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Ascarid eggs disappear faster from gravel and wood chips than from soil


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Maurer, Veronika; Perler, Erika; Amsler-Kepalaite, Zivile and Bieber, Anna (2020) Ascarid eggs disappear faster from gravel and wood chips than from soil. British Poultry Science, online, pp. 1-7.

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Online at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00071668.2020.1812525


1. Ascarids (Ascaridia galli and Heterakis spp.) are highly prevalent in free-range laying hens. Ascarid eggs survive for long periods in soil, and one preventive measure is to add litter material to areas close to the henhouse. In this study, recovery rates of ascarid eggs from three common litter materials, namely pea gravel, beech (Fagus sylvatica) and spruce (Picea abies) wood chips were compared to recovery rates from soil.
2. Materials were mixed with faeces containing 1,408 ascarid eggs per g of faeces, placed in plastic fruit boxes and exposed to natural weather conditions in a randomised block design with six replicates per treatment.
3. Numbers of ascarid eggs were quantified at 28 time points over 3.5 years. Ascarid eggs were recovered for over three years from all materials and completely disappeared during the fourth winter of exposure. Time needed to get to a 50% reduction in ascarid eggs did not differ between litter materials and soil (242 to 269 days). A 99% reduction was reached significantly (P < 0.001) earlier in pea gravel (548 days) than in the three other materials, and earlier in the two wood chips (day 682 for beech, day 692 for spruce, P < 0.05) than in soil (1,277 days).
4. Accumulation of ascarid eggs in the area close to the henhouse can be reduced by any of the tested litter materials compared to bare soil. Adding litter to this area is highly recommended for free-range layer farmers in order to reduce numbers of infective ascarid eggs.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Laying hens, free range, organic, parasitology, Ascaridia galli, hygiene
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Animal husbandry > Production systems > Poultry
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal Health
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Veterinary Parasitology
Deposited By: Maurer, Dr. Veronika
ID Code:38474
Deposited On:05 Oct 2020 11:21
Last Modified:05 Oct 2020 11:21
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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