Article

Welfare Quality® assessment of a fast-growing and a slower-growing broiler hybrid, reared until 10 weeks and fed a low-protein, high-protein or mussel-meal diet

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Abstract

Animal welfare is an important aspect of organic broiler (OB) production which involves e.g. up to twice the rearing period compared with conventional production and feedstuffs without prophylactic additives or synthetic amino acids. As market demand for organic broiler meat increases, the formerly modest OB production in Sweden is now rapidly increasing and research is needed to support this development. It is essential to use genotypes that adapt well to the rearing environment, in order to achieve satisfactory animal welfare. Health problems related to fast growth rate are a common animal welfare issue in modern broilers and this applies to systems with long rearing periods. In this study, the Welfare Quality® assessment protocol for poultry was used for assessment of lameness, contact dermatitis, cleanliness, thermal comfort, litter quality and the human-animal relationship in two modern broiler genotypes; the fast-growing Ross 308 (R) and the slower-growing Rowan Ranger (RR). In total, 645 day-old chicks (328 R and 317 RR) were reared until 10 weeks of age, which is the rearing period formerly used in organic production in Sweden, and fed a low-protein (L), high-protein (H) or mussel-meal (M) diet containing 14.5%, 17.0% or 15.6% crude protein, respectively. Broiler welfare was assessed on three occasions (at weeks 2, 6 and 9). The results showed rapid deterioration in welfare for fast-growing broilers when kept beyond 6 weeks. Mortality rate and incidence of lameness and contact dermatitis increased and litter quality, thermal comfort and plumage cleanliness decreased. Indications of poor welfare were also observed in the slower-growing hybrid, but to a lesser extent and later during rearing. Diet type only had minor effects on bird welfare, although R birds grew faster on the M diet. Thus the slower-growing RR hybrid is preferable to the fast-growing broiler type in production systems with a long rearing period. However, the RR growth rate can be regarded as moderate and, to avoid health problems related to fast growth rate, hybrids that grow even more slowly should be considered for OB production systems with a long rearing period.

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... Mild signs of HB were observed in 13% of all chickens, whereas the remaining animals assessed had no signs of HB. Similar results were found in earlier studies on slower-growing hybrids, however these were reared under experimental conditions with [15,42] or without [43,44] winter-garden or outdoor access. The absence of moderate and severe HB lesions is in contrast to some earlier findings [42,43], but in agreement with others [44]. ...
... Similar results were found in earlier studies on slower-growing hybrids, however these were reared under experimental conditions with [15,42] or without [43,44] winter-garden or outdoor access. The absence of moderate and severe HB lesions is in contrast to some earlier findings [42,43], but in agreement with others [44]. ...
... However, there was no significant correlation between FPD prevalence and BW, which is in agreement with some earlier studies [49,51], but in contrast with others [47,50]. FPD and HB have been associated with different genotypes [31,43,47,49,51,52], with a significantly lower prevalence in slower-compared with fast-growing chickens [43,44,47,49,50,53]. The latter, in combination with more physical activity, lower stocking densities and overall good indoor environments, may contribute to the relatively good foot health in these birds, despite the challenges associated with the Nordic climate. ...
... Mild signs of HB were observed in 13% of all chickens, whereas the remaining animals assessed had no signs of HB. Similar results were found in earlier studies on slower-growing hybrids, however these were reared under experimental conditions with [15,42] or without [43,44] winter-garden or outdoor access. The absence of moderate and severe HB lesions is in contrast to some earlier findings [42,43], but in agreement with others [44]. ...
... Similar results were found in earlier studies on slower-growing hybrids, however these were reared under experimental conditions with [15,42] or without [43,44] winter-garden or outdoor access. The absence of moderate and severe HB lesions is in contrast to some earlier findings [42,43], but in agreement with others [44]. ...
... However, there was no significant correlation between FPD prevalence and BW, which is in agreement with some earlier studies [49,51], but in contrast with others [47,50]. FPD and HB have been associated with different genotypes [31,43,47,49,51,52], with a significantly lower prevalence in slower-compared with fast-growing chickens [43,44,47,49,50,53]. The latter, in combination with more physical activity, lower stocking densities and overall good indoor environments, may contribute to the relatively good foot health in these birds, despite the challenges associated with the Nordic climate. ...
