Discussion created on 12/01/2014

Lameness in broiler chicken

Hi all, I´m working in a poultry farm including both broiler and layers. Lately, we have observed lameness in broiler chickens between age of 2 weeks up to 3 weeks with a prevalence of 3% with higher prevalence in customer level, what do you think about the causes of this lameness?

fikreslsie dawit
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Dr Mahendra Chaudhari Dr Mahendra Chaudhari
M.V.Sc. Animal Nutrition Masters Degree Veterinary
December 2, 2014

Dear Dr,

Being lameness noted in both broiler and layer chicks, the following factors may be causing it:

1 Disease AE breeder vaccination ,Chicken anemia, Reo
2 Nutritional Calcium Phos source like DCP or MCP or feed contamination bacterial, Mycotoxin etc. Thirum pioson level in Maize etc
3 Hatchery incubation like humidity and Temperature variations , hatchery contamination Stap etc.
4.Hot and humid brooding conditions where in feed consumption is suboptimal

Hope you may find useful, 

Dr Maendra Chaudhari

March 21, 2020
Dr Mahendra Chaudhari
Do you have any reference about CAV can cause lameness
Oscar Briceño Oscar Briceño
BSc. cMSc (Nutrition and statistics)
December 2, 2014

Could you check the level of Calcium in the Prestarter? It could be very high, more than 1%. Could you try to use less than 1%? and maybe the calcium source from marine origen? Also try using less phosphorus, maybe it could be higher.

Mohamed Swelam Mohamed Swelam
diploma degree
December 2, 2014

There could be many factors that cause the same problem. It could also be related to hatchery temperature, feed especially premix or a bacterial infection.

Tarusenga Munyanyi Tarusenga Munyanyi
Animal health technologist
December 3, 2014
beding can cause lamness caked bedding wet bediing leading to pododermatitis and also this will cause athritis due bacterial and viral infection.nutrition like vitamin d, calcium and phosphorus phosphorus defience and mycotoxins then dychrondoplasia
December 3, 2014
It may be due to vertical transmitted MS. If that is ruled out,then check the phosphorous level in prestarter and starter feeds. CAV and Reo vaccines in Breeder stock should be mon
fikreslsie dawit fikreslsie dawit
December 3, 2014
Thanks, all
But bear in mind that the lameness was only happened in broiler after they feeding in the same feed with layer( for experiment only) then the broilers show lameness but not in layers, have any experiences happen related to ours.
Dr. Muhammad Asif Naveed Dr. Muhammad Asif Naveed
M.Sc.(Hons) Animal Nutrition
December 3, 2014
it's primarily because of Ca/P deficiency. to recover the problem you can check the quality of raw material in use, or you may also be using phytases with wrong specs. or even you should check it at mixing level either it's being mixed improperly
December 3, 2014
You do not say anything about the nature of the lameness. Are the joints affected? THe feet? The muscles? Has any histopathology been done? Do you have eccess to any laboratory that could undertake satisfactory follow up to determine the cause?
Fred Hoerr Fred Hoerr
DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVP, ACPV
December 3, 2014
If an obvious nutritional component has been ruled out, reovirus should be assessed by histopathology and virus isolation. Collect tendon groups and heart for histopathology; the same tissue can be used for virus isolation or PCR.
Dr. Nasir Rajput Dr. Nasir Rajput
December 8, 2014

