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Title: A Study on the Cause and Effect of Lameness on Broiler Chickens
Authors: Cangar, Ozlem ×
Cardineals, Sophie
Everaert, Nadia
De Ketelaere, Bart
Bahr, Claudia
Zoons, Johan
Decuypere, Eddy
Berckmans, Daniel #
Issue Date: 2009
Conference: Joint International Agricultural Conference location:Wageningen, the Netherlands. date:6-8 July 2009
Abstract: The reasons for the gait problems in broiler chickens are multiple although weight and growth rate are said to be the main reasons for locomotion problems (Vestergaard and Sanotra, 1999). Other factors that play role are infectious diseases, genetics, sex, weight and growth rate, age, feed conversion, feeding, management and movement. In this study, gait score as a measure for lameness, is thoroughly investigated in relation to the following physiological variables: weight, sex, corticosterone content in the blood plasma, hock burns, chest dirtiness, foot pad dermatitis, tibial dyschondroplasia and femoral head necrosis. A total of 152 birds were selected from a house of 1500 birds in 3 consecutive growth periods. The chickens were scored for their locomotion by experts, weighed, their sex was determined and blood samples were taken for quantification of stress hormones in the blood plasma. They were then slaughtered and visually scored for hock burns, chest dirtiness and foot pad dermatitis. The birds were dissected to diagnose tibial dyschondroplasia and femoral head necrosis. Between the 8 mentioned parameters, sex, blood stress hormone corticosterone, chest dirtiness and femoral head necrosis had significant relations with the lameness of the birds. Body weight and gait score relation was significant (p < 0.001) and non-linear. Males were significantly heavier than the females (p < 0.001). Females and males had similar average gait scores (2.63, 2.75 out of 5). Higher corticosterone concentration in the blood plasma in the birds increased with higher gait scores (p = 0.006). Between the three visual quality variables (hock burns, foot pad lesions and chest dirtiness) only chest dirtiness showed a significant relation with gait score (p = 0.02). Post slaughter diagnosis for femoral head necrosis revealed significant relation with the lameness of the birds (p < 0.001).
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IC
Appears in Collections:Division M3-BIORES: Measure, Model & Manage Bioresponses (-)
Division of Livestock-Nutrition-Quality (-)
Division of Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors (MeBioS)
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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