Concurrent use of saponins and live coccidiosis vaccines: the influence of a quillaja and yucca combination on anticoccidial effects and performance results of coccidia-vaccinated broilers

Poult Sci. 2021 Mar;100(3):100905. doi: 10.1016/j.psj.2020.12.010. Epub 2020 Dec 10.


A series of studies was conducted to determine the effects of a quillaja and yucca (saponin) combination (QY) product on postvaccination oocyst production, development of coccidial immunity, and final bird performance of broilers administered live coccidiosis vaccines. In all, 3 groups of tests were carried out. Study 1 evaluated the effects of QY (0 and 250 ppm) on oocyst per gram of feces (OPG) following vaccination at day-of-age; OPG were measured from 5 to 12 d postvaccination. Study 2 determined the effects of QY (250 ppm) in the presence of 3 commercial coccidiosis vaccines in floor pens. OPG were measured weekly for birds receiving each vaccine and for each corresponding vaccine group fed QY. To determine whether QY influenced the development of coccidial immunity induced by the 3 vaccines, 5 birds were removed from each pen at 28 d and challenged with pathogenic levels of Eimeria spp. At 6 d post challenge, lesion scores were used to evaluate the effects of QY on immune protection provided by each vaccine. In addition, comparisons of final bird performance were made between birds given each vaccine and their corresponding vaccinates fed QY. Study 3 comprised a meta-analysis of 15 floor pen trials in which 21- and 42-d body weight, feed conversions, and total mortality were compared between coccidiosis-vaccinated broilers and similarly vaccinated broilers fed QY (250 ppm). Results of these experiments indicated that feeding QY to vaccinated broilers did not significantly affect OPG from days 5 through 12 postvaccination (P > 0.05). For each vaccine tested in study 2, OPG values were the highest at 14 and 21 d postvaccination. QY significantly reduced OPG at 14 d postvaccination for 2 of the vaccines tested, and produced a similar effect in 1 vaccine at 21 d postvaccination. The remaining vaccine was not affected by QY in the postvaccination OPG results. Despite these changes in OPG, significant differences in lesion scores following the Eimeria challenge were not observed for any vaccinated groups receiving QY. Irrespective of the vaccine, both interim and final feed conversion values were significantly improved when QY was fed (P < 0.01). Similarly, results of a 15-trial meta-analysis indicated that QY-fed vaccinated broilers had higher body weights, improved feed conversions, and lower mortality than their vaccinated controls. Results show that while QY may induce changes in OPG following vaccination, coccidia-vaccinated broilers fed QY develop immunity equivalent to that of controls and show significant improvements in performance and mortality.

Keywords: coccidial immunity; coccidial vaccination; performance; quillaja and yucca combination; saponin.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Chickens
  • Coccidiosis* / prevention & control
  • Coccidiosis* / veterinary
  • Poultry Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Protozoan Vaccines*
  • Quillaja
  • Saponins*
  • Yucca*


  • Protozoan Vaccines
  • Saponins