Retarded growth rates and delayed onset of egg production were recorded in 22-week-old pullets reared on deep litter and with indirect contact with pigs. Birds reared in cages or transferred to cages were unaffected. Spirochaetes were isolated and identified from the intestines of the pullets reared on deep litter but not from those reared in cages. Birds kept solely on deep litter were more severely affected, with 24 per cent immature birds and 10 per cent mortality compared with those transferred from deep litter to cages where no mortality was recorded but 15 to 22 per cent were found to be immature. The histopathological changes are described and the significance of the findings is discussed.
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