Article
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Slower-growing broilers on organic farms have replaced fast-growing hybrids to increase bird welfare. Due to limited knowledge of broiler welfare and management on organic farms in Sweden, the study aim was to gather information regarding health, housing and management routines, in order to describe the current situation on these. Farm visits performed in 2018 included 8 out of 12 established organic farms, on which either Rowan Ranger or HubbardJA57/HubbardJA87 were reared. Chickens in the observed flocks were 55 ± 6 (44–62) days of age. Observations included farmer interviews, indoor environment assessments, clinical examinations and gait scoring. Clinical examinations revealed no severe remarks, however minor to moderate plumage dirtiness, food pad dermatitis and hock burns were found in 47%, 21% and 13% of the birds, respectively. Although no severe walking impairments were observed, minor to moderate gait abnormalities were seen in two-thirds of the birds. Gait in birds assessed outdoors was significantly better than in birds observed indoors. Body weight uniformity was low in all flocks. This study provides increased knowledge of certain chicken health and welfare aspects, housing and management on Swedish organic farms. Future research should further investigate important aspects related to bird welfare, such as the high mortality rates observed.
... Impaired locomotor activity, in turn, compromises the development of the skeletal system (Bizeray et al. 2000;Bessei 2006). Wilhelmsson (2019) demonstrated that a fast-growing commercial Ross strain had a significantly poorer ability to walk and higher percentage of culls due to leg weakness compared to the slower-growing Rowan Range, and Bizeray et al. (2000) found significant differences in locomotory behaviour and time budgets between young commercial broilers and young birds from the slower-growing Label Rouge strain. Kestin et al. (1992) developed a six-point scoring system which is commonly utilised to assess walking ability in broilers, where '0' describes a bird having a normal gait, and '5' a bird incapable of walking. ...
... Allain et al. (2009) reported deeper footpad lesions in a fast-growing compared to a slower-growing genotype. Fast-growing birds spend more time sitting, less time walking and perching, and perform less locomotor activity compared to slower-growing birds (Bokkers and Koene 2003;Wilhelmsson et al. 2019), which, in turn, has been linked to the increased incidence of contact dermatitis (Bessei 2006). ...
... Many studies have recommended that slower-growing strains should be used which do not have the welfare problems of the current commercial strains including leg weakness and metabolic diseases (Wilhelmsson et al. 2019). Slower-growing breeds have lower mortality, less incidence of leg weakness and cardiovascular diseases, and generally improved welfare (Bessei 2006). ...
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The genetic selection of broilers over the past 60 years has focused narrowly and intensely on production traits, namely growth rate and feed efficiency. This has led to significant welfare problems in birds grown for meat, including leg disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and resulting high mortality rates, while the breeder birds are subjected to severe feed restriction. Bone problems such as bacterial chondronecrosis and tibia dyschondroplasia are prevalent, and recent studies have reported the prevalence of birds with moderate to severe gait impairment to be between 5.5 and 48.8%. Worldwide, over 66 billion broilers are slaughtered annually. This huge scale of meat chicken production means that welfare problems are widespread and are likely to increase in severity due to the increasing global human population, increasing demand for meat, and a continued focus on efficiency of production in the agricultural sector. The commercial broiler industry therefore represents some of the most serious animal welfare issues in agriculture. There is an urgent need to address these problems by making welfare traits high priorities in breeding programmes and integrating these with other breeding goals. Many studies recommend the use of slower-growing breeds that do not have the same welfare problems. Addressing these welfare issues is essential to improve bird welfare and for social acceptability and sustainability of the broiler industry worldwide.
... This should greatly help to overcome some of the detrimental animal welfare issues of intensive broiler production (Bessei, 2006). Many studies have already pointed out the welfare benefits of raising slow or medium growth strains with respect to fast growth strains (Wilhelmsson et al., 2019;Dixon, 2020;Rayner et al., 2020;Dawson et al., 2021;Torrey et al., 2021). These advantages have just started to be objectively confirmed in experimental farms representing production systems evaluating fast and slow growth broiler strains (Rayner et al., 2020;Dawson et al., 2021;Torrey et al., 2021). ...
