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July 18, 2016

A Closer Look At The Poultry We Help Care For

man holding chicken

Continuing our series about the animals we care for, this article focuses on our work with our poultry customers.

As the world population grows, the demands for quality protein – meat and eggs – is rising, especially in the emerging markets. By 2020, it is expected that poultry will become the global animal protein of choice.1

At Zoetis, we are committed to providing poultry producers and veterinarians with cost-effective solutions for managing disease, optimizing flock performance and driving sustainable profitability. We work closely with our customers to help them raise healthier birds, using our broad portfolio of vaccines, feed additives, biodevices, diagnostic tools and technical services expertise.

Protecting Flocks and Supporting Our Customers

Did you know there are two main categories for chickensbroilers and long-lived birds? Broilers are chickens raised for meat, while long-lived birds can be either breeders that lay fertile eggs for the hatchery or layers that produce eggs for human consumption. Protecting flocks from disease outbreaks and ensuring the birds in each category reach their genetic potential is key to commercial viability.

The poultry industry is more integrated across the world than other food-producing species with many common diseases affecting poultry globally. Some of these diseases include Marek’s Disease (Herpesvirus), Newcastle Disease (NDv), Infectious Bronchitis disease (IBv) and Infectious Bursal Disease (IBDv), also known as Gumboro after the town in Delaware, USA where it was first observed.

Disease management programs for poultry focus on prevention, and the use of biologics (vaccines) are now the largest and fastest growing therapeutic area in poultry health2. In recent years, there has been a major shift towards vaccinating poultry in the hatchery, either in ovo (in the egg) or by spraying young chicks to confer immunity as early as possible, increase reliability, reduce the potential for human error and minimize chick handling, which reduces bird stress.

Full Complement of Solutions

As poultry producers around the world build larger, more modern hatcheries to meet the increasing needs of the population, the demand for faster more efficient equipment has grown. At Zoetis, we understand the market needs and seek to drive innovative advances through R&D and strategic partnerships. Zoetis offers a broad range of solutions, including:

  • Poulvac®, our comprehensive line of vaccines to help combat many of the common diseases;

  • the Embrex Inovoject system®, our global market leader for in ovo vaccine delivery solutions and

  • hatchery automation equipment solutions, through our acquisition of KL Products in 2015.

Together, they help provide healthy, vaccinated chicks and improve operational efficiency.

To support bird health beyond the early days, in addition to vaccines and medicinal feed additives, including BMD®, Zoamix®, Deccox® and Avatec®, we offer a diagnostic portfolio that helps veterinarians and producers make better health management decisions and detect diseases quickly.

Avian Flu Vaccine

75 percent of all diseases are zoonotic, which means they can be passed between animals and humans. Many changing subtypes of influenza virus can affect multiple species – including pigs, poultry, horses and dogs – as well as people. “At Zoetis, our internal capabilities, including our expertise in traditional and rational vaccine development, alliances with Centers of Excellence and our flexible manufacturing capacity enable us to respond quickly to emerging infectious diseases,” said Dr. Mahesh Kumar, Vice President, Global Biological Research and Development at Zoetis.

Last year, the poultry industry in the Midwestern United States experienced one of the worst avian influenza epidemics with over 50 million bird deaths. Working with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on a rationally designed vaccine using our proprietary technology, we recently received a conditional license from the USDA for our vaccine that includes the most updated strain for use in helping to control H5N1 bird flu in the United States. Zoetis is now supplying vaccine to the USDA’s National Veterinary Stockpile, which would be used should the USDA and the industry decide a vaccination strategy is necessary.

Learn More

To learn more about combating infectious diseases, read a feature story by Dr. Mahesh Kumar.

To find out more about Embrex BioDevices, visit http://www.embrexbiodevices.com/


  1. Rabobank. Crossroads for Growth. The International Poultry Sector Towards 2020. Nan-Dirk Mulder.

  2. Vetnosis 2015 Storm Data.

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