|Title||New approaches in housing and management to improve foot pad health in fattening poultry|
|Author(s)||Jong, I.C. de; Harn, J. van|
|Event||16th International Conference on Production Diseases in Farm Animals, Wageningen, 2016-06-22/2016-06-23|
LR - Animal Behaviour & Welfare
LR - Animal Nutrition
|Publication type||Abstract in scientific journal or proceedings|
|Abstract||Footpad dermatitis, a condition of inflammation and necrotic lesions of the plantar surface of the foot, is a common problem in broiler and turkey production, despite the fact that monitoring footpad health has become part of broiler welfare legislation in some European countries.
Severe footpad lesions are painful and not only have a negative effect on broiler welfare in itself, but are also related to impaired product quality, impaired technical performance and other welfare problems such as impaired locomotion and increased incidence of hock burns.
In Denmark and Sweden, where footpad dermatitis has been monitored already for years, the prevalence in broiler flocks is generally low. However, in other countries there can be a large variation in the prevalence of footpad dermatitis between individual broiler and turkey flocks.
Wet and/or sticky litter is generally considered to be the most important causal factor of footpad dermatitis, but there are many housing and management aspects that affect litter quality. In this presentation we will provide an overview of recent studies on management and housing factors influencing litter quality and thus the prevalence of footpad dermatitis in broilers and turkeys,
such as feed composition and feed form, bedding type and depth, temperature and relative humidity, drinking water management, light intensity and light programmes. Apart from these factors, (infectious) diseases causing diarrhoea affect the litter quality, and genetic background of the birds also plays a role in the risk to develop footpad dermatitis. More recent studies showed that not only housing or management, but also broiler breeder feeding programmes
and incubation conditions may play a role in the risk to develop footpad dermatitis in broiler chickens by affecting the development of the skin of the feet. This area needs further study, because if these relationships indeed exist a production chain approach will help to reduce the incidence of footpad dermatitis in fattening poultry.