Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Walk this Way

Being ever conscious of exciting new poultry welfare practices, I was immediately drawn to an article I found addressing the unfortunate leg problems afflicting commercially produced broilers. With broilers growing heavier and faster than ever before, it’s becoming increasingly common to find birds in a grow out facility affected by locomotion problems. Their legs just can’t handle the rapid bulk accumulation. So what’s a grower to do? According to the article Testing Gait Scoring System from (, producers are beginning to test a new scoring system to asses the number of birds with leg issues. This new scoring system will hopefully make some changes in the welfare management procedures of bird growers by setting certain production benchmarks and hopefully up the birds’ overall health and comfort. Looking beyond the general welfare of the animal, it is bad business to have birds that can’t even walk to the feeders due to their immobility. The Gait Scoring System is used to test a large number of birds’ ability to walk without any sort of invasive procedure. The scoring system is broken down into three categories with scores from 0-2, 2 being the most severe cases of immobility. The bonus of this new system is that is a lot easier to facilitate than the older system of bird gait scoring. This makes it more desirable to actually implement into a production facility’s management practices. As a consumer interested in the welfare of the animals that we eat, it is reassuring to know that the problem of immobile birds is being addressed. Hopefully, with all of this new information regarding prevalent leg issues, we are at least headed in the right direction for managerial advancements to prevent them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you have poultry, you might be interested in USDA's Biosecurity for Birds site. The USDA has just revamped it and it includes all kinds of useful information about bird flu and other bird diseases.

If you have poultry, you should check it out.