Increased mortality occurred among males in a house of 26-wk-old broiler breeders. A severe impaction of the lower intestinal tract, because of litter, was found on necropsy in two of three recently dead cockerels. Litter could be seen in the markedly distended vent of the most affected bird. This bird also had feces and litter in the body cavity because of a ruptured small intestine. Both birds had extensive urate and fecal soiling of feathers around the vent. Other visceral organs were normal except for lack of fat around the base of the heart and decreased myocardial tone. Impaction of the lower intestinal tract in these birds most likely resulted from eating litter because of a change in feeding regimen, which caused confusion and feed competition among male birds.
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