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Br Poult Sci. 2007 Jun;48(3):264-75.

Factors affecting the prevalence of foot pad dermatitis, hock burn and breast burn in broiler chicken.

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  • 1Division of Farm Animal Science, School of Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.


1. Standardised data on flock husbandry were recorded on 149 broiler farms during the 4 d prior to slaughter. 2. Birds were examined at the slaughterhouse for contact dermatitis lesions. Foot pad dermatitis score (FPDS) and hock burn score (HBS) were measured on five point scales. Carcase rejection data were also collected. 3. The mean percentage of birds in each flock with: moderate or severe foot lesions was 11.1% (range 0-71.5%); moderate or severe hock burn was 1.3% (range 0-33.3%); and, breast burn was 0.02%. 4. A general linear model was developed to examine factors associated with mean flock FPDS. Assuming a linear relationship, within the range of data collected and with all other factors remaining the same, every 1% increase in the proportion of Genotype A birds in the flock was associated with an increase in mean FPDS of 0.003, every one-point increase in litter score was associated with a 0.326 increase in mean FPDS and every one-point increase in flock mean HBS was associated with a 0.411 increase in mean FPDS. Flock mean FPDS was associated with feed supplier and was higher in winter. 5. The general linear model developed for flock mean HBS, found that every one-point increase in mean FPDS increased mean HBS by 0.090, every one-point increase in litter score increased HBS by 0.119 and, every 1% increase in small/emaciated birds decreased mean HBS by 0.333. Reduced HBS was also associated with increased final litter depth, younger slaughter age and an increased percentage of dietary wheat. For every 1% increase in Genotype A birds, a decrease in flock mean HBS of 0.003 would be expected. 6. An effect of hatchery was also identified.

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