As winter nears broiler producers have been told to pay attention to every aspect of flock management and in particular foot pad pododermatitis.
Pododermatitis is becoming a significant issue in the broiler industry, technical service manager Dave Watts told a recent Aviagen broiler roadshow in the UK. Virtually every factor of management is involved in controlling it, including litter quality and depth, heating and ventilation, drinker management, lighting and house construction.
“Economics dictate that litter depth is around 2-3cm, assuming your concrete is up to a temperature of 30oC, which avoids condensation on the floor,” he said. The meeting was told good quality wood shavings were more expensive, but paid dividends. Avoiding stress from the moment the birds arrived was also crucial.
“Don’t leave chicks exposed to the elements when they come off the truck, and keep the truck doors closed. In the house, use cardboard to block off draughts,” Watts advised. Drinker management was also critical, with producers advised to monitor consumption, manage ventilation to assist in drying litter and replace drinkers every 5-7 years.
“Ventilation is the only means of removing excess water from the house,” Watts said. “Consumption should be monitored and if it increases, ventilation should be increased right away – not three days later. The damage is done by then.”