Flooring Challenge Systems Expose Susceptibility to Lameness



High incidences of lameness occasionally develop in flocks of rapidly growing commercial chickens. Lameness includes all birds that become unwilling or unable to walk due to a variety of innate or induced pathologies affecting their musculoskeletal systems. In the past, lameness has been difficult to trigger at significant levels in research flocks, hindering the development and testing of prophylactic or therapeutic treatments.



We found that flooring materials that induce unstable or insecure footing cause added torque, stress and strain on key leg joints, thereby exacerbating and accelerating the development of BCO (Bacterial Chondronecrosis with Osteomyelitis) lesions and clinical lameness. We designed and tested a variety of flooring challenge systems arranged in different configurations that were likely to cause footing instability and thereby challenge the key joints of the legs. Our "flooring challenge system" induces significant levels of lameness in experimental flocks of broilers.



Our flooring challenge systems induce broilers to express significantly higher levels of lameness when compared with broilers reared on traditional floor litter. Our systems are portable and can be adapted to a wide range of floor pen sizes, so selection for resistance to lameness can be conducted on a commercially practical scale.


This technology has been validated by major poultry companies and can be used to screen both genetics and products for poultry health.




For additional information on this technology and opportunities for licensing contact our office (reference number 2011-24)


Patent Information:
App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date
Divisional United States 14/740,513 6/16/2015    
Animal Agriculture
For Information, Contact:
Bryan Renk
Associate Director for Technology Commercialization
University of Arkansas TCO
Robert Wideman
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