There are so many factors may cause lameness including, nutritional deficiency, slipped tendon, mycoplasma synoviae, Marek's and managemental factors like dampness of litter etc.
Dr. Rakesh  Nimbalkar Dr. Rakesh Nimbalkar
Animal Nutritionist
December 25, 2014
Dear Fikreslsie dawit ,
Causes of lameness could be attributed to bacterial chondronecrosis and osteomyelitis ( entry of pathogenic through gut and then localisation in bone plate of femur and tibia mediated by feed toxins . Testing of Dicalcium Phosphate for bacterial contamination and fungi is inevitable if it is sourced from animal origin ( Bone based DCP harbouring Clostridia E coli and bacillus ) and for fluorine toxicity if from rock phosphate . Also analyse microbial contamination of animal protein sources used in feeds .These recommendations are based on ruling out the possibilities of other cuases of lameness ( Infectious , Nutritional and Management origins )
Dr Rakesh Nimbalkar
Comsultant - Poultry Nutritionist
Polchem Hygiene Laboratories Private Limited
Emad Elgazzar Emad Elgazzar
MASTER and PHD degree in microbiology
December 26, 2014
HiEvery body;I think we must knew firstly this lameness appear at what age and all circumstances par example lameness causes -muscles affection or nerve affection or joints affection bone affection -----------------for muscles white muscles diseases-A,E diseases ND Merck etc--------------------------------------------------------- ---calcium deficiencies-vitamin d deficiencies -calcium phosphorus ratio ----nutritional causes.
joint affection as sending or dis sending-staphylococci-mycoplasma synovie--
December 27, 2014
What should be the line of treatment for occurance of lameness in Grower birds?
M.V.Sc. Veterinary Pathology
December 27, 2014
Dear Dr,
I think you need to state clearly the nature of lameness you are dealing with. For example,
1. which part of the chicken is affected?, the joints? (coxofemural, hock, tarsometatarsal),
2. are the affected areas swollen or not?
3. is the lameness unilateral or bilateral?

Let me suggest a list of differentials
1. Reoviral arthritis
2. Avian streptococcosis
3. Avian staphylococcosis
4. Pullorum disease
5. Femural head necrosis
Nutritional deficiency: calcium-phosphorus in balance

Dr.imran Maan Dr.imran Maan
Specialist in Animal Nutrition
December 28, 2014

First you should identify either it's 
slipped tendencies
Muscles damage

1-Then you check level of calcium & phosphorus
2-in feed 
you're using APC(animal Protein) the % in feed formula.

Muhammad Abdullah Muhammad Abdullah
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
December 28, 2014

Lameness is a persistent problem in broiler flock, mainly faced after 2nd week of age. It is a multidimensional problem, if feed is not the cause then the 2nd possible cause is infectious & 3rd is managemental, but it become worse when it is infectious with poor husbandry. Sometimes lower brooding temperature is also invovled in lameness at early age, or some time over weight too, but if management is appropriate then lameness is not a big problem for flock.

John Kaijage John Kaijage
PhD in Tropical Animal Production
December 28, 2014
Lameness in broiler chickens is becoming a common problem mostly associated with genetic selection for rapid growth, management and infection. Bone and Joint infection as well skeletal abnormalities as linked with fast in growth during the first weeks of life. Rapid weight gain causes excessive torque and shear forces at the articular surface of the femur, tibia and the free thoracic vertebra in particular and this predisposes bird to injury and infection. Thus at farm level: prevention of lameness should take in consideration the following:
(1) Ensure feeds have well balanced calcium/phosphorous ratio-check with your feed manufacturers
(2) Reduce light hours (1-2hours) from commonly 23 hours used to reduce amount of feed
(3) Do rational feed regime by providing high energy-high protein- then low energy -low protein every after 2 weeks,
December 29, 2014

In aim to answer the question by the right way you should firstly clarify the clinical signs Do you means Paralysis or leg disorders

Please find below some possible causes of leg disorders
Some possible causes of leg disorders
Non infectious infectious

Genetic Viral agents
Rapid growth Reovirus

Nutrition Bacterial agents
Management E. coli
Litter quality P. multocida
Stocking density Streptococci, Staphylococci
Lighting programme ORT
Deviation in hatching

March 21, 2020
Hafez Mohamed please Dr. Could you provide more details for differential diagnosis of lameness specially in broiler breeders at 10 week
Salah El Safty Salah El Safty
December 30, 2014

Thanks All,
I fully agree with Prof. Dr. Hafez. Anyway, There are many factors affecting Lameness in broiler chicks (chick quality, genetic, feed and farming management), but we have to clarify the case accurately to solve the problem.

Hope you my find useful
Salah El-Safty, Ph.D.

Islam Masoud Raslsn Islam Masoud Raslsn
Technical Manager
December 30, 2014
what about mycotoxins in the feed and their negative effects on the kidneys, and not change vitamin D2 to D3
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Fred Hoerr
Fred Hoerr
DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVP, ACPV
  Nashville, Tennessee, United States
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