Gail Damerow Discusses Well being Concerns for Meat Chickens


Why lameness?

“White Cornish-cross broilers can expertise such quick development that their our bodies quickly get too heavy for his or her legs. The quicker a chook grows, the larger its threat of going lame. And a lame hen can also be extra vulnerable to breast blister.

“Decreasing the expansion charge will reduce lameness. Some yard broiler growers achieve this by eradicating feed in a single day to lower entry to feed throughout early-morning hours.

“One other ploy is to feed a non-pelleted ration. That will increase the period of time required to eat the identical quantity of feed. Together with complete wheat within the broilers’ weight-reduction plan additionally helps,” she advises.

“You’ll be able to keep away from the lameness difficulty altogether by elevating a Heritage breed, the American Bresse, or Cornish hybrids such because the Murray’s Massive Purple Broiler or Ginger Broiler. None of these chickens obtain the extreme development charge of the white Cornish-cross.”

How does breast blister relate to lameness?

“When heavy meat birds have bother standing or strolling, they spend quite a lot of time resting with their weight in opposition to their breastbone. The stress of the bottom in opposition to the breastbone causes irritation and irritation. The result’s a big blister. To keep away from breast blisters in white Cornish Cross chickens, cut back their charge of development, the identical as for minimizing lameness,” Ms. Damerow advises.

“Different heavy meat breeds can develop breast blisters, similar to some other hen. Keep away from blisters in any hen by protecting them on mushy, dry litter or grassy pasture. For all heavy meat breeds, eradicating roosts can also be useful.”

Coronary heart failure appears to be one other well being concern for meat birds.

“Sure, certainly, particularly for the white Cornish Cross. Their hearts and lungs can’t sustain with the expansion charge of their physique muscle tissues. Fast muscle development calls for a excessive stage of oxygen. That, mixed with inadequate house for blood circulate by way of the capillaries of the lungs, causes ascites.

“This situation, also called water stomach, causes fluids to build up within the stomach. Affected broilers develop extra slowly and will all of the sudden die from coronary heart failure.

“Once more, this situation is extra prone to happen in chickens pushed for optimum development. Like leg and joint issues, coronary heart failure will not be a problem for the slower-growing Heritage breeds or different coloured Cornish hybrids.”

Does elevation make a distinction?

“It will possibly. The lowered oxygen stage at elevations above 5,000 toes makes white Cornish Cross chickens extra prone to develop coronary heart issues and different well being points,” Ms. Damerow cautions.

“Alternatively, many individuals elevate white Cornish broilers at 5,000 toes, and even greater, with out issues. And, once more, the slower-growing meat breeds are much less bothered by excessive elevations.”

What’s inexperienced muscle illness?

“Inexperienced muscle illness is a matter primarily for the poultry-meat trade. It happens in hybrid chickens bred for excessively massive breast muscle tissues, which may make up as a lot as 25 % of a chook’s complete physique weight.

“Inexperienced muscle impacts the tender strip of meat that lies between the breast bone and bigger breast muscle, or pectoral. A hen makes use of this deep pectoral muscle to boost its wing.

“When a broiler flaps its wings, blood circulate will increase to the deep pectoral, supplying the muscle with wanted oxygen. The muscle, in flip, expands. If it turns into restricted inside its tight chamber, the circulate of blood will get blocked.

“If wing flapping continues, the tender strip is disadvantaged of oxygen. Relying on how quickly the chook is processed after the wing-flapping incident, the tenders could seem bloody or yellowish. Or, they might flip an unappetizing inexperienced shade,” she explains.

“Inexperienced muscle is usually a larger difficulty for pastured white Cornish Cross chickens than for confined broilers. That’s as a result of out of doors chickens are topic to a larger number of scary wing-flapping experiences. Examples are prowling predators, massive birds flying overhead, or sudden loud noises from passing folks or automobiles.

“To stop inexperienced muscle illness, take care to keep away from heavy-breasted Cornish Cross chickens being startled into extreme wing flapping. Which means eradicating perches, since chickens sometimes flap their wings whereas leaping down. It additionally means instructing kids and pets to not chase broilers. Additionally, you shouldn’t catch or carry these chickens by their wings or legs,” Ms. Damerow advises.

Do any of those points pose an issue for people?

“No. These circumstances seem to consequence from malfunctioning metabolism. They don’t have an effect on the security of the meat.

“These of us who develop our personal hen for meat can simply keep away from these points, even when we select to boost white Cornish Cross chickens. Personally, I favor Cornish Cross broilers as an alternative choice to turkey.

“Lots of people go for coloured Cornish Cross chickens, that are notably standard as pastured meat birds. Most strains have crimson plumage, like Murray’s Massive Purple Broiler and Ginger Broiler. These chickens develop extra slowly. They due to this fact don’t expertise all the identical points that have an effect on Cornish Cross meat birds.

“Another choice appeals to these of us who additionally hold chickens for eggs. Most of the Heritage chickens, together with the American Bresse, are dual-purpose meat-and-egg breeds. Aside from for roasting complete, on our farm, we sometimes course of a big breed like New Hampshire or Buff Orpington. We put the excess cockerels within the freezer and reserve the pullets as future layers.”



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