Biomechanics of landing in injured and uninjured chickens and the role of meloxicam

Nienke van Staaveren, Bret W. Tobalske, Jacob Brost, Rahul Sharma, Hugues Beaufrère, Audrey Elias, Alexandra Harlander-Matauschek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Birds use their legs and wings when transitioning from aerial to ground locomotion during landing. To improve our understanding of the effects of footpad dermatitis (FPD) and keel bone fracture (KBF) upon landing biomechanics in laying hens, we measured ground-reaction forces generated by hens (n = 37) as they landed on force plates (Bertec Corporation, Columbus, OH) from a 30 cm drop or 170 cm jump in a single-blinded placebo-controlled trial using a cross-over design where birds received an anti-inflammatory (meloxicam, 5 mg/kg body mass) or placebo treatment beforehand. We used generalized linear mixed models to test for effects of health status, treatment and their interaction on landing velocity (m/s), maximum resultant force (N), and impulse (force integrated with respect to time [N s]). Birds with FPD and KBF tended to show divergent alterations to their landing biomechanics when landing from a 30 cm drop, with a higher landing velocity and maximum force in KBF compared to FPD birds, potentially indicative of efforts to either reduce the use of their wings or impacts on inflamed footpads. In contrast, at 170 cm jumps fewer differences between birds of different health statuses were observed likely due to laying hens being poor flyers already at their maximum power output. Our results indicate that orthopedic injuries, apart from being welfare issues on their own, may have subtle influences on bird mobility through altered landing biomechanics that should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102794
Pages (from-to)102794
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • footpad dermatitis
  • ground-reaction force
  • keel bone fracture
  • landing velocity
  • Meloxicam
  • Bone and Bones
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone/veterinary
  • Chickens/injuries


Dive into the research topics of 'Biomechanics of landing in injured and uninjured chickens and the role of meloxicam'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this