WG1 – Improving Assessment of KBD

Leader (I Dunn, UK, ian.dunn@roslin.ed.ac.uk)

Replacement leader (A Stratmann, Switzerland, Ariane.stratmann@vetsuisse.unibe.ch)


The first objective of WG1 (WG1a) will serve to coordinate efforts in developing a suite of techniques capable of identifying KBD with a level of accuracy, sensitivity, and detail that meets the needs of the study environment and purpose. Within this objective, researchers will share their ongoing efforts in developing methods that can be performed on-farm (e.g., palpation, portable radiography) as well as more technologically advanced means suited for laboratories that can provide greater qualitative detail (e.g., computed tomography, histology).

A secondary objective (WG1b) will seek to harmonize the various assessment efforts developed by researchers.  Palpation of live birds is by far the most common method used to assess KBD as it is inexpensive, validated, and can be conducted in live birds on-farm. Unfortunately, palpation is unable to provide data for underlying bone properties (e.g., cell structure, mineral content) or even a valid visual image which is essential to objectively assess the nature and severity of damage. In contrast, computed tomography or histology provide detailed information though are expensive, logistically complicated (vs. palpation), and typically require the hen to be culled preventing longitudinal assessments. Taken together, WG1b will serve to link the low- and high-technology methods so that characteristics easily observed in the former (e.g., fracture size, deviations with sharp bends) can now be associated with the more detailed characteristics of the latter (e.g., damaged cell structure, mineralization).