Effect of hatch location and diet density on footpad dermatitis and growth performance in broiler chickens
Journal of Applied Poultry Research
Primary Audience: flock supervisors, hatchery staff, researchers, extension services, veterinarians SUMMARY The effect of hatch location and diet density on the prevalence of footpad dermatitis and growth performance in broiler chickens was studied. Broilers (Ross 308), incubated at 2 different hatch locations but originating from the same parent stock, were subjected to 2 feeding programs differing in energy content (2,750 vs. 2,950, 2,850 vs. 3,050, 2,900 vs. 3,100, and 2,900 vs. 3,100
... 00 vs. 3,100 kcal/kg for starter, grower I, grower II, and finisher diets, respectively) in a 2 × 2 factorial design (6 replicates per treatment combination). Broilers were housed under conditions and managed according to Dutch practice. Hatch location did not affect hatching results nor the prevalence and severity of footpad dermatitis, but did affect BW gain, feed, and water intake. A significant interaction was found between hatch location and feeding program; broilers fed the low-energy (LE) program had a better performance when hatched at Location 2 than at Location 1, whereas performance was similar for the high-energy (HE) broilers hatched at both locations. Broilers fed the LE program had similar BW gain but a higher feed conversion due to a higher feed intake as compared to broilers fed the HE program. In addition, moisture content of the litter in the pens with LE birds was higher than in pens with HE birds. As a result, broilers fed the LE program had more footpad dermatitis and hock burns at d 36 as compared to broilers fed the HE program. It is concluded that the HE feeding program is preferred to prevent footpad dermatitis and hock burn, and with respect to growth performance. The differences in growth performance between the 2 hatch locations merit further study but indicate the importance of the incubation and hatching environment and posthatch handling in relation to the growth performance of broilers on-farm.