Tim Johnson, PhD
Department of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences, University of Minnesota
Mid-Central Research & Outreach Center, Willmar, MN
Until recently, gut health and development in poultry has been routinely managed through the use of low-dose levels of antibiotics in feed to prevent diseases, improve overall flock consistency, and enhance performance. However, worldwide efforts are underway to reduce and/or eliminate antibiotic use in animal agriculture. The elimination of this valuable management tool for use by farmers will leave a critical void that needs to be filled. We must understand the mechanisms by which bacterial succession occurs in the avian gastrointestinal tract in coordination with the host if we wish to identify antibiotic-free ways to modulate the microbiome to prevent disease and improve bird performance. This presentation discusses work focused on understanding the succession of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract of poultry. Defining this baseline is critical towards assessing the impact of products on the microbiome.