indication that the birds are

Table 3. Comparison of 2006 results for all complexes and by weight categories.

Source: Agri Stats, Inc.

*Feed meds $/ton is a difficult comparison to make since feed costs are determined by ton and the cost of Coccivac-B is based on the number of birds. A fairer comparison would factor in the increased cost of chick vaccination for the same complexes, but data is not now available.

growing to their full potential," Lang adds.

Why are so many complexes using Coccivac-B now in the top 10 but were not just a few years ago? "We can only guess," says Lang. "From these data, we cannot say that Coccivac-B is responsible for the good results at top-performing complexes, but we can surmise that Coccivac-B is contributing to their success.

"It could be management changes or that problems with traditional infeed anticoccidials, such as resistance, have intensified. It could also reflect the improved advice we give to customers about how to get the best results with the vaccine, or the fact that several companies that used Coccivac- B in 2006 were repeat users, and we've seen many times that performance with Coccivac-B tends to improve with repeat usage," he says.

The new data should help dispel the notion that using Coccivac-B for coccidiosis control slows broiler growth. "Based on our experience in the field and this recent Agri Stats report, it is apparent that complexes using Coccivac-B coupled with good management can achieve weight gain and calorie conversion ratios that are among the best in the entire industry," Lang says.

Source: Cocciforum, isuue 13
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