... Fast growth has been associated to several important welfare concerns (Bassler et al., 2013). Among others, fast growth is known to cause increased bone disorders and pathologies leading to lameness (Shim et al., 2012;Wilhelmsson et al., 2019), and of immune-related problems (Cheema et al., 2003). The differences among fast and slow growth birds show that, even if health status has improved for fast growth birds, still they show a reduced welfare status when compared to slower growth birds. ...
Article
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A combined welfare assessment protocol, including indicators from the Welfare Quality ® and AWIN ® EU funded projects, was tested on commercial fast and medium growth commercial broiler flocks to determine differences in their assessments as measured with the used of animal welfare indicators. Ten commercial fast (Ross 308, Cobb 500, or a mix of both) and 10 medium growth (Hubbard JA×Ross 308), mixed sex commercial flocks were assessed at 32 and 48 days of age, respectively. Two observers simultaneously collected data on each flock. Observations included transect walks on central and wall areas to assess the AWIN ® welfare indicators, bedding quality, environmental parameters and positive behaviors, all of them collected with the i-WatchBroiler app. According to the WQ protocol, welfare assessment indicators including the human avoidance tests, gait score, body weight and hock burns were also measured on each flock. Novel object tests were also carried out. The results of the study show that fast growth flocks had a higher incidence of welfare issues shown by the higher percentage of immobile, lame, sick, featherless, and tail wounded birds. Positive behaviors such as play fighting, wing flapping and running were more frequently observed in medium growth flocks on central locations, while fast growth flocks had a more limited expression of such behaviors. Fast growth flocks also had worse gait scores. Medium growth flocks expressed a different response to behavioral tests depending on the house location, likely attributable to their better mobility and welfare state, and also to the smaller stocking densities at which they were housed, while on the other hand the behavior of fast growth broilers during tests was similar regardless house location, being likely affected by mobility problems and the higher stocking density specific to their management. These results provide quantitative evidences on the differences in animal welfare assessment outcomes in fast and medium growth broilers. Nevertheless, results also suggest that some of the test responses were associated with the physical state and movement ability of the birds and house location that limit their response capacity. Such limitations should be considered when interpreting animal welfare assessment outcomes. These results add to previously published scientific evidences showing the potential of the method and app technology for practical on-farm broiler welfare assessment, including positive indicators, with farmers, technical personnel, certification bodies or scientist as potential end-users.
... Gait defects, from slight changes to obvious lameness and lack of mobility, is a welfare issue in global broiler production (Knowles et al., 2008;Wilhelmsson et al., 2019). The modern broiler chicken has undergone sustained selection for high productivity by rapid growth and achievement of a high body weight (Liu et al., 2006). ...
... Even without clear conclusions on pain involvement, the present findings of reduced locomotor ability in the broilers of GS2, confirm that impaired walking ability is a challenge for the welfare of commercial broilers (Knowles et al., 2008;Wilhelmsson et al., 2019) and suggest that birds of gait scores <3 are also negatively affected. Studies have shown that 30%-44% of fast-growing broilers in conventional broiler production have gait defects corresponding to a gait score of 2 (Knowles et al., 2008;Souza et al., 2015;Kittelsen et al., 2017;Tahamtani et al., 2018), making the knowledge gathered from the present study highly relevant. ...
Article
Gait defects, assessed as gait score (GS), is a common welfare problem in broiler chicken production. The aim of this study was to examine whether birds with GS2 experience pain and poor locomotor ability compared to birds of lower GS. From day 0–27 of age, 600 Ross 308 birds were housed in simulated commercial conditions (stocking density 40 kg/m²). On day 27, all birds were gait scored and 192 birds (4 blocks of 48 birds) were selected as experimental birds based on gait score (GS0 or GS2). On day 28, a runway test with and without obstacles was performed to examine the locomotor ability of the birds. Approximately 3 h before testing, the experimental birds were injected with the NSAID carprofen (25 mg/kg s.c.) or saline (equivalent volume). A Conditioned Place Preference (CPP) test was conducted on day 38, after 4 days of conditioning to a chamber (70 × 70 cm; painted either green with vertical stripes or orange with horizontal stripes) after injection with carprofen or saline. The broilers were expected to show a preference for the place in which they experienced a positive emotional state as induced by the mitigation of pain by carprofen. In the runway test, GS0 birds reached the end of the runway with obstacles faster compared to GS2 birds (P = 0.04) and tended to be faster than GS1 birds (P = 0.08). No effect of carprofen was found on the behaviour in the runway and no effect of GS on the behaviour in the runway without obstacles. In the CPP test, there was no effect of GS or carprofen on chamber preference (P > 0.05). The results showed clear differences between birds of GS2 and lower GSs in terms of locomotor response in the runway, indicating that locomotor ability was compromised with increased GS. The results could not confirm whether these differences in locomotor ability are related to or due to increased pain with increased GS.
