Scientists say there is clear correlation between cases of footpad dermatitis and worsening gait scores in broilers following a detailed 3 year study in the US.
The researchers looked at the prevalence and severity of footpad dermatitis (FPD) and gait scores (GS) as an indicator of lameness in commercial broiler production in the US.
The objectives of the field study, which included support from Elanco Animal Health, Keystone Foods, the Department of Poultry Science, Auburn University and the American Association of Avian Pathologists, were to deter mine the prevalence and severity of FPD and lameness in commercial broilers.
The study also looked at the relationship between FPD and GS under the production conditions typical of the southeastern US States.
Observations were collected from an integrated broiler complex producing a light broiler (1.94kg to 2.22kg) and an integrated broiler complex, producing a heavier bird (3.62kg-3.76kg).
First signs of disease often show at the feather cover and skin, skeleton issues. Check out this interactive tool.
Data was collected from 554 farms, 16,697 houses and 166,977 broilers, representing 328 million birds over the lifespan of the study.
The summary results found that:
The study, published in the Journal of Applied Poultry Research could be seized upon by animal welfare groups who are pushing companies such as McDonalds to move to a slower growing broiler bird because of welfare concerns over lameness and other welfare issues in modern intensive breeds.