Pododermatitis, also called footpad dermatitis or FPD, is an inflammation of the skin located at the footpad of the chickens that can occur at any stage of the life of the bird. It starts with small erosions or discoloration of the skin and may develop into painful necrotic lesions with or without infection. If corrective action is taken the lesions can heal, but prevention is always better than treatment.
Footpad dermatitis impairs growth rate, leads to lameness and provides an entry route for bacteria; harms animal welfare, product quality and food safety; and makes chicken feet unsellable.
The European Union and the National Chicken Council (USA) consider pododermatitis a marker of the animal welfare and the conditions of the farm. European authorities are putting in place policies to reduce its incidence.
There are many possible causative factors, being the most important the status of the litter:
- Litter quality, that depends on the material of the litter and the characteristics of the feces (bacterial and toxin load, protein and water content, ammonia production). The feed formulation and the gut health of the birds have a big impact on the characteristics of the feces.
- Humidity of the poultry house
- Drinker design
- High stocking density
- Genetics (robustness of the skin of the feet, which depends on the breed, nutritional status and gut health)
Gut health plays a key role in preventing footpad dermatitis. Any digestive disease or imbalance will increase the problems of wet litter and therefore increase the risk of pododermatitis.
Plant extracts are used successfully in poultry farms to target the three features of gut health (healthy tissues, balanced microbiome, strong digestive immunity), maintain a healthy digestive system and as a consequence reduce the incidence of footpad dermatitis.
Success case: reducing the incidence of pododermatitis in a broiler farm with the LeaderChick© program
Circumstances of the case
The case took place in November 2019.
The animals were divided into two houses:
- Trial group: One house (aprox. 13.000 birds). From day 1 to slaughter at day 43th, the trial group was administered the LeaderChick© program (a health program that combines PlusBreathe© and PlusProtect Digestive©)
- Control group: One house (aprox. 13.000 birds). From day 1 to slaughter at day 43th, the control group was administered the normal health program of the farm.
All the other health, nutritional and management parameters, as well as the environmental conditions, were the same for both groups. All the animals were raised on the floor, on rice husk bedding, in environmentally controlled houses.
Products of choice
PlusProtect Digestive© is intended to maintain and improve digestive health in birds, rabbits and aquatic species of all ages. It is given through drinking water and is formulated with synergistic ingredients:
- Essential oils with bactericidal and fungicidal activity
- Plant extracts with prebiotic effect.
- Immunostimulant and antioxidant essential oilsPlusBreathe© contains essential oils with natural antiseptic, antioxidant, expectorant and mucolytic activity. It has a refreshing taste.
PlusBreathe© contains essential oils with natural antiseptic, antioxidant, expectorant and mucolytic activity. It has a refreshing taste.
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