Coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis are important gut pathogens in meat chickens. Together, those diseases cost the global poultry industry more than US$ 9 billion annually, which is exacerbated by the phasing-out of in-feed antimicrobials, including anticoccidials. Current methods to monitor both diseases are based on post-mortem evaluation, which is tedious and relies on the scoring of gut lesions, which can be subjective and cloud the evaluation of strategies to control them.
This project will establish practical population level tools to directly monitor changes in gut health and gut pathogens instead of relying on indirect measurements such as flock performance, or very expensive diagnostics based on individual chickens. It will allow a more rational and informed assessment of management interventions, and has the possibility to aid in the testing of new products to improve gut health under field conditions.