January 19, 2023

Stop counting things, focus on the things that count

Veterinarians have one of the most specialized skills in a poultry enterprise. And yet, they spend nearly 90% of their time traveling between production sites and generating the data they need to make decisions. It’s time to let technology reduce both wasteful activities.

We’re nearly a quarter of the way through the 21st century and the power of microfluidics, advanced computing power and digital imaging have finally come together to create a technology that recognizes oocysts, segregate them by size, and quantifies them into the metric of oocysts per gram (OPG). The laboratory process takes less than an hour and this capability has already been commercialized by Ancera. The publication is linked here.

Because this procedure uses freshly voided chicken droppings, it is non-invasive and characterizes OPG patterns within individual flocks and across the broiler complex. Training personnel to collect, package, and label sample is very simple, and no advanced training is required of the sample collector.

Let’s not leave the veterinarian out of the equation, entirely. Because there are many permutations of coccidia control programs, the vet needs to weigh in on timing of sample collection and must be involved in interpreting the results. The vet’s productivity will increase by “outsourcing” the repetitive tasks of visiting farms, collecting and processing samples — and by presenting the OPG data in a manner that is easy to review, interpret and communicate. Perhaps more importantly, this new objective measurement of the coccidia status allows the veterinarian to make decisions about modifying or changing the control program sooner and with greater confidence.

If you want your vet focused on the decisions and not traveling for a living, talk to Ancera about tapping into this technology.

James Barton is a board certified poultry veterinarian who works at Ancera as the Director of Technical Marketing. He has practiced for over 30 years in Turkey and Broiler production, technical support for probiotics, and poultry welfare.


Smith MK, Buhr DL, Dhlakama TA, Dupraw D, Fitz-Coy S, Francisco A, Ganesan A, Hubbard SA, Nederlof A, Newman LJ, Stoner MR, Teichmann J, Voyta JC, Wooster R, Zeygerman A, Zwilling MF, Kiss MM. Automated enumeration of Eimeria oocysts in feces for rapid coccidiosis monitoring.

Poult Sci. 2023 Jan;102(1):102252. doi: 10.1016/j.psj.2022.102252. Epub 2022 Oct 17. Erratum in: Poult Sci. 2023 Jan 7;:102446. PMID: 36463777; PMCID: PMC9719016. Corrigendum: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psj.2022.102446