Risk factor for footpad dermatitis and hock burns in broiler chickens

E. Tullo, I. Fontana, A. Peña Fernandez, D. Berckmans, E. Koenders, E. Vranken, S. N. Brown, A. Butterworth, H. Gunnink, M. Guarino

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

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Abstract

Footpad dermatitis (FPD) and hock burn (HB) are a major welfare concern in broiler chicken farming. In general, foot lesions are linked to poor environmental conditions. Ulcers caused by advanced lesions can negatively affect the gait of the birds, with effects on the welfare of animals, including, in the worst cases, inability to reach the feed or water. FPD and HB score data were collected manually at two broiler farms across Europe, during welfare assessments performed within the EU-PLF (Precision Livestock Farming) project, which is supported by the European Commission. This ongoing project aims to create "added value" for the farmer through the application of sensors and information technology at farm level. On those broiler farms, a number of variables such as temperature, relative humidity, ventilation rate, bird weight, light schedule, and feed and water consumption rates are measured automatically. The welfare of the chickens was assessed three times per cycle (at week 3, 4 and 5), scoring FPD, HB, gait score, cleanliness of the birds and litter quality. Data analysis was performed by combining data from the welfare assessments with environmental data collected by the automatic monitoring systems. The analysis showed that FPD and HB were more frequent when the flock was exposed to poor environmental conditions for prolonged periods of time. As environmental conditions can be measured continuously, and the risk factor for FPD and HB increases with poor environmental conditions, there is potential to develop a detection and control system for foot and hock lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrecision Livestock Farming 2015 - Papers Presented at the 7th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, ECPLF 2015
PublisherEuropean Conference on Precision Livestock Farming
Pages792-800
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9788890975325
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event7th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, ECPLF 2015 - Milan, Italy
Duration: 15 Sep 201518 Sep 2015

Conference

Conference7th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, ECPLF 2015
CountryItaly
CityMilan
Period15/09/1518/09/15

Keywords

  • Broiler
  • Environmental conditions
  • Foot lesion
  • Precision livestock farming
  • Risk factor
  • Welfare

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