In 50 years, broiler growth rates have increased dramatically due to intense genetic selection and enhanced nutritional programs. Fast growth places great demands on birds’ musculoskeletal systems, which can result in impaired locomotion and lameness. Lameness reduces animal well-being and has severe economic consequences from poor growth, increased culling and mortality, and increased carcase condemnation and downgrading at slaughter.
Lameness is often a multifactorial condition. Understanding the various causes can help producers identify areas for improvement and develop effective strategies to reduce the incidence of lameness in their flocks. Conditions responsible for lameness can be of infectious or non-infectious origin.
This table focuses on lameness conditions caused by bacterial pathogens and suggests solutions that can help prevent or alleviate lameness caused by these conditions.