Assessment of the welfare of food restricted male broiler breeder poultry with musculoskeletal disease

Paul Hocking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The general and sexual activity of food restricted male broiler breeder poultry was assessed for evidence of behavioural changes associated with musculoskeletal lesions. The activity and fertility of male birds given betamethasone (an anti-inflammatory steroid) or saline were compared in a two-period crossover experiment. Behavioural changes occurred and the birds' mating activity and fertility were decreased when they were given the steroid, but these effects were not associated with the presence of lesions. In a second experiment, there were no differences in sexual motivation between birds either with or without leg disorders. The birds were trained to walk down an alley for their food and the speed of walking was compared in a two-period crossover experiment. Betamethasone decreased their walking speed in period one and the carryover effect was significant in period two. Naloxone decreased the walking speed of birds with lesions more than of those without lesions. This effect was taken as evidence for analgesia by endogenous opioids and may help to explain the lack of response of the birds to the analgesic agent. The evidence that these food restricted male broiler breeder birds experienced pain was equivocal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-34
Number of pages7
JournalResearch in Veterinary Science
Volume57
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1994

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Betamethasone/therapeutic use
  • Body Weight
  • Chickens
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Food Deprivation
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases/veterinary
  • Naloxone/therapeutic use
  • Organ Size
  • Pain/veterinary
  • Poultry Diseases/drug therapy
  • Poultry Diseases/physiopathology
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal
  • Testis/anatomy & histology

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