Coccidiosis in chickens - a matter of concern in the future?

Katharina Mayrhuber

2 minutes | 12. October 2018
Degree of technical knowledge

Is the control of coccidiosis in chickens the key to intestinal health?

Everyone has heard the sentence: “Maintaining intestinal health in chickens is a top priority for producers”, you probably have too. This concept is widely recognized as one of the most fundamental in poultry production. As such, controlling coccidiosis is essential to promote intestinal health in poultry.


However, with the vast selection of products that claim to boost performance by improving intestinal health, how can the producer decide:

“How do I know which product will work the best?”
“Why does one product perform differently than the others?”
“What does the product do?”

Phytogenic feed and their effect on birds’ resilience to coccidiosis infections

In a recent in-vivo trial, birds were fed a blend of phytogenic actives to verify its effects on primary and secondary consequences of a coccidiosis infection. A blend of selected saponins in concert with specific essential oils produced significant results:
Birds were infected with Eimeria and Clostridium perfringens and fed diets with and without this phytogenic blend. The results on production performance are similar to to the birds that were not infected with Clostridium perfringens or treated with BMD (50g/t), with a numerically lower FCR (1.754) than their counterparts (FCR = 1.789). Moreover, the results reveal a significant reduction in oocysts excretion.

In conclusion, the results of this study indicate an improved resilience of birds against primary and secondary effects of a coccidiosis infection by this phytogenic blend. Thus, the bird is likely to maintain production performance under challenge conditions.

Natural bioactive compounds stimulating the intestinal tract

Many phytogenic compounds are produced by plants as a defense mechanism against parasites and disease. These protective factors can be utilized in poultry production. Direct benefits such as the powerful anti-protozoal effects of saponins and the microbial Quorum Sensing Inhibition of specific essential oils positively impact the pathogenicity of the microbiota in the gastrointestinal tract.

Indirect benefits of phytogenic feed additives also have a pronounced effect on poultry performance. Some of these benefits are associated with the physical integrity of the intestinal tract and the local immunocompetence and anti-oxidant status.

Take home message

To promote intestinal health in poultry, it is essential to control coccidiosis

• A blend of selected saponins in concert with specific essential oils offers significant reduction in oocysts excretion

References available upon request