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Investigation of palpation as a method for determining the prevalence of keel and furculum damage in laying hens
  1. L. J. Wilkins, HNC, MIBiol,
  2. S. N. Brown, HNC, MIBiol, ILTM,
  3. P. H. Zimmerman, MSc, PhD,
  4. C. Leeb, Drmedvet, DiplTzt, MRCVS and
  5. C. J. Nicol, MA, DPhil1
  1. 1 Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Bristol BS40 5DU

Abstract

Old breaks of the keel and furculum were identified by palpation in 500 end-of-lay hens from 10 flocks housed in free-range and barn systems, and the results were compared with the results obtained by a full dissection and inspection. The method was considered to be sufficiently precise to be used as a diagnostic tool although people using it would need to be trained. The results obtained by dissection indicated that 50 to 78 per cent of the birds in the flocks had breaks of the furculum and keel, but no other breaks of bones were detected.

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