Early feeding and early life housing conditions influence the response towards a noninfectious lung challenge in broilers

K. Simon, G. de Vries Reilingh, J.E. Bolhuis, B. Kemp, A. Lammers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Early life conditions such as feed and water availability immediately post hatch (p.h.) and housing conditions may influence immune development and therefore immune reactivity later in life. The current study addressed the consequences of a combination of these 2 early life conditions for immune reactivity, i.e., the specific antibody response towards a non-infectious lung challenge. Broiler chicks received feed and water either immediately p.h. or with a 72 h delay and were either reared in a floor or a cage system. At 4 weeks of age, chicks received either an intra-tracheally administered Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS)/Human Serum Albumin (HuSA) challenge or a placebo, and antibody titers were measured up to day 14 after administration of the challenge. Chicks housed on the floor and which had a delayed access to feed p.h. showed the highest antibody titers against HuSA. These chicks also showed the strongest sickness response and poorest performance in response to the challenge, indicating that chicks with delayed access to feed might be more sensitive to an environment with higher antigenic pressure. In conclusion, results from the present study show that early life feeding strategy and housing conditions influence a chick's response to an immune challenge later in life. These 2 early life factors should therefore be taken into account when striving for a balance between disease resistance and performance in poultry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2041-2048
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • intestinal immune-responses
  • symbiotic bacteria
  • delayed access
  • laying hens
  • germ-free
  • system
  • colonization
  • performance
  • maturation
  • microbiota

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Early feeding and early life housing conditions influence the response towards a noninfectious lung challenge in broilers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this