Footpad lesions are considered an important indicative parameter for broiler welfare and the systematic assessment of the occurrence ratio of footpad lesions in processed flocks is becoming part of regulations in many countries.
In many processing facilities this monitoring is done by a manual time consuming check of two random samples of 50 feet each. A specially trained employee then scores the feet based on the Swedish score card. However, this manual check can result in inconsistencies in grading as a result of human interpretation. Furthermore, the sample size is too small to give a good statistical representation of the flock and can therefore not be used as valid feedback and control mechanism.
Situated in the slaughtering line, the Meyn footpad inspection system automatically detects the occurrence of lesions by means of digital imaging. The control software will grade each footpad in one of three classes according to the Swedish Animal Welfare scorecard which is based on color and size of lesion. For each flock, the percentage per class is calculated and registered. All flocks are stored in a database, which can be used for creating reports.
The reports can be used as a tool for feedback to the farmers about the status of their flocks. This can help to improve animal welfare conditions in the breeding house. In the end, a chicken or flock that has been raised under optimal conditions, will be healthier and can be associated with better yield results.