VIDEO: How to combat necrotic enteritis in broilers, layers

Learn how Dr. Brooke Jasek, QTI technical sales manager, suggests poultry producers take on the challenges of necrotic enteritis.

QTI’s Dr. Brooke Jasek offers her take on the ways broiler, layer producers can manage necrotic enteritis in their flocks.

Necrotic enteritis is the No. 1 disease challenge facing broiler and layer producers worldwide. In post-antibiotic growth promoter (AGP) production, nutritionists need to find new tools to ensure health and production, while warding off the disease.

To discuss management and feeding strategies to combat the disease, Quality Technology International‘s technical sales manager Dr. Brooke Jasek joins the Chat.

How to combat necrotic enteritis in broiler, layer production from WATT Global Media on Vimeo.

Transcription of Feed Strategy Chat with Dr. Brooke Jasek, technical sales manager, Quality Technology International

Jackie Roembke, editor in chief, WATT Feed Brands/Feed Strategy: Hi, everyone. Welcome to Feed Strategy Chat. I’m your host, Jackie Roembke, editor in chief of WATT Feed Brands and Feed Strategy magazine.

This edition of Feed Strategy Chat is brought to you by WATT Global Media and is your source for the latest news and leading-edge analysis of the global animal feed industry.

Today we’re joined on Zoom by Brooke Jasek, technical sales manager at Quality Technology International. She’s here to discuss strategies for combating necrotic enteritis in broiler and layer production.

Hi, Brooke, how are you today?

Brooke Jasek, technical sales manager, Quality Technology International: I’m doing great. How are you, Jackie?

Roembke: I’m doing great. Thank you so much. And thank you, again for taking the time to speak with me. So let’s get right into it. Can you describe to me the impact that necrotic enteritis has on broiler production, and how perhaps reduced antibiotic usage has compounded the problem?

Jasek: Yeah, that’s a great question, Jackie. You know, we know that necrotic enteritis was first discovered in the 1960s and was determined to be caused by Clostridium perfringens. And by the early 2000s, they noticed that necrotic enteritis was costing the poultry industry a significant economic loss. And so they projected, and they ran some numbers, and they predicted that necrotic enteritis was costing about $2 billion annually. Now, keep in mind, this is with a bird cost of about five cents, and only took into consideration birds experiencing those clinical signs. So, high mortality.

So in 2015, they re-evaluated because we now know that birds experiencing the subclinical signs can be just as damaging to performance and production. And they projected that the necrotic enteritis was impacting about — or causing economic losses for about $5-$6 billion US dollars annually.

Now, of course, there’s other parameters that can be taken into consideration on what’s causing this rise in economic loss. But I think we’d be remiss to not mention the reduction in antibiotic usage or the complete removal of antibiotics. There’s been a couple of studies shown that as the antibiotics have been removed or reduced, we are seeing higher incidences of necrotic enteritis. Now, the good news is that there is an increase in the research that’s being done in this area for alternatives to antibiotics.

I believe in an article there was reported that in the last 15 years, there’s been a tenfold increase in publication at a steady rate of more than 15% per year. So I hope and believe that in the coming years, we really start to see these economic losses attributed to necrotic enteritis start to reduce or decline.

Roembke: Thank you so much for that overview. I really appreciate it. And so with everything laid out, what can producers do to combat necrotic enteritis in their flocks?

Jasek: I think that there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to necrotic enteritis and producers. You have to consider that depending on your operation, where you are, geographically, if we’re talking on a global sense, even the laws of your country can really impact those strategies to help combat necrotic enteritis. I do think that there is one that we can all implement, which is a strong surveillance program, and just being able to keep good records and establishing some known factors of your operation can help you spot those subclinical signs when they come up, such as a spike in mortality or a slight reduction in performance or maybe even increase litter moisture. Those things you if you can spot early enough or know that your break or bloom is about to happen, you can implement some management strategies, such as acidification of water or treating the litter.

I think another key factor here to consider is that necrotic enteritis is not always the primary disease or enteric challenge present. Oftentimes you see it where coccidiosis is the primary and necrotic enteritis is the secondary. So in those cases, say. for instance, in a layer operation or a conventional layer operation, you see that coccidiosis is the primary enteric challenge with the necrotic being the second. So you would go to treat the cocci with say a chemical coccidiostat or vaccine, and in turn, help your necrotic enteritis.

To summarize that brief answer, every strategy is unique — and I think it definitely depends on your operation — but a strong surveillance program and having a good understanding that necrotic enteritis could be a secondary reaction to a bigger problem.

Roembke: Right. And then on the feeding side of things, what tools can nutritionists use to mitigate NE’s effects on broilers and layers?

Jasek: Yeah, you know, I think the answer to that is growing every year. There’s certainly a handful of strategies and tools that can be utilized to combat necrotic enteritis. Now I will say, I’m going to be focusing more on that additive side when I answer this. Of course, your core nutrition such as energy, you know, acid and minerals can also play a very key role in helping combat necrotic. But for the additive side, you know, you do have things such as probiotics, which have the ability to competitively exclude the pathogenic bacteria, such as Clostridium perfringens, which research has shown can be a useful tool in helping reduce the severity of necrotic in broilers and in cage-free layers.

Now, another additive that is often associated with probiotics is prebiotics. And prebiotics are feeding that indigestible feed ingredient to the bacteria within the GI tract. And they help reduce the gut pH and bind the pathogenic bacteria, such as Clostridium. And so you can really see they help reduce the opportunity for colonization.

And then I would say another research area that has grown in the past few years, and I think is going to continue to grow, is the usage of phytogenics. We see those as having the ability to produce antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and these can include thymol, carvacrol, cinnamic aldehyde — and that’s just to name a few. There are several out there, so I don’t want to leave anything off. But those are the top three that we often see used in the necrotic side, but you know, these are targeting the pathogenic bacteria. And you’ll hear that a lot with these additives, it’s to somehow disrupt the cell membrane or the cell wall of Clostridia and improve the growth of beneficial bacteria.

So these are just a few options or tools out there I think that could really help reduce necrotic. You know, again, I think that these areas are going to continue to grow and I think we’re going to see some really good advancements in the coming years.

Roembke: Thank you so much for your insights. And if you will be at IPPE 2022, consider joining us at the Feed Strategy Conference, held on January 25. Brooke will be presenting her talk there, “Nutritional solutions for combating necrotic enteritis in broiler and layer production.”

For more information on that, please Thank you so much Brooke, and thanks to you for tuning in.