Chickens raised for commercial meat production are selectively bred to reach market weight quickly. This rapid growth, however, can place increasing demands on the bird’s skeletal system resulting in impaired locomotion.
Lameness and gait abnormalities in poultry are conditions of high significance not only because of their implications in terms of animal welfare, but also due to the financial losses caused by increased mortality, reduced feed utilization and growth rate, and downgrading in the processing plant.
Nutrition plays a significant role in skeletal health and development, thus there are a multitude of nutritional factors that can lead to musculoskeletal diseases which are commonly characterized by lameness. It is important to identify and understand these risk factors in order to develop a prevention or mitigation strategy to reduce incidence of lameness in poultry flocks.
The purpose of this table is to outline several nutritional factors that can contribute to increased incidence of lameness in poultry and offer approaches to help mitigate the damage caused by these conditions.