Diets high in n-3 fatty acids reduce cecal lesion scores in chickens infected with Eimeria tenella

Poult Sci. 1996 Feb;75(2):179-85. doi: 10.3382/ps.0750179.


Four experiments were run in which diets incorporating various levels of n-3 fatty acids (n-3FA) from fish (menhaden) oil or flax seed were tested for their abilities to reduce the severity of Eimeria tenella infections in young broiler chicks. The diets were fed from 1 d of age through 3 wk of age. Chickens were infected at 2 wk of age. Diets consisting of broiler starter ration supplemented with 2.5 to 10% fish oil, 10% flax seed oil, or 10% linseed oil significantly decreased cecal lesions and maintained weight gains as compared to unsupplemented diets. Light micrographs of ceca from chickens that consumed high n-3FA diets showed reduced parasite invasion and development. Short-term feeding of diets high in n-3FA to young chicks may be a practical method for reducing production losses from cecal coccidiosis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cecal Diseases / diet therapy
  • Cecal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cecal Diseases / veterinary*
  • Cecum / parasitology
  • Cecum / pathology*
  • Chickens
  • Coccidiosis / epidemiology
  • Coccidiosis / pathology
  • Coccidiosis / veterinary*
  • Diet / standards
  • Diet / veterinary*
  • Eimeria tenella / isolation & purification*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Fish Oils / administration & dosage
  • Incidence
  • Poultry Diseases / diet therapy*
  • Poultry Diseases / epidemiology
  • Poultry Diseases / pathology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Weight Gain / physiology


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fish Oils