Experimental Study on Effects of Litter Material and its Quality on Foot Pad Dermatitis in Growing Turkeys
ABSTRACT Since turkeys are in continuous contact with the litter, the potential effects of bedding materials and their quality are of major concern in the etiology of Foot Pad Dermatitis (FPD). Two week-old female turkeys were allotted to four groups, with 29 in each and housed either on wood shavings, lignocellulose, chopped straw or dried maize silage over a period of four weeks without artificial climatisation. The birds in all groups were fed identical commercial diets. Half of the turkeys in each group were additionally exposed for 8 h/d to corresponding wet (27% DM; by adding water) litter in adjacent separate boxes. Foot pads of the birds were examined macroscopically and histologically at the start and end of the experiment as well as at weekly intervals. Lignocellulose showed the lowest severity of FPD on dry and wet litter treatments, whereas chopped straw was associated with high FPD scores on dry treatment. Foot pad scores were similar on wood shavings and dried maize silage whether dry or wet. The DM content of litter materials was determined and the highest moisture content among dry treatments was observed in straw (about 31%) which was paralleled with FPD severity. The severity of FPD was overall much higher (>2 times) on wet than on dry litter. Exposure of the birds to wet litter for 8 h/d was sufficient to develop FPD. Lignocellulose could reduce the FPD severity, probably due to higher water binding capacity and faster release of water, while straw may increase it due to lower water evaporation. The physical form of litter either soft (lignocellulose) or with sharp edges (chopped straw) may also affect the onset of FPD. The litter moisture appears to be the dominant factor resulting in the development of FPD and should be kept lower than about 30% to minimise the prevalence and severity of FPD in turkeys.
Article: Effects of floor heating and litter quality on the development and severity of foot pad dermatitis in young turkeys.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Actions concerning animal health in turkey production are coming more and more to the fore. Litter quality has a great impact on the bird's health and welfare. This study aimed at evaluating the effects of using floor heating, different litter materials, and exposure to litter with a "critical moisture content" of 35% for 16 or 24 hr/day on the severity of foot pad dermatitis (FPD), a widespread disease in fattening turkeys. Four groups of 2-wk-old female turkeys, with 20 birds in each, were reared during 3 wk. All turkeys were fed a commercial pellet diet ad libitum. The first two groups were kept on wood shavings (35% moisture) without and with floor heating. The other two groups were housed on lignocellulose (Soft Cell) of 35% moisture without and with floor heating. In each group, half of the birds were housed for 8 hr/day in adjacent separate boxes where the litter was kept clean and dry throughout the experimental period. Foot pads were assessed weekly for external and at day 35 for histopathologic scoring (scores: 0 = healthy; 7 = ulcer). At day 14 each bird had normal and healthy foot pads. The results indicate that using floor heating resulted in significantly lower FPD scores (0.8 +/- 0.2) compared to groups without floor heating (2.0 +/- 0.8). Using lignocellulose as a litter material resulted in significantly lower histopathologic FPD scores (1.4 +/- 0.7) compared with wood shavings (1.7 +/- 0.8). In all birds housed on dry litter for 8 hr/day, significantly lower FPD scores were found compared to birds housed on wet litter for 24 hr. In conclusion, using floor heating, even with wet litter (35% moisture), independent of the litter type, resulted in reduced severity of FPD compared to those birds housed in pens without using floor heating. Additionally, using lignocellulose as a litter material resulted in lower FPD compared with wood shavings. Keeping litter dry and "warm" could be achieved by using floor heating, which is considered a practical step to enhance animal health and welfare.Avian Diseases 09/2011; 55(3):429-34. · 1.46 Impact Factor