Farm and management variables linked to fecal shedding of Campylobacter and Salmonella in commercial squab production

J. S. Jeffrey, Edward R Atwill, A. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A cross-sectional study was performed to determine the relationship of farm variables and management practices to fecal shedding of Campylobacter or Salmonella on commercial squab (young pigeon) farms. A detailed survey provided information on biosecurity, cleaning and disinfection, bird health, vector control, and loft and pen. Twenty pigeons on each of 12 farms were cultured before and after the producers completed a voluntary quality assurance training program (QAP), based on principles of hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP). The prevalence of positive samples for Salmonella and C. jejuni was 1/480 (0.21%) and 19/480 (3.96%), respectively. Campylobacter was present on one farm during both visits; three farms during the first visit, and three farms during the second visit. Analysis by fixed-effects logistic regression showed the probability of having a positive C. jejuni culture was increased by not using dry manure in the nesting material, not cleaning shipping crates, cleaning landing boards, and by increased frequency of chemical disinfection of water. Having a positive parent and higher numbers of squab per pen (density) were also associated with higher odds of being positive for C. jejuni. Factors not associated with a positive C. jejuni culture included, other avian species on the farm, type of shipping crate, covered drinkers, fly problems, bird age, level of nest box within the loft, and QAP training. Prevalence of food safety pathogens was extremely low on the squab facilities tested as compared with reports from commercial broiler or turkey flocks. This observation suggests that one or more farm variables or management practices were effectively reducing infection, or possibly a species-related difference existed in carriage rates and shedding of pathogens. These results emphasize critical control points for food safety pathogens may vary widely, and the formulation of effective QAP programs are dependent on science-based knowledge of diverse animal production systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-70
Number of pages5
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2001


  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • Food safety
  • Pigeon
  • Salmonella
  • Squab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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