Two randomized block experiments were conducted to determine the effects of litter moisture and age on the development of foot pad dermatitis (FPD) in female growing turkeys. Pens were littered with fresh wood shavings at the start of the experiments and excreta and soiled litter were replaced twice daily to maintain clean litter. In experiment 1 the birds (n = 5/pen) were subjected to increasing quantities of water to produce different litter moisture contents for 6 d. In experiment 2 the effects on FPD of high litter moisture for 6 d at 7, 21, 42, and 70 d were assessed. Scores for FPD, food intake, BW gain, litter moisture, litter pH, and behavior were assessed after 6 d on wet compared with dry, clean wood shavings litter. A linear effect was found of increasing litter moisture on mean foot score. Mean foot score increased with age on transfer to wet litter but the effect of age was relatively small. Body weight gains were similar in wet and dry treatments whereas feed intake was higher in turkeys kept on wet litter compared with dry litter. The results are consistent with the conclusion that high litter moisture is the primary cause of FPD and that turkeys are similarly susceptible from 7 to 70 d of age.
- foot pad dermatitis turkeys wet litter age growing turkeys hock burn poultry water broiler skin