Diets High in n-3 Fatty Acids Reduce Cecal Lesion Scores in Chickens Infected with Eimeria Tenella

Source: Patricia C. Allen, Harry D. Danforth, and Orville A Levander

Four experiments were run in which diets incorporating various levels of n-3 fatty acids (n3FA) from fish (menhaden) oil or flax seed were tested for their abilities to reduce the severity of Eimeria tenella infections in young broiler chicks. The diets were fed from 1 d of age through 3 wk of age. Chickens were infected at 2 wk of age. Diets consisting of broiler starter ration supplemented with 2.5 to 10% fish oil, 10% flax seed oil, or 10% linseed oil significantly decreased cecal lesions and maintained weight gains as compared to unsupplemented diets. Light micrographs of ceca from chickens that consumed high n-3FA diets showed reduced parasite invasion and development. Short-term feeding of diets high in n-3FA to young chicks may be a practical method for reducing production losses from cecal coccidiosis.