Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Popular publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2004
Publication Date: 8/1/2004
Citation: Rath, N.C. 2004. Minimizing leg problems through management. World Poultry Turkey Special. 6:14-16. Interpretive Summary: From a production point of view loss due to leg problems in turkeys is more expensive than broilers. Therefore, taking appropriate measures to reduce leg problems in turkeys will help to improve production, benefiting both industry and the consumer. Although developing breeds with better leg strength and walking abilities is desirable, with currrently available resources, use of better husbandry and management practices can help control leg problems. Intervention measures can include controlling production related stress, such as maintaining a clean environment, good ventilation, good litter quality, opportunities for better physical activity during the intense period of growth, and a judicious use of antibiotics and growth promoting chemicals. Obviously, there is a need for research to manage production-related stress and increasing physical activity which should improve skeletal strength without inflicting a negative impact on production parameters and the ultimate economic outcome, which will also improve turkey welfare.
Technical Abstract: Over the past 40 years the turkey industry has achieved significant progress resulting in tom weights nearly doubling during a twenty-week production period. Such achievement has been possible due to the selection of birds with the genetic potential for rapid growth, improvements in nutrition, and better management procedures. However, the intense production has resulted in some new challenges such as 'leg and foot problems' that compromise the health and welfare of the birds, resulting in economic losses for producers. From a production point of view loss due to leg problems in turkeys is more expensive than broilers. Although developing breeds with better leg strength and walking abilities is desirable, better husbandry and management practices can help control leg problems.