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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

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

Riber, Anja B.; Herskin, Mette S.; Foldager, Leslie; Sandercock, Dale A.; Murrell, Jo; Tahamtani, Fernanda M.


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 bodyweight (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.


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

Published in

Veterinary Record
2021, volume: 189, number: 7, article number: e454
Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

Riber, Anja B.
Aarhus University
Herskin, Mette S.
Aarhus University
Foldager, Leslie
Aarhus University
Sandercock, Dale A.
Scotland's Rural College (SRUC)
Murrell, Jo
University of Bristol
Machado Tahamtani, Fernanda
Aarhus University
Machado Tahamtani, Fernanda
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Nutrition and Management

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science
Clinical Science

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