VIR-check

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Who doesn’t want a good start for their broiler flocks? It all begins with healthy chicks in a clean house. Pathogenic micro-organisms are a continuous threat for broilers health as they can cause illness, immunosuppression and poor performance. GD developed a test to check if broiler houses have a low viral load at the start of a new cycle. The number of cleaning and disinfection protocols is endless, the same for the used chemicals. A check of the efficacy is often missing, mainly because tools are lacking. Visual inspection doesn’t give information on the success of the disinfection. Bacterial sampling and ATP-testing provides more information about the disinfection result regarding bacteria, but representativeness is questionable as only very small parts of the broiler house are sampled.

Field study shows: low VIR check score = better growth

Together with ForFarmers De Hoop and veterinarians, GD conducted a field study into the relationship between the VIR check and chick growth. A review of the data revealed a significant relationship between four groups within the VIR check and daily growth rates: chicks with lower scores grow faster. This resulted in a new VIR check score with four categories to give veterinarians and feed consultants further tools for a more focused approach to farm hygiene and disinfection.

The updated score now consists of the categories green, yellow, orange and red. Besides the fact that any poultry farmer would want to have fewer pathogens in their broiler houses, farmers also enjoy greater chick growth by putting effort into improving their farm's scores. If a farm improves from category red to category green, this will result in more than 100 grams of extra growth per chick in 6 weeks!

VIR check finds all viruses, even the ones hiding

With the VIR-check you are able to test the prevalence and viral load of five contagious and resistant intestinal viruses: rotavirus A and D, chicken astrovirus, avian nephritis virus 3 and reovirus. Broilers around the age of six to seven days with a high viral load in their intestines have likely been subjected to viruses at a very young age. A field study in Dutch poultry showed that approximately 100 percent of the flocks tested positive on these viruses at the end of the cycle, except for rotavirus D: only 50 percent of the flocks were positive.

Easy sampling and clear results

To participate in the VIR-check you can take ten cloacal swabs at age 6-7 days. The swabs can be pushed on one spot of an FTA-card. The VIR-check provides a good indication of the viral load in the house at the arrival of the chicks. The results are transformed by a formula into the so called VIR-check score. You will receive the results in a clear report with a brief explanation, the test results and a visual representation of the score. The costs of the VIR check are 89 euros excluding VAT.

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Get to work

Are you interested in the VIR-check? Please contact Royal GD for more information.

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