Kinematic Analysis Quantifies Gait Abnormalities Associated with Lameness in Broiler Chickens and Identifies Evolutionary Gait DifferencesReport as inadecuate




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This is the first time that gait characteristics of broiler meat chickens have been compared with their progenitor, jungle fowl, and the first kinematic study to report a link between broiler gait parameters and defined lameness scores. A commercial motion-capturing system recorded three-dimensional temporospatial information during walking. The hypothesis was that the gait characteristics of non-lame broilers n = 10 would be intermediate to those of lame broilers n = 12 and jungle fowl n = 10, tested at two ages: immature and adult. Data analysed using multi-level models, to define an extensive range of baseline gait parameters, revealed inter-group similarities and differences. Natural selection is likely to have made jungle fowl walking gait highly efficient. Modern broiler chickens possess an unbalanced body conformation due to intense genetic selection for additional breast muscle pectoral hypertrophy and whole body mass. Together with rapid growth, this promotes compensatory gait adaptations to minimise energy expenditure and triggers high lameness prevalence within commercial flocks; lameness creating further disruption to the gait cycle and being an important welfare issue. Clear differences were observed between the two lines short stance phase, little double-support, low leg lift, and little back displacement in adult jungle fowl; much double-support, high leg lift, and substantial vertical back movement in sound broilers presumably related to mass and body conformation. Similarities included stride length and duration. Additional modifications were also identified in lame broilers short stride length and duration, substantial lateral back movement, reduced velocity presumably linked to musculo-skeletal abnormalities. Reduced walking velocity suggests an attempt to minimise skeletal stress and-or discomfort, while a shorter stride length and time, together with longer stance and double-support phases, are associated with instability. We envisage a key future role for this highly quantitative methodology in pain assessment associated with broiler lameness including experimental examination of therapeutic agent efficacy.



Author: Gina Caplen , Becky Hothersall, Joanna C. Murrell, Christine J. Nicol, Avril E. Waterman-Pearson, Claire A. Weeks, G. Robert Colb

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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