Vargas-Galicia, A. J., Sosa-Montes, E. Rodríguez-Ortega, L. T. et al. 2017. Effect of litter material and stocking density on bone and tendon strength, and productive performance in broilers. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 97(4), 673-682.
Litter material and stocking density were evaluated on welfare-related variables and productive performance in broilers. Male chicks (n = 744, “Ross 308” strain) were raised on either tezontle (TEZ) or wood shavings (WS) litter, with a stocking density of either 13 (LDe) or 18 (HDe) birds m−2. Twenty-four birds per treatment were randomly selected to assess: tibia breaking strength (TiBS) and tendon breaking strength (TeBS) at day 45, and foot pad lesions (FPL) and valgus/varus angulation (VAng) at days 25, 32, and 39 of age. The TiBS was higher in birds housed at LDe than in those housed at HDe. Chickens on WS litter showed higher TeBS than those on TEZ litter. Birds in the TEZ–LDe group had lower values of FPL and VAng at day 32 than birds in the other groups. Birds in the WS–LDe group had less VAng at days 25 and 39 compared with birds in the other groups. Productive performance was higher (P < 0.05) in birds housed at LDe than in those housed at HDe. In conclusion, TEZ along with low stocking density reduced FPL, however, TEZ negatively affected TeBS, whereas WS litter improved TeBS and VAng.