Different litter compositions influence broiler chicken locomotion

Document Type : Full paper (Original article)


1 Ph.D. Student in Animal Sciences, Department of Animal Sciences, Animal Science Postgraduate Program, Faculty of Agrarian Sciences, Federal University of Grande Dourados (UFGD), Dourados, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

2 Department of Animal Sciences, Animal Science Postgraduate Program, Faculty of Agrarian Sciences, Federal University of Grande Dourados (UFGD), Dourados, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

3 Division of Animal Sciences, Studies Institute of the Humid Tropics - IETU - Federal University of the South and Southeast of Pará (UNIFESSPA), University Campus, PA, Brazil

4 Graduated from Animal Science Postgraduate Program, Faculty of Agrarian Sciences, Federal University of Grande Dourados (UFGD), Dourados, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil


Background: Bedding material must absorb moisture, reduce impacts, and allow chicken to express their natural behavior reducing the occurrence of injuries in the footpad and joints, and improving carcass quality and performance. Aims: This study evaluated different bedding materials with different levels of inclusion of dried grass (Zoysia japonica) on the development of lesions in the locomotor system of broiler chickens. Methods: One thousand eight-day-old male chicks of the Cobb 500® were distributed in a completely randomized design with a 3 × 2 factorial scheme: three levels of grass inclusion and two bedding materials (100% wood shavings; 100% rice husks; 25% grass and 75% wood shavings; 25% grass and 75% rice husks; 50% grass and 50% wood shavings; 50% grass and 50% rice husks). The birds at 21, 28, 35, and 42 days of age were evaluated for pododermatitis. Ten birds from each repetition were identified and evaluated weekly from 21 to 42 days for Gait score, latency to lie and leg angle (valgus and varus). At 43 days of age, 60 birds of each treatment were slaughtered and evaluated for femoral degeneration and tibial dyschondroplasia. Results: Different litter compositions did not affect the incidence of lameness, tibial dyschondroplasia and spondylolisthesis. Pododermatitis scores increased after 28 days when including 50% of grass. Conclusion: Age contributes more to the development of locomotion injuries than does bedding material. It is recommended to use inclusions of dried grass only as bedding for young broilers.


Main Subjects

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