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Nutritional Approach to the Use of Anticoccidial Vaccines in Broilers

27 August 2012, at 12:00am

Dietary glutamine supplementation was beneficial during the process of immunity acquisition, improving broiler performance significantly until 28 days and maintaining the body weight difference until 42 days of age, according to a new study by the University of Arkansas.

The utilisation of vaccines has proven to be a good strategy to prevent coccidiosis but the process of immunity acquisition needs to be approached from a nutritional point of view as well if complete success in broiler performance is to be achieved, according to F.J. Mussini and colleagues at the University of Arkansas in a recent paper in International Journal of Poultry Science.

They continue that it has been reported that the amino acid, glutamine, plays a key role both in the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system and its utilisation could be beneficial to coccidiosis-vaccinated broilers.

In this study, the Arkansas researchers used 1,200 day-old male chicks that had been vaccinated at a commercial hatchery with a coccidiosis vaccine and randomly allocated to four treatments, each of which had six replications with 50 birds per pen. Birds were maintained in pens with built up wood shavings litter.

Each treatment consisted of the same basal diet that met average nutrient levels in the US poultry industry with four different inclusion rates of glutamine (0, 0.5, 0.75 and 1 per cent). Birds were fed the experimental diets from 1 to 28 days of age and a common unsupplemented diet to 42 days.

Body weights were significantly improved at 21 and 28 days for all the treatments where the glutamine was included. Feed conversion was not significantly affected by the inclusion of glutamine. There were no significant differences in body weight and feed conversion at 42 days but the numerical difference in weight between the control and the treatments with glutamine observed earlier were maintained.

At 43 days, eight birds per pen were processed in a pilot processing plant. Breast meat yield was not significantly different among treatments.

Mussini and colleagues concluded that glutamine proved to be beneficial during the process of immunity acquisition, improving broiler performance significantly until 28 days and maintaining the body weight difference until the end of the experiment.


Mussini F.J., S.D. Goodgame, C. Lu, C.D. Bradley, S.M. Fiscus and P.W. Waldroup. 2012. A nutritional approach to the use of anticoccidial vaccines in broilers: glutamine utilization in critical stages of immunity acquisition. International Journal of Poultry Science, 11(4):243-246.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

You can find out more about coccidiosis by clicking here.

August 2012
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