... According to Tahamtani et al. (2018), lameness was less prevalent and severe in Danish organic broiler systems relative to conventional production. In a recent Swedish study by Wilhelmsson et al. (2019), the same trend was found for lameness as well as for other clinical health problems including mortality rate, contact dermatitis and plumage cleanliness. Indications of poor welfare were observed in the slower-growing hybrid compared to a fast-growing hybrid but to a lesser extent and later during rearing (Wilhelmsson et al. 2019). ...
... In a recent Swedish study by Wilhelmsson et al. (2019), the same trend was found for lameness as well as for other clinical health problems including mortality rate, contact dermatitis and plumage cleanliness. Indications of poor welfare were observed in the slower-growing hybrid compared to a fast-growing hybrid but to a lesser extent and later during rearing (Wilhelmsson et al. 2019). Sarica et al. (2014) found that FPD scores varied significantly between genotypes, with higher scores found in fastgrowing chickens. ...
Article
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This review aimed to systematically map and summarize the status of animal health and welfare in organic production. The prevalence of diseases and behavioural effects in organic dairy cow, beef cattle, sheep, pig, laying hen and broiler chicken were discussed in the context of the organic values and current knowledge on animal health and welfare. In total 166 peer-reviewed scientific publications between 2008 and 2020 were included. No strong evidence for neither inferior nor distinctly higher animal welfare in organic compared with conventional production could be supported. The welfare status of organic livestock is in general good in relation to the OIE definition of animal health and welfare. However, organic systems are still facing several challenges related to animal health and the arising of goal conflicts due to management and practical implications. Greater possibilities to perform species-specific behaviours in organic production systems , however, indicate that the organic standards offer a good framework for high animal welfare management. For organic dairy farmers, the main health problems are similar to those of non-organic farms; especially mastitis and lameness need improvement. Parasites, together with mastitis and lamb mortality, are important welfare issues in organic sheep production. Piglet mortality, leg problems, parasite load and increasing respiratory problems are of major relevance in organic pig production. For organic laying hens, major health challenges relate to feather pecking and cannibalism, parasites and possibilities to express species-specific behaviours. For organic broilers, dermatitis of footpads, hocks and breast are reported as main health issues.
... Nowadays, the slow-growing broiler breeders increased consumer interest by adding value to the meat qualities obtained using a specific rearing system adapted to the animal health, safety and welfare rules [19][20][21], although it is associated with increased production costs [22]. Previous studies found that slow-growing broilers adjust better to alternative rearing systems than fast-growing broilers [23] and have a superior meat quality corroborated with higher profitability [24][25][26]. ...
Article
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The effects of genotype and diet on growth performance, carcass traits and blood metabolites were investigated. The commercial Ross 308 (R) chickens genotype, a local Black Transylvanian Naked Neck (BTNN) breed, and their crosses were used in an 81-day study. A total of 720 one-d-old chicks were allotted into eight groups in a 4 × 2 factorial design with 4 genotypes: Rmale × Rfemale (R), BTNNmale × Rfemale (BTNN-R), BTNNmale × BTNNfemale (BTNN), Rmale × BTNNfemale (R-BTNN), and 2 diets: control and low-metabolisable energy (LME). Genotype affected performance parameters, namely body weight gain (BWG), feed intake (FI), energy intake (EI), feed conversion ratio (FCR), energy conversion ratio (ECR), and production efficiency factor (PEF), irrespective of growth phase (p < 0.05). Diet had no significant effect on overall BWG, EI, ECR and PEF, except that it increased FI and FCR. Genotype influenced the carcass and organ yields (p < 0.05), except bursa weight, while diet had no significant effect. Blood parameters (total cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, albumin and phosphorus) were affected only by genotype (p < 0.05). In summary, results show that from the two crossbreedings obtained between R and BTNN genotypes, the BTNN-R growth performance and carcass traits were superior to R-BTNN, even though both have had a similar improved plasma response. Lowering the ME level did not significantly affect the BWG but increased FI and FCR, whereas the production index was similar regardless of the genotype. Based on the present results, we concluded that the BTNN-R crosses are the most suitable for use in alternative rearing systems for slow-growing chickens.
