2/3/2021 1 Comment
By Marisa Erasmus - Poultry are the most numerous of farm animals produced globally, and assessment and monitoring of their welfare is key for sustainable and efficient production. However, monitoring and assessing large flocks on a regular basis can be a challenge, and knowing at which age to collect information on bird health and welfare is difficult.
An easier method of collecting information about poultry welfare is to examine data collected at processing, such as the number of carcass condemnations and footpad lesions. However, this information is retrospective and it is not always clear how information collected at processing relates to the welfare of poultry on the farm. For this reason, researchers in Norway and Poland set out to examine whether information collected at the processing plant related to information they collected about turkey tom welfare when turkeys were 11 weeks old.
Using the previously developed transect walk method (see paper here), the researchers visited turkey flocks when the turkeys were 11 weeks old and then compared the information they collected to information collected when the birds were processed at 20 weeks of age. Key findings of their research indicated that flocks with (1) more lame birds at 11 weeks, (2) more featherless and dirty birds at 11 weeks, and with (3) higher mortality rates had more birds rejected at processing due to leg issues, airsacculitis, skin issues, and small sizes.
Based on their work, the researchers concluded that:
Read the full paper, published in Poultry Science here
Associations between animal-based measures at 11 wk and slaughter data at 20 wk in turkey toms (Meleagris gallopavo)
By Guro Vasdal, Joanna Marchewka and Randi O. Moe