Bacteria link to lame broilers
Arkansas Univeristy researchers have identified a species of bacteria never before associated with lameness in broiler chickens, bringing scientists closer to finding a way to prevent infections.
Using genetic tools and chickens raised on wire flooring, the research team determined the bacterium Staphylococcus agnetis is significantly involved with a condition leading to lameness in broiler chickens.
Douglas Rhoads, University Professor of biological sciences and director of the Cell and Molecular Biology interdisciplinary graduate program at the universoity, said the bacteria had been associated with inflammation of the mammary gland in cattle but not in the legs of broiler chickens.
“Lameness causes the chickens to suffer and the diseased birds are not fit for human consumption. Rough estimates are that lameness in the Arkansas poultry industry could cost growers about $20 million a year due the loss of birds,” Rhoads said. "This is the first report of this poorly described pathogen in chickens."
Bob Wideman, professor of poultry science at the U of A, had shown that growing young broilers on wire flooring is a contributing factor to lameness in broiler chickens.
“This study, which included Wideman, shows that S. agnetis is also a contributing factor for lameness in those chickens,” Rhoads said.¡