... Given their relatively small size compared to west coast mussels, east coast mussels are not considered suitable for human consumption. However, recent projects areare evaluating their use as animal feed/feed supplements (Murphy 2019;Wagner et al., 2019;Wilhelmsson et al., 2019), and this is assumed to account for 10% of present use in Fig. 4a (Emilsson 2020). In the future, it is expected that feed products will be the primary product made from these smaller east coast mussels because of greater economic returns. ...
Article
Anthropogenic consumption of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) has pushed their respective planetary boundaries beyond a safe operating space causing environmental problems, and simultaneously, the depletion of finite mineral P resources is of growing concern. Previous research has found that marine biomass such as kelp, reed and mussels have a high potential for taking up N and P, which could potentially contribute both to alleviating environmental problems and recirculating P from marine environments back to human consumption systems. This paper thus examines these nutrient flows and the extent to which marine biomass can contribute to close the loop. The study utilizes an element flow analysis (EFA) to establish the mapping of N and P flows and explore plausible scenarios of biomass utilisation by 2030 and 2050 for P loop closure in Sweden. The current uptake of P and N through the seven marine biomass cases (mariculture of mussels on both the Swedish east and west coasts, kelp and ascidians and the harvest of wild oysters, beach-cast and reed) contributes to 1.1% and 0.3% respectively of the full loop closure (relative to 2016 loading). Approximately 22% of the total P (and 23% N) uptake (in the biomasses) is currently being used in products, while the rest remains unused. The plausible future scenario for 2050 expects to contribute to around 10% P and 2.8% N loop closure (relative to 2016) if all nutrients in the uptake are used.
... However, this is dependent on the nature of the specific welfare challenge and these variables may not always reveal compromised welfare states (eg animals selected for fast growth may have poorer health outcomes than slow growing counterparts). 135 Ideally, welfare states should be assessed using a combination of indicators including, but not limited to, behaviour, health, physiology, environment and psychology. 53,136 Not all animal welfare indicators are non-invasive, and therefore, monitoring methods should be selected based on both the expected benefits and potential impacts to the animal. ...
Article
As aquaculture continues to grow and intensify, there is an increasing public concern over the welfare of farmed fish. Stress and production-related pathologies and repressed growth are examples of the challenges facing aquaculture, and their impacts could be minimised by effective identification of the early signs of impaired welfare. Many welfare monitoring methods have been recommended; however, continuous and reliable welfare monitoring in aquaculture is not yet widespread and commonplace. The aim of this scoping review was to present an overview of the most recent developments in fish welfare assessments with a specific focus on practical translation to the aquaculture industry. A keyword-based search was undertaken to identify peer-reviewed papers published between 2014 and 2020 in which a novel method with the potential to be used for the assessment of fish welfare in aquaculture was introduced. The results were sorted into two categories: non-invasive and invasive methods. All methods were assessed for their advantages and disadvantages, potential applicability to aquaculture. Invasive methods were also ranked on their degree of impact. It is concluded that increased interest into fish welfare, in combination with more intelligent modern technology, has resulted in the development of newer and more refined alternatives to traditional methods of welfare assessment such as behaviour monitoring by 2D cameras and plasma cortisol evaluation. Although, in many cases, more research is needed before these methods are suitable for widespread industry use, studies that focus on increasing the precision, automation and practical applicability of these methods are a promising avenue for future research.
... Mussel farms have also been tested at several locations on the east coast of Sweden during the last decade (e.g., Sankt Anna, Hagby, and in the Stockholm archipelago). Due to the brackish conditions in the Baltic Proper, adult mussels are too small for human consumption, so other products such as feed for livestock or fish (Wilhelmsson et al., 2019) or organic fertilizer (Spångberg et al., 2013) Typically perceived as marine fouling and a nuisance, ascidians (Ciona intestinalis, a type of tunicate commonly known as sea squirts) are also seen as having significant biomass potential. Over the past few years, cultivation trials have been successful using mussel farming rigs on the west coast and a start-up is producing food products and driving the exploration of alternative potential uses such as fish feed (Hackl et al., 2018). ...
