Latest News


New PhD position at the University of Bern

We are currently looking to recruit for a 3 year PhD position focusing on comparison and development of behavioural observation… read more »


A new Masters student at the University of Bern.

As part of an STSM with KeelBoneDamage Net, Ms. Vivian Witjes of Ultrecht University will be doing a 4 month… read more »


Keelbone damage lecture for poultry producers in Slovakia

On Tuesday, November 27th, annual seminar of the Union of the Slovak Poultry Producers took place at the foot of High… read more »


A Training School covering avian bone histology and a WG Meeting on the causes of KBD

Dear Action CA15224 participant, The Action is in the process of organizing two back to back events (A Training School… read more »

Assessing keel bone damage in laying hens by palpation: effects of assessor experience on accuracy, inter-rater agreement and intra-rater consistency

In a recent study published in Poultry Science, researchers from Belgium, the Netherlands, and the UK describe that experience improves the accuracy of keel bone damage assessment by palpation, but only to a minor extent. Depending on the type of keel bone damage, experienced assessors classified an additional 4-12% of the keels correctly compared to inexperienced assessors. After minimal experience gained within the experiment (that is, assessing 50 hens) both previously inexperienced and experienced assessors scored deviations and medial fractures correctly in approximately 80% of the cases. Thus, although palpation accuracy was not perfect, even minimal experience with palpation techniques can lead to a relatively accurate assessment of deviations and medial fractures. In contrast, assessment of fractures of the caudal tip of the keel bone had a poor accuracy. Inexperienced assessors classified only 29% of the keels correctly, and although experienced assessors did somewhat better their accuracy was still too low for reliable application (41% correct). Unless this can be improved (for instance by better training methods) palpation cannot be recommended as a technique to assess caudal fractures.
The article is available open-access at