Postmortem examination of fast-growing broilers with different degrees of identifiable gait defects

Anja B. Riber*, Mette S Herskin, Lesley Foldager, DA Sandercock, Joanna Murrell, Fernanda M. Tahamtani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The walking ability of many broilers is characterised by slight or definite defects categorised as gait scores (GS) 1 and 2. The present study aimed to examine potential relationships between GSs and indicators of body morphology, leg pathology, tibia strength and wooden breast in Ross 308 broilers assessed as GS ≤ 2. Methods: At 38 days of age, GS and live body weight of 179 birds was recorded. Each bird was examined post-mortem for signs of wooden breast, contact dermatitis and a range of leg pathologies. Weights of different body parts and tibia strength were quantified. Results: Within sex, GS increased with increasing live body weight (p = 0.020). There was a tendency for an effect of GS on prevalence of footpad dermatitis (p = 0.086) and dislocated femoral joint cartilage (p = 0.059) where both pathologies increased in frequency with increasing GS. Greater load was required to fracture tibia from GS2 than GS0 birds (p = 0.040). Conclusions: Within this relatively small data set, no strong relationships between GS ≤ 2 and indicators of body morphology, leg pathology, tibia strength and wooden breast in Ross 308 broilers were found, except for the live terminal body weight. Further studies, involving larger data sets are required for full clarification.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere454
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary Record
Early online date18 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusFirst published - 18 May 2021

Keywords

  • body composition
  • broiler
  • gait score
  • leg pathology
  • walking impairment

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