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Louton, Helen; Erhard, Michael; Wirsch, Katinka; Bergmann, Shana; Piller, Andre; Schmidt, Paul and Rauch, Elke (2020): Vergleich von vier Beurteilungsmethoden zur Erfassung von Kontaktdermatitiden am Fußballen und Fersenhöcker von Masthühnern. In: Berliner und Münchener Tierärztliche Wochenschrift, Vol. 133: pp. 1-11

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The on-farm assessment of foot pad dermatitis (FPD) and hock burn (HB) was compared to other assessment methods at slaughter. Broilers of three different barns were assessed within seven fattening periods concerning FPD and HB. The same flocks were evaluated at the running evisceration line concerning FPD and HB and pairs of feet were taken from the line for a separate assessment of FPD. Additionally, data of a camera assessment system was used for the evaluation of FPD and HB. For the visual assessment, a modified scheme of the Welfare Quality assessment protocol for poultry (2009) was used. The assessments of FPD on-farm and of feet taken from the evisceration line were very similar (highest value of the difference of estimated probabilities was 0.04). Likewise, the results of the assessment on-farm and by a camera system were in a comparable range. Larger variations (differences of estimated probabilities up to 0.2) were observed in the paired comparison of the assessment at the running evisceration line with the other three methods of assessment (on-farm, feet taken from the evisceration line, camera system). Similar conclusions were drawn regarding HB. Limitations of the study were that it was not possible to evaluate the health of the exact same individual broilers at slaughter, but only reflecting the health of the whole flock. At all assessment methods, the size of the lesions was evaluated. However, only the individual assessment could assess the depth. The assessment of FPD and HB by an observer at the running evisceration line does not lead to the exact same results as an assessment on-farm. The assessment of feet taken from the evisceration line represents the evaluation of FPD of the previously assessed flocks on-farm though. For the assessment of FPD, we thus recommend taking the feet from the evisceration line for an individual assessment or the use of a camera-based assessment method, considering the stated limitations.

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