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Br Poult Sci. 2006 Jun;47(3):257-63.

Leg health and performance of broiler chickens reared in different light environments.

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  • 1Division of Ethology, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark.


1. The effects of light source and intensity on leg health and performance of female ROSS 308 broiler chickens were investigated in a 2 x 2 experimental design (8 groups of 275 chicks) of two light sources (Osram biolux and Osram warm-white) and two light intensities (5 and 100 clux, adjusted to fowl-perceived illuminance). 2. At 41 d of age, body weight, gait-score, footpad dermatitis and hock-burn were measured on 50 birds from each light environment. In addition, weekly feed intake and body weight were determined on a group basis and mortality was recorded continuously. 3. The light environment did not affect the severity of the gait-score or hock-burns. The risk of moderate to severe lameness and hock-burns increased with body weight. Birds weighing more than 2400 g had an increased probability of moderate footpad lesions in biolux light. 4. Weight and gait-score, as well as gait-score and hock-burn were positively correlated. Podo-dermatitis was weakly correlated with hock-burn, which contradicts earlier findings. The light environment did not affect feed intake, body weight or mortality. 5. The light sources and intensities employed in this study did not adversely affect production or leg health of broiler chickens reared semi-commercially.

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