Objective: To test the force plate as a gait analysis system for broilers and to determine how the ground reaction force (GRF) patterns change in these birds with growth and administration of analgesia. Materials and methods: Thirty-three male Ross 308 chicks were raised on either an ad libitum or restricted-feeding regime, and subsequently treated with carprofen or a placebo. Vertical, craniocaudal and mediolateral GRFs were measured as the birds walked across a standard force plate. Results: The data were easy to collect, and peak vertical forces of an equivalent percentage of bodyweight as seen in human walking were identified. Mediolateral forces were 2-3 times greater than those demonstrated in other species. GRF patterns showed significant changes during growth, but analgesia did not have a significant effect on the speed of walking, or GRF patterns. Conclusions and clinical relevance: The force plate is a suitable research tool for recording GRFs from avian bipeds. The large mediolateral forces identify a particularly inefficient aspect of avian gait; however, the role of pain remains to be determined.
- Force plate