Severe pododermatitis is a common lesion in turkeys, unlike in broiler chickens. Both dietary factors (soybean meal, biotin, methionine) and poor litter conditions (wet litter) are documented etiologies of footpad lesions. In the United States and United Kingdom both farm managers and processors monitor lesions. The United Kingdom reports an average footpad relative score higher than that of the United States. In both countries, incidence in toms is higher than in hens. There is no significant difference by country. Data support no consistent association with other lesions (i.e., breast blisters or condemnations), breed, or performance parameters (i.e., weight gain or age). The litter type used in the United Kingdom is either straw or wood shavings, whereas in the United States producers predominantly use wood shavings. In the United Kingdom, diets are formulated with a higher protein, which affects the excreta and subsequent litter conditions. British United Turkey is the predominate breed in the United Kingdom. In the United States, three breeds, British United Turkey of America, hybrid, and Nicholas, are common. Recent research has demonstrated the association between biotin levels and pododermatitis. Factors associated with pododermatitis (such as production systems, wet litter, and stocking density) are discussed. There are some indications that increased stocking density is associated with pododermatitis lesions. Further research is needed to identify what management factors are associated with pododermatitis.
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Vol. 46 • No. 4