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Research Update: effect of different types of slotted flooring on turkey performance



By: Gabriella Furo
Research Assistant, Department of Animal Science, University of Minnesota

Slotted flooring (SF) systems in poultry houses have a great potential to reduce energy costs and more importantly improve the bird performance. These flooring systems separate excreta from the birds which has several potential benefits. However previous studies indicated if the entire floor in the turkey house is covered by a slotted system, the breast blisters may increase. Therefore there is a need for investigating the effects of a partially slotted floor (PSF) system for rearing turkeys. The objective of this initiated project is to determine if PSF affects breast blisters/buttons, foot pad dermatitis and feather cleanliness. The PSF consists of 25% of the floor with SF and wood shavings for remaining floor area. Comparison is made to an all bedded control. Five different SF are being examined: Double L Classic Red Rooster (0.75”x2.5” rectangular); SW Ag Plastics Dura-slat (1.1”x1.1” square), SW Ag Plastics; Tenderfoot Calf Mesh (0.875”x2.18” rectangular); and, Tenderfoot 1” squares.

Data to be collected includes incidence and severity of footpad dermatitis (0-healthy, 2- deep and/or severe lesions), gait score (0- no impairment, 5- complete lameness), feather cleanliness score (0-clean, 3- very dirty), breast blisters/buttons (0- none, 3- excessively large). Performance measures include weight, feed intake, feed conversion, litter characteristics, and processing plant trim. After this first trial raising tom turkeys from 5 to 18 wks of age, additional studies will be conducted to confirm appropriate type of flooring or to explore other types of flooring.

*Funding for this project is provided from the State of Minnesota and with support by USDA-NIFA. The project team consists of Dr. Kevin Janni (kjanni@umn.edu), Dr. Sally Noll (nollx001@umn.edu), Dr. Carol Cardona, and Gabi Furo. Staff support provided by Brian Hetchler, Jeanine Brannon, Fred Hrbek, Gary Backes, and Scott Welch.

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