You are here: Home / Journal Articles / Welfare assessment of broilers through examination of haematomas, foot-pad dermatitis, scratches and breast blisters at processing / About

Welfare assessment of broilers through examination of haematomas, foot-pad dermatitis, scratches and breast blisters at processing

By K. G. Gouveia, P. Vaz-Pires, P. M. da Costa

View Resource (HTM)

Licensed under

Category Journal Articles

Analysis of post mortem lesions is a common means for assessing poultry welfare during rearing and pre-slaughter handling. The aim of this study was to determine the influence of: age, sex, rearing system, total number of birds on-farm, period between catch and slaughter and distance from poultry house to processing plant on the incidence of: foot-pad dermatitis (FPD), breast blisters (BB), bruises and scratches. Rearing systems consisted of extensive indoor (EI) and traditional free-range (TFR). Accordingly, birds were reared under non-intensive conditions (<12 broilers m-2). In TFR, the maximum flock size was 4,800, birds had continuous daytime access to open-air runs from at least the age of six weeks, and the minimum slaughter age was 81 days; whereas EI rearing was exclusively indoor and birds were slaughtered at 56 days or later. Observations occurred daily after plucking and each bird was examined for: haematomas, scratches, FPD and BB. Logistic regressions were applied to study the relationship between variables. Farms holding between 10,000-20,000 birds were the most affected with FPD, BB and scratches. The oldest birds (91-100 days) showed the greatest incidence of FPD and scratches. TFR birds exhibited the highest prevalence of bruises and lowest of FPD. BB were most common among birds travelling between 31-60 km from poultry farm to processing plant while scratches were more frequent at greater distances (91-120 km). Male broilers were more predisposed to BB than females. Scratching increased relative to the number of hours that birds awaited slaughter. Despite the fact that only a relatively small number of broiler flocks were examined, these findings may have implications for the draft of future European legislation regarding poultry welfare.

Date 2009
Publication Title Animal Welfare
Volume 18
Issue 1
Pages 43-48
ISBN/ISSN 0962-7286
Language English
Author Address ICBAS-Instituto de Ciencias Biomedicas de Abel Salazar, Universidade do Porto, Largo Prof Abel Salazar 2, 4099-003 Porto, Portugal.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Age
  2. Analysis
  3. Animal diseases
  4. Animal husbandry
  5. Animal rights
  6. Animal welfare
  7. Autopsy
  8. Birds
  9. Chickens
  10. Cleaning
  11. Dermatitis
  12. Flocks
  13. Fowls
  14. Handling
  15. Incidence
  16. Laws and regulations
  17. Legislation
  18. Lesions
  19. Livestock farming
  20. Meat animals
  21. Parasites
  22. peer-reviewed
  23. postmortem examinations
  24. Poultry
  25. poultry farming
  26. skin diseases
  1. peer-reviewed