Gait Score, Latency-to-Lie and their Association with Body Weight and Morphometric Measurements in Light and Heavy Genotypes of Domestic Turkey
Locomotion problems limit access to drinkers and feeders with a resultant effect on birds' survival and productivity. In this study, gait score (GS), latency-to-lie (LTL) and their association with body weight (BWT) and morphometric traits in light weight (Nigerian Local, NL) and heavy weight (Nicholas White, NW) strains of turkeys were evaluated. A total of two hundred day-old Nigerian local and Nicholas white poults were used for the study. Gait of poults were scored at 4, 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age using Kestin gait scoring system. Other parameters measured include latency-to-lie, body weight and morphometric traits at 4, 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. The results showed that poults with normal walking ability (GS=0) in the light strain Nigerian local declined slightly from 88.4 percent at week 4 to 85.0 percent at week 16, while poults with normal walking ability (GS=0) in Nicholas white declined from 81.1 at week 4 to 16.4 percent at week 16, respectively. The GS of Nicholas White was higher (p<0.05) than that of NL at 8 and 16 weeks of age. The LTL values decreased (1310.1- 555.7 seconds) with the age of birds and were higher (p<0.05) in NL at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. Correlation (r =-0.256 to 0.278) between BWT and GS was significant (p<0.05) at weeks 8 and 12 in NW and at weeks 12 and 16 in NL. BWT was correlated (p<0.05) with body girth, keel length, femur length, shank diameter and Tibia Metatarsus in both genotypes. There was significant correlation (p<0.05) between LTL and GS (r= -0.36 to -0.87), BWT and LTL (r= -0.24 to 0.31), BWT and LM traits (r= 0.56 to 0.96) in both genotypes. It was concluded that GS and LTL are influenced by genotype and age of poults.
Key words: correlation, linear measurement, Nicholas White, Nigerian local, walking ability