Frequency of Salmonella detection in a broiler flock depending on different litter materials - a field study
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During the fattening period of a broiler flock four different litter materials (peat, chopped straw, shavings, silage) were tested simultaneously. The separated sections were tested for the presence of Salmonella bacteria using the sock-sampling method as described in the regulation EC No. 646/2007 with slight modifications in the sampling technique and the laboratory protocol. In addition, some chemical and physical parameters regarding litter quality and house climate were analysed. Samples were taken at day 0 (housing of animals), day 14, and day 30. At the end of the fattening period Salmonella Paratyphi B (d-tartrate +), representing a common strain in German broiler flocks, were isolated from culture. According to the various types of bedding materials some differences in the frequency of Salmonella detection were found. With three samples out of six samples being positive, wood shavings showed the highest Salmonella prevalence, followed by peat with two positive results. Corn silage was found to be a suitable alternative for common litter materials and revealed only one positive sample. Chopped straw was found to be free of Salmonella in our study. However, the latter had a higher risk for negative side effects concerning animal health and house climate. The study showed that the choice of an appropriate litter material might be of considerable importance in order to decrease the Salmonella burden within poultry flocks.