Can good broiler flock welfare prevent colonization by Campylobacter?
Rawson T., Colles FM., Smith AL., Dawkins MS., Bonsall MB.
Using data on rearing and welfare metrics of multiple commercial broiler flocks, we investigate how welfare measures such as hock burn, mortality, and pododermatitis, among others, impact the likelihood of a flock becoming colonized by Campylobacter. Using both logistic regression and Bayesian networks, we show that, while some welfare metrics were weakly related to Campylobacter colonization, evidence could not be found to suggest that these metrics directly exacerbated Campylobacter colonization, rather that they were both symptoms of the same parent variable - the managing company. Observed dependency on the management of the flock suggested that yet-undiscovered differences in rearing practice were the principal factor explaining both poor bird welfare and increased risk of Campylobacter, suggesting that action can be taken to improve both these factors simultaneously.