U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Poultry Science 84 (2005) pp. 1491–1494


Nicarbazin (NCZ), a coccidiostat commonly used in the poultry industry, causes reduced hatchability and egg quality in layer hens at a concentration of 125 ppm (8.4 mg/kg) in the feed. Although this effect is undesirable in the poultry industry, NCZ could provide a useful wildlife contraception tool for waterfowl, particularly urban geese. We tested the absorption of NCZ in chickens (Gallus gallus), mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), and Canada geese (Branta canadensis) gavaged with 8.4 mg of NCZ/kg per bird each day for 8 d. Plasma levels of 4,4′-dinitrocarbanilide (DNC) differed significantly among species. Peak plasma DNC levels were 2.87 ± 0.15 mg/mL, 2.39 ± 0.15 mg/mL, and 1.53 ± 0.15 mg/ mL in chickens, mallards, and Canada geese respectively.

It took 6 d to obtain peak DNC levels in chickens as opposed to 8 d in mallards and Canada geese. The half life of DNC in plasma was 1.43 d in chickens, 0.72 d in mallards, and 1.26 d in Canada geese. Mallards eliminated 100% of plasmaDNC4 d post-treatment, whereas Canada geese eliminated 100% of plasmaDNC8 d post-treatment. Chickens had only eliminated 99% of plasma DNC 8 d post-treatment. Mallard plasma DNC levels were highly correlated with Canada goose plasma DNC levels. This research showed mallards are an ideal model species for the Canada goose for future reproductive studies on NCZ in a laboratory setting. However, levels higher than 8.4 mg/kg must be fed to waterfowl in order to obtain a plasma level comparable to chickens.