College of Veterinary Medicine Publications and Scholarship


Contamination of litter in a broiler grow-out house with Salmonella prior to placement of a new flock has been shown to be a precursor of the flock's Salmonella contamination further down the production continuum. In the southern USA, broiler grow-out houses are primarily built on dirt pad foundations that are placed directly on top of the native soil surface. Broiler litter is placed directly on the dirt pad. Multiple grow-out flocks are reared on a single litter batch, and the litter is kept in the houses during downtime between flocks. The effects of environmental determinants on conditions in broiler litter, hence Salmonella ecology within it, has received limited attention. In a field study that included broiler farms in the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Texas we assessed Salmonella in broiler litter at the end of downtime between flocks, i.e. at the time of placement of a new flock for rearing. Here we utilized these results and the U.S. General Soil Map (STATSGO) data to test if properties of soil at farm location impacted the probability of Salmonella detection in the litter. The significance of soil properties as risk factors was tested in multilevel regression models after accounting for possible confounding differences among the farms, the participating broiler complexes and companies, and the farms' geographical positioning. Significant associations were observed between infiltration and drainage capabilities of soil at farm location and probability of Salmonella detection in the litter.


Public Library of Science



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College of Veterinary Medicine


Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine


Animals, Chickens, Chickens: microbiology, Salmonella, Salmonella: isolation & purification, Soil Microbiology