Article
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A blue-green bioeconomy revolution is underway in Europe, with particular attention being paid to the development of new or underutilized marine biomass resources. The wild harvest and mariculture of low-trophic non-fed species of marine biomass may be contributing to circular economies, the mitigation of environmental problems such as eutrophication and climate change through the uptake of nutrients and carbon, while also recovering finite phosphorus from marine coastal environments, thus contributing to food security. The present study provides a cradle-to-gate life cycle perspective on seven established or innovative/emerging marine biomass utilization cases in Sweden: mariculture of sugar kelp, blue mussels, and ascidians and the harvest of invasive Pacific oysters along the Skagerrak coast, the mariculture of blue mussels in the Baltic sea, the harvest of common reed in the Stockholm archipelago, and the harvest of beach-cast seaweed in Gotland. Results showed that the mariculture cases were found to contribute to eutrophication and climate impact mitigation (at gate). All cases were found to contribute to closing the loop on phosphorus by enabling recovery from marine or coastal environments, bridging marine-land flows, all while performing well from an environmental perspective with a relatively low cumulative energy demand and low carbon and nutrient footprints. This highlights the potential of low-trophic biomass to contribute to phosphorus security in the future, and demonstrates the value of industrial ecology tools such as LCA in support of this imminent Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Aquaculture, blue-green bioeconomy, close the loop, industrial ecology, marine biomass, phosphorus This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
... Secondly, at the time of the OVALI project, animal welfare was already a concern, but not as important as it is today. Since the end of the OVALI project, many efforts have been carried out both by SC operators to improve chicken welfare, such as the use of perches and natural light in chicken houses, the use of more robust genetic strains with lower growth rates, or improved stunning practices before slaughter [48][49][50]. At the same time, the pressure from NGOs for higher animal welfare has increased (e.g., the European Chicken Commitment approach [51]). ...
Article
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Sustainability is a challenging issue for livestock production, with many expectations from citizens and consumers. Thus, in order to improve existing production systems or design new ones, there is a need for sustainability assessment tools. We propose here a method based on a participatory approach to assess the sustainability of chicken supply chains. A participating group composed of various French stakeholders (poultry industry operators, research and development scientists, non-governmental organizations, etc.) was consulted to gather the various existing visions of sustainability. Each decision was validated by this group, and this resulted in the creation of a consensual assessment grid, based on economic, social, and environmental pillars, summarized in 9 goals, 28 criteria, and 45 indicators. Each item was weighted by the participating group according to their relative importance. The grid was then tested on two different French supply chains, producing either free-range or conventional standard chickens. The strengths, weaknesses, and improvement margins of each supply chain were identified. For conventional standard production, an improvement scenario was proposed, based on changes in chicken feed and the renovation of chicken houses. This new supply chain improved many criteria in the three pillars; such as economic competitiveness, European protein autonomy, social acceptance, and lower greenhouse gas emission. In conclusion, this method provides a robust and powerful tool to help stakeholders to start their own autonomous improvement process, and thus progress towards a more sustainable chicken production
... Slow-growing broilers experience better welfare , due to lower daily weight gain and altered morphological conformation, improved walking abilities (Corr et al., 2003;Wallenbeck et al., 2016), and higher active behaviour (Wallenbeck et al., 2016;Wilhelmsson et al., 2019). Moreover, slow-growing broilers exhibit lower mortality rates (Dixon, 2020) and similar (Sakkas et al., 2018) or improved immune responses (Giles et al., 2019). ...
