Influence of the dietary protein level and type of litter on the incidence and severity of footpad dermatitis in broilers

Constantin Sorin Mihai


Footpad dermatitis (FPD) is a condition that causes necrotic lesions on the plantar surface of the footpads in broilers, and in severe cases may cause pain. The aim of this study was to determin the influence of tree level of dietary protein and four type of litter on the incidence of the FPD. A total of 1,272 one-day-old chicks were raised on floor pens in a design involving 3 × 4 arrangement of protein level [high (HP), medium (MP) or low (LP)], and litter materials (whole wheat straw, rice hulls, wood shavings and a mixture of the three types listed above), on a 3-stage feeding program (2 replicate pens/treatment; 50 birds/pen). The incidence and development of FPD were recorded weekly for all birds from day 8 to slaughter. The largest body weight was observed in the HP group (2441.96 g), followed by MP (2308.16 g) and LP (2215.34 g) group. FPD scores for protein level ranged from 53 (LP) to 76 (MP), and for litter type range from 7 (wood shavings) to 150 (whole wheat straw) exceeding the value of 50 points considered by the EU proposal as threshold. The incidences of FPD for protein level were 32% (LP), 48% (MP) and 43% (HP), and 8% (wood shavings), 22% (rice hulls), 52% (mixture) and 80% (whole wheat straw). The results obtained in this study lead to the conclusion that protein level and litter type influences in a great extent the body weight of broiler chickens and FPD score at slaughter.


Broilers, footpad dermatitis, protein level, litter

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