An egg yolk feed additive called Cosabody can help optimize a hen’s immune system during chick development, setting chicks up to be healthier after hatch. 

“The poultry industry has seen a steady increase in broiler breeder pullet mortality and a reduced average hatchability rate,” said Kimberly Livingston, Ph.D., Optum Immunity Chief Research Officer, at the 2022 Poultry Tech Summit. “This could be due the reduced use of antibiotics, as more producers are becoming antibiotic free. Ultimately, this has led to more infections in flocks.” 

However, for chicks to develop a good immune response early on, they need to be exposed to some inflammation, which led to the creation of the non-drug alternative Cosabody. 

Cosabody mimics the maternal transfer of immunity through the yolk and can neutralize anti-inflammatory compounds in the gut, allowing a chicks’ immune system the opportunity to protect itself against common intestinal infections. Therefore, the chick’s white blood cells have the chance to fight pathogens early on. 

“Cosabody reduces anti-inflammatory responses in the body, allowing for a normal, uninterrupted immune response by the chick, leading to better pathogen control. The result is that the chick is capable of naturally managing infections,” Livingston said. 

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Why egg yolks? 

Egg yolks contain a component that neutralizes excess IL-10, an anti-inflammatory molecule in the poultry gut, making them a potential solution to inflammatory homeostasis in the broiler gut.

Maintaining inflammatory homeostasis in the gut is essential for a bird’s health. When used as a feed additive, egg yolks allow the host’s immune system to have an inflammatory response against microbes, resulting in reduced mortality and improved performance. 

When creating Cosabody, the egg yolk is separated from the white, pasteurized, dried and incorporated it back into poultry feed. By manipulating some of the immunomodulatory aspects in the egg yolk, birds can utilize those benefits after eating the additive.

Attend the 2023 Poultry Tech Summit 

The Poultry Tech Summit is the only event of its kind that connects researchers and entrepreneurs with poultry sector technology experts, financiers, venture capitalists and producers looking for new projects and investments to fund. Since its 2018 inception, this unique conference has facilitated and fast-tracked many pioneering ideas into adoption for the benefit of the poultry supply chain. 

Details on the 2023 Poultry Tech Summit will be released in Spring 2023.