Development of improved preventive management strategies for endo- and ectoparasites and bacterial zoonoses of pigs and poultry
Organic and many “low input” production standards for monogastric animals require long out-door rearing phases. As a result animals are exposed to a wider range of potential endo- and ectoparasites infection sources and challenges (in particular faeces from small mammal vectors) than animals kept under conventional indoor conditions. It is therefore essential to develop improved management strategies for outdoor systems (e.g. improved rodent control). Some candidate strategies are now reviewed.
For pigs, management practices which maintain good vegetation cover in the outdoor rearing area may reduce infection risk, since the survival of eggs of the pig parasites Ascaris suum and Trichuris suis have been shown to be better in bare soil compared to short swards. However, it is not known whether this also applies to the main parasites affecting poultry (e.g. Ascaridia galli and Heterakis gallinarum). Recent pilot studies (DIAS, unpublished) in conventional indoor pig production systems also demonstrate that carbohydrate sources with high contents of so-called FOS (fructooligosaccharide) significantly reduce female worm fecundity and worm numbers of both Oesophagostomum and Trichuris in pigs without affecting pig growth or production costs. However, these results have not been confirmed in systematic animal feed studies in “low input” or organic production systems.
For chickens, improved disinfection protocols of outdoor housing , and technologies which keep the bedding systems dry, are also thought to minimise challenge, since the infection risk from wet poultry litter has been shown to be significantly higher than that of dry litter. However, there is insufficient information on the effect of introducing such management measures into organic and “low input” production systems.
To address the technology requirements and deficiencies in knowledge described above we will carry out the following studies (sub-workpackages):
WP 4.1.1 Effect of alternative out-door and in-door management strategies for the prevention of helminth infections in poultry and pigs.
WP 4.1.2 Effect of cleaning/disinfection protocols for prevention of chicken mite infestations in poultry and of helminth infections in pigs.
WP 4.1.3 Effect of improved rodent control strategies on zoonotic infections in pigs and poultry
WP 4.1.4 Effect of fructo-oligosaccharide and other feed additives on the parasite infection frequency and severity in pigs.
Environmental and sustainability audits and cost/benefit analyses on novel strategies developed under WP4.1.1 will be carried out as part of Horizontal activity 1 &2. The studies under WP4.1 will provide important data/deliverables for SPs 5 & 6 (see graphic presentation).