Locomotor biomechanics

At the Royal Veterinary College, we collect experimental data on 3D limb orientations, motions and forces in order to characterise how broilers walk, stand and sit across ontogeny (at 2, 4 and 6 weeks of age).  Using the latest technology available to us within the Structure & Motion Laboratory (facilities for studying biomechanics of locomotion), we are able to accurately measure skeletal motions (using “X-Ray Analysis of Moving Morphology” or XROMM— details here), and we also use motion capture software, high speed video cameras and force platforms to build a detailed, three-dimensional picture of broiler locomotion.

Our set-up… XROMM, high speed video and two small forceplates

We will combine these data with computer tomographic (CT) scanning to create anatomically-realistic computer simulations of standing and walking to reveal links between the broiler chicken’s anatomy, walking ability and potential causes of lameness. Why do chickens like the one below develop problems walking, or deformities like “twisted toe” pathology? We seek to uncover the role that the anatomy and physics involved with locomotion play in causing — and thus the potential to prevent — such problems.