A new method for assessing the severity of lameness in broiler chickens is described. The length of time that birds remained standing in shallow water was measured and the results were compared with the results of conventional gait scoring. There was a highly significant (P<0.001) relationship between the birds' gait scores and their latency to lie down. Over 750 broilers aged between 32 and 45 days of age were tested in commercial houses and whereas nearly all the sound birds were able to stand for at least 15 minutes, the majority of lame birds lay down within five minutes.
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