By Victoria Kouritzin
Through genetic selection, the modern day broiler has undergone improvements in appetite, its ability to efficiently gain weight, and in its survivability. However, the resulting rapid growth in commercial broiler strains may also effect broiler gait. Broiler during a gait assessment trial wearing reflective markers for kinematic evaluation Current gait assessment methods can be subjective as they rely on observers to determine the quality of a broiler’s gait using a short multi-point scale. This often results in subtle lameness being missed as most assessment methods were designed to only give an indication of either no problem or whether there is a severe gait concern. Therefore, there is need for more objective means of assessing subtle differences in broiler gait. At the University of Alberta, applied ethologist, Dr. Clover Bench, and her team, are working on a new way to analyse and evaluate broiler gait using 3D kinematic motion capture technology. The results of this research will provide broiler genetics companies with a new means of assessing gait which could be included as part of selection programs.