Clostridium perfringens has been shown to be widespread in the broiler chicken hatchery, grow-out, and processing operations. In a previous study, ribotypes of certain strains of C. perfringens isolated from processed chicken carcasses were shown to match ribotypes isolated from paper pad lining trays used to transport commercial chicks from the hatchery to the grow-out facility on the farm. These results suggest that C. perfringens contaminating the processed product could originate from facilities in the integrated poultry operation prior to grow out. In this study, samples were collected from the breeder farm, hatchery, previous grow-out flock, during grow out and after processing. In the first trial, C. perfringens was recovered from the breeder farms, the hatchery, previous grow-out flock, grow-out flock at 3 weeks of age, grow-out flock at 5 weeks of age, from processed carcasses, and from the breeder farm after processing in 4%, 30%, 4%, 0%, 2% and 16%, and 4% of the samples, respectively. In the second trial, the incidence of C. perfringens in samples collected from breeder farms, the hatchery, previous grow-out flock, grow-out flock at 3 weeks of age, grow-out flock at 5 weeks of age, and from processed carcasses was 38%, 30%, 32%, 8%, 4%, and 8%, respectively. The genetic relatedness of the isolated strains as determined by ribotyping suggests that C. perfringens may be transmitted between facilities within the integrated broiler chicken operation.
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Vol. 47 • No. 3