Mycotoxins are toxic metabolic byproducts of fungal growth on grains. There are over 100 known mycotoxins. High moisture content of grains can lead to fungal growth and toxin production. Fungi can produce toxins before or after grain harvest. Drought and insect damage to grain can increase the susceptibility of grain to fungal growth.
Occurrence: Worldwide. More common in warm wet climates.
Species affected: Ducks, turkeys, broilers, pullets, commercial layers, and broiler breeders are affected in decreasing order of susceptibility.
Age affected: All, but the young are most susceptible.
Causes: Consumption of grains containing fungal-producing toxins.
Effects: Signs include sleepiness, depression, paleness, reduced egg production, fertility, and hatchability, depressed growth, feed conversion, increased bruising and downgrading, and immunosuppression can occur.