Reliability and validity of a modified gait scoring system and its use in assessing tibial dyschondroplasia in broilers

Br Poult Sci. 2002 Jul;43(3):355-63. doi: 10.1080/00071660120103620.


1. The gait scoring system for broilers developed by Kestin et al. (Veterinary Record, 131: 190-194, 1992) has been widely used to evaluate leg problems. The many factors and measures associated with this scale have empirically established its external (biological) validity. However, published test-retest (within-observer) reliabilities are poor, and inter-observer reliabilities are unknown. We evaluated several modifications to this scale aimed at improving its objectivity and reliability. 2. Eighteen naïve observers scored a standardised video of birds exhibiting varying degrees of lameness, either using Kestin et al.'s system, or our modified system. 3. Test-retest reliability (0.906) for Kestin et al.'s system was higher than previously reported. Inter-rater reliability was also good (0.892). The modified system offered significantly better test-retest (0.948) and inter-rater reliabilities (0.943), without incurring costs in terms of time taken or difficulty of use. The systems were consistent, assigning individual birds the same score on average. 4. It is concluded that the modified system offers the advantages of reduced error within and between studies. 5. In a second experiment, we used our modified scoring system to examine the relationship between tibial dyschondroplasia (TD) and gait score in 267 selected broilers. 6. Neither the presence nor severity of TD affected gait score, suggesting that, at least in this strain of broilers, other leg problems like slipped tendons or torsional deformities had more influence on gait impairment than did TD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chickens*
  • Gait*
  • Lameness, Animal / diagnosis
  • Male
  • Observer Variation
  • Osteochondrodysplasias / diagnosis
  • Osteochondrodysplasias / pathology
  • Osteochondrodysplasias / physiopathology
  • Osteochondrodysplasias / veterinary*
  • Poultry Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Poultry Diseases / pathology
  • Poultry Diseases / physiopathology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tibia
  • Videotape Recording