Who is involved in a successful antibiotic-free (ABF) poultry production program? Everyone involved with live production in the poultry complex, according to Dr. John Carey, Texas A&M University.

Speaking in the webinar, “Antibiotic-free poultry production requires teamwork,” Carey said successful ABF poultry production starts in the hatchery and on the farm before chicks or poults reach the brooding chamber, includes every phase of live production from the feed mill to the breeder operation, and involves growers, nutritionists and veterinarians.

Carey discussed seven keys to successful antibiotic-free poultry production in the webinar, which was presented by WATT Global Media and sponsored by Jones-Hamilton Company.

Making antibiotic-free poultry production work

“Everyone must be involved in making antibiotic-free poultry production work,” Carey said. “Every element of a live-bird division is impacted and involved in an ABF program.”

Not only is everyone’s involvement required, but significant change is also necessary to make ABF poultry production work.

“Everyone’s job is more complex in ABF poultry production,” he continued, “especially those at the front lines with direct bird contact. It is no longer business as usual – this is a big change.”

Challenges of ABF poultry production

Carey named several challenges involved with ABF poultry production – the chief one being to keep the focus of the entire live-production operation on the birds and their needs.


What’s more, there is no single program that will result in successful ABF production in all poultry operations, he added. Every poultry producer must tailor the ABF program to the individual needs of each poultry operation.

“There is much to be learned and unlearned for successful ABF poultry production, and there is a steep learning curve involved,” he said. “Poultry producers must stay abreast of developments and new technologies.”

Carey warned that the difficulty of growing ABF poultry means that the bottom-performing growers will face tough challenges.

Understanding the ABF poultry paradigm

“One key element of an ABF program is that everyone understands that it is the paradigm for how broilers or turkeys are produced. This requires more than simply saying it will happen. There needs to be an understanding of how all of us play a role. There needs to be a commitment of resources [physical, financial and time] to support the changes necessary to make ABF poultry production successful,” he said.