Remedying Contact Dermatitis in Broiler Chickens with Novel Flooring Treatments


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Contact dermatitis (footpad dermatitis (FPD), hock burns, and breast dermatitis) is a welfare issue for broiler chickens, causing pain and behavioral restrictions. Once lesions develop, often nothing is done to remedy the issue for the affected flock. Our objective was to evaluate novel flooring treatments at the flock level by providing preventative and remedial treatments against contact dermatitis, plumage soiling, and gait impairment. Broilers (n = 546) were housed in 42 pens, with 13 birds/pen. The flooring treatments (four) included used litter (NEG), new pine shavings replaced regularly (POS), a mat filled with 1% povidone-iodine solution (MAT), and the iodine mat placed on a slatted floor (SLAT). Flooring treatments were provided from day one of age (preventative approach; PREV) or day 29 (remedial approach; REM). Contact dermatitis, soiling, gait, and weight were recorded weekly (seven birds/pen). Results showed a treatment effect for all measures, dependent on bird age. Overall, the POS treatment resulted in the best welfare outcomes (FPD, hock burns, and gait). The worst contact dermatitis was found in the MAT and SLAT groups. NEG birds showed little contact dermatitis, opposite to expectations. Weights were lower for PREV-POS in week seven only. The treatments with povidone-iodine were deemed ineffective against contact dermatitis. Access to clean litter prevented and remedied contact dermatitis, and a comparable approach may be commercially feasible.



Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Agriculture, Dairy & Animal Science, Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture, animal welfare, footpad dermatitis, poultry, plumage cleanliness, remedial treatment, FOOT-PAD DERMATITIS, LITTER MOISTURE, GROWING BROILERS, SCORING SYSTEM, WELFARE, AGE, PERFORMANCE, LAMENESS, QUALITY, SEVERITY, 0502 Environmental Science and Management, 0608 Zoology, 0702 Animal Production