First week mortality in a broiler flock can be economically devastating, resulting in loss of production and condemnation of broilers at slaughter.  The principal cause of first week mortality is bacteria-related yolk sac infections.  Historically, antibiotics were given at either day-18 of incubation by the in-ovo­ route or at the day of hatch at commercial broiler hatcheries.  With emerging antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria and persistence from consumers, the poultry industry voluntarily withdrew the prophylactic use of category one antibiotics.  For commercial hatcheries and poultry producers, an alternative to antibiotics is still needed as the incidence of yolk sac infections and first week mortality is still great.

Our Research

Thus, in previous studies, we have found that cytosine phosphodiester guanine oligodeoxynucleotide (CpG-ODN) is able to prevent mortality after challenge with a lethal dose of Escherichia coli up to 6 days post-CpG-ODN administration.  Administration of CpG-ODN by the in-ovo route at day-18 of incubation would be the most favorable for large scale settings.  However, since CpG-ODN is protective for 6 days’ post-administration, 3 days of protection would be lost during the hatching period and thus only the latter 3 days of protection would be for the newly hatched chick to use in its first week of life.  In order to reap the full protective benefits of CpG-ODN, a method of delivery is needed at the day of hatch.  Therefore, we have delivered CpG-ODN by the intrapulmonary (IPL) route and investigate the mechanisms of action.

Our Story