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Research Note: Evaluation of the incidence of white striping and underlying myopathic abnormalities affected by fast weight gain in commercially fed broiler chickens.

  • Author(s): Vanhatalo, Oona E;
  • Henderson, John D;
  • De La Torre, Ubaldo;
  • Garrity, Carissa R;
  • Pechanec, Monica Y;
  • Mienaltowski, Andrew;
  • King, Annie J;
  • Mienaltowski, Michael J
  • et al.

Significant improvements in genetics, nutrition, and food efficiency have had a great impact on the rapid growth of broilers, notably with increases in muscle mass. However, with rapid growth, the broiler industry has been negatively impacted by the increased incidence of myopathies, including white striping. White striping affects the pectoralis major muscle of broilers, particularly the larger breasts of rapidly growing modern commercial broiler lines. In this study, we documented the growth process of commercial broiler chickens from hatching to market weight at 6 wk. Gross pathology and histopathology analyses were performed on pectoralis major muscle collected weekly from birds culled from 1 to 6 wk. The severity of both gross and histologic pathologies in the breast muscle increased over time. White striping was initially observed at week 2, with a rise in the incidence and severity through the sixth week. Mild histopathology was noted in week 2, characterized by macrophage infiltration and limited phagocytosis of the muscle. Muscle condition deteriorated with age and weight gain, with more prevalent macrophages, phagocytosis, and interstitial fibroblasts. By week 5 and 6, there was severe myopathy including regions of obliterated muscle tissue. Linear regression models show a positive correlation between white striping, gross pathology, and histopathology relative to weight and age.

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