Sign up now!
Don't show this again

Thank you for confirming your subscription!

(And remember, if ever you want to change your email preferences or unsubscribe, just click on the links at the bottom of any email.)

We’re glad you’re enjoying Poultry Health Today.
Access is free but you’ll need to register to view more content.
Already registered? Sign In
Tap to download the app


Collect articles and features into your own report to read later, print or share with others

Create a New Report


Read Later

Create a new report

Report title (required) Brief description (optional)
follow us

You must be logged in to edit your profile.

Favorites Read Later My Reports PHT Special Reports
Poultry Health Today is equipped with some amazing (and free) tools for organizing and sharing content, as well as creating your own magazines and special reports. To access them, please register today.
Sponsored by Zoetis

Sponsored By Zoetis

Featured Video Play Icon

Hatchery tips for successful transition to NAE production

website builder Preventing birds from getting sick is perhaps the biggest challenge encountered when transitioning from conventional to “no antibiotics ever” (NAE) production, Tony Newsome, division manager, Fieldale Farms, told Poultry Health Today.

Fieldale Farms was one of the first poultry companies to transition to NAE production. It’s been a long process, Newsome said, but the company has figured out how to raise healthy NAE flocks.

“We basically started from the ground up,” first with pullets and breeders, he said.

When no antibiotics are used, essentials such as biosecurity and bacterial loads play a far greater role. Eggs going into the hatchery have to be clean, the hatchery has to be kept clean and chicks sent to the grower house have to be clean, Newsome emphasized.

“I don’t think there’s any great secret to how to run a hatchery and what needs to be done. I think the problem is all of us get caught up in lack of help, or whatever the case may be, and we let things go that we really know need to be done every day. So to run antibiotic-free, you can’t let them go…” he said.

In ovo vaccination without gentamicin, for instance, requires that hatchery surfaces are as clean as possible. Swabbing to check for bacteria is done frequently. “I think as long as [everything is] clean and everything is done by the book, you can get by without gentamicin. We’ve done it now probably 15 years with really good success,” he said.

Optimal immunity

Newsome said optimal immunity is likewise important when raising NAE flocks, and that includes maintaining vaccination against Marek’s disease. Companies that quit vaccinating may suddenly wake up one day to find they’re “in the worst trouble you’ve ever been in” due to condemnations. It can take 6 to 8 weeks to remedy the situation.

“I don’t want to be without vaccinating for Marek’s for any length of time. We grow a premium product, and we don’t want to take a chance with something like that interfering with the flow,” he said.

The vaccination plan in general will vary depending on the location, “but we try our best to vaccinate for everything that we can to try to keep from compromising the immune system,” Newsome continued. For infectious bronchitis, Newsome added that Fieldale uses a multitude of segregated vaccines instead of a combined vaccine, and the condemnation rates are about as good as anybody’s in the industry.

Another important step to take with NAE flocks includes attention to litter. “The big one that we fight every day is trying to keep houses as dry as we can, because that moisture obviously just aids the bacterial load that much more,” he said, and noted that Fieldale uses a lot of litter amendments.

Ensuring food safety, particularly containment of Salmonella, also requires sanitation such as good rodent control in breeder and broiler houses. The nutritionist is always looking for ways to keep the level of Salmonella down in the feed supply, Newsome said. He added that Fieldale pelletizes everything including the breeders’ feed to help knock down Salmonella levels in the hen flocks before they produce.


Share It
Fieldale Farms was one of the first poultry companies to transition to NAE production. It’s been a long process, but the company has figured out how to raise healthy NAE flocks.

Click an icon to share this information with your industry contacts.

Posted on July 27, 2020

tags: , ,

You must be logged in to edit your profile.

website builder

Share It
Reducing the prevalence of foodborne Salmonella is essential if poultry companies are to improve food safety and pass muster with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service performance standards.

Click an icon to share this information with your industry contacts.
Google Translate is provided on this website as a reference tool. However, Poultry Health Today and its sponsor and affiliates do not guarantee in any way the accuracy of the translated content and are not responsible for any event resulting from the use of the translation provided by Google. By choosing a language other than English from the Google Translate menu, the user agrees to withhold all liability and/or damage that may occur to the user by depending on or using the translation by Google.