Development of mortality and foot pad health in turkey flocks and its implication for welfare assessment
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In a field trial mortality and foot pad health were monitored and evaluated on turkey farms over one year as part of the general flock management (Andersson and Toppel, 2014). Foot pads were scored in four week intervals to identify time frames of risk for foot pad lesions which are relevant for on-farm flock monitoring. Litter management-related data were collected to develop successful measures for preventing foot pad dermatitis (FPD). Furthermore mortality data and frames of risk for mortality were based on farm records. Results for mortality showed a positive correlation between seven-day and overall mortality of rearing period. The weekly mortality of toms increased about 0.5 percent in the summer compared to the winter cycle. Time frames for an increased risk of male mortality during summer cycle were from week 12 to 13, week 14 to 15 and week 20 to 21, respectively. The time frame for an increased risk of male mortality during winter cycle was identified from week 14 to week 15. Results of foot pad scoring indicate an increased risk of foot pad lesions between the first and eighth week of life. Litter management influenced foot pad health significantly.