Feather corticosterone evaluated by ELISA in broilers: A potential tool to evaluate broiler welfare

A. Carbajal, O. Tallo-Parra, M. Sabes-Alsina, I. Mular, M. Lopez-Bejar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Poultry Science Association Inc. The measure of corticosterone (CoRT) in feathers has been recently recognized as a valid and easily obtainable measure of chronic glucocorticoids secretion in avian species. This measure provides meaningful interpretations of how individuals respond to environmental perturbations. The growing interest of the public toward animal-food production welfare shows the need for improving and expanding objective tools to evaluate this issue. The present study evaluates whether it is possible to detect CoRT in broiler feathers, and thus, assess if it would be a useful measure to study broiler welfare. Twenty-two broilers were randomly selected from an intensive farm. Four to 6 dorsal feathers were collected from each bird, and sex, weight, and morphological aspects of feather status were recorded. We tested the feasibility for detecting CoRT in broiler feathers by ELISA, which had never been done before, and an assay validation test was performed. No significant relationships were found between feather CoRT concentrations and physiological variables such as sex, weight, and fault bars in broilers. To our knowledge, this is the first study that uses broiler feathers as a matrix that provides a retrospective record of their hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activity. Results indicate that ELISA is a valid tool to detect feather CoRT levels in broilers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2884-2886
JournalPoultry Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Broiler
  • Corticosterone
  • Feather
  • Welfare


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