Article
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The growing human population, changing dietary habits and intensifying competition between food and feed production underline the urgent need to explore novel sustainable production chains. In the past, the poultry sector has gained popularity due to its superior environmental and economic benefits comared to other livestock production systems. Therefore, it is of special interest to focus on refinement and innovation along the value chain to further improve the sector’s sustainability. One major issue is the transition towards sustainable protein sources in poultry feed. In this regard, insects are the secret rising stars. Insect species such as the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) and house fly (Musca domestica) have been proposed for farming as multifunctional mini-livestock for feed. One major property of these flies is that larvae can convert low-quality organic waste streams into valuable body mass containing high levels of high-quality protein and fat. Furthermore, the larvae are reported to have health- and welfare-promoting effects due to bioactive compounds and poultry having a natural interest in them. The aim of the current paper is to discuss the state-of-the-art of using black soldier fly and house fly larvae as components of poultry feed and to highlight knowledge gaps, future opportunities and challenges. Some first studies have focussed on the successful partial replacement of soybean meal or fishmeal by these insects on poultry performance. However, since the sector is still in its infancy several uncertainties remain to be addressed. More research is required on identifying optimal inclusion levels, clearly differentiating between insect products based on their nutritional value and health-stimulating effects, and comparing the potential of insect products across species.
... Taylor et al., 2017a,b). Studies showed that slowergrowing strains are better capable of making use of the extra space and a more diverse environment than fast-growing broiler strains (Wilhelmsson et al., 2019;Lindholm et al., 2016;Nielsen et al., 2003). This may be related to their physical inability to make use of the additional space and resources' variability, and does not exclude that they may still be motivated to use extra space and resources and the ability to perform (certain) natural behaviours. ...
Chapter
More than 60 billion of broilers are reared and slaughtered for meat production yearly. The majority of broilers worldwide is housed indoors in floor systems and is of a fast-growing breed. Welfare problems have been associated with their efficient growth, the rearing environment and flock management. Examples are impaired leg health and behavioural restriction (the inability to perform their species-specific behaviour). Breed (fast- or slow-growing), hatching environment, stocking density, light, litter, air quality and environmental enrichment all affect broiler welfare, although their interactive effects are often unclear. Prevalence of welfare problems is generally lower in ‘higher-welfare’ systems, involving a slower growing broiler strain, lower stocking density and environmental enrichment. There seems to be a trend towards implementation of these higher-welfare systems in Europe and the US, although there is currently little information on needs and preferences of slower-growing strains and welfare of broilers in different production systems.
... При этом частота встречаемости проблем конечностей связана со скоростью роста: хромота была выявлена у 85 % цыплятбройлеров быстрорастущего кросса. Птица «медленного» кросса оказалась более благополучна по этому признаку (до 27 % хромающих особей) (13). ...
... При этом частота встречаемости проблем конечностей связана со скоростью роста: хромота была выявлена у 85 % цыплятбройлеров быстрорастущего кросса. Птица «медленного» кросса оказалась более благополучна по этому признаку (до 27 % хромающих особей) (13). ...
... Wallenbeck et al. (2017) also compared behavior of broilers at 2, 6, and 9 wk of age and found that age itself significantly reduced activity levels but that conventional broilers were less active than their same-age slow-growth comparisons. Wilhelmsson et al. (2019) also performed welfare assessments comparing conventional versus slow-growth broilers at 2, 6, and 9 wk of age and reported that the most significant differences occurred after 6 wk of age. Torrey et. ...
Article
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The emphasis on poultry welfare has changed dramatically over the past 2 to 3 decades, and as a result, the quality of life of broilers, laying hens, and turkeys has improved. However, some changes may come with unintended consequences. This paper is meant to review two such areas—one in which the direction of the consumer push for a specific change is not completely supported by the scientific literature, and the second in which environmental and economic factors may suffer as a result of the changes. Such areas of change may arise in industry challenges in the future. Perhaps using a balanced approach when considering factors where bird welfare and environmental costs collide—in conjunction with allowing consumers choice over the products they purchase—could offer the industry a more sustainable direction for the future.
... Since its publication, the WQ ® protocol for broiler chickens has been used as a framework by several researchers for a wide range of purposes. For instance, Wilhelmsson et al. [11] utilized the protocol to compare the level of welfare of fast growing and slow growing broiler strains. Tuyttens et al. [12] used it to assess broiler welfare in Brazil and in Belgium. ...
Article
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This systematic review aims to explore how information technologies (ITs) are currently used to monitor the welfare of broiler chickens. The question posed for the review was "which ITs are related to welfare and how do they monitor this for broilers?". The Welfare Quality ® (WQ) protocol for broiler assessment was utilized as a framework to analyse suitable articles. A total of 57 studies were reviewed wherein all principles of broiler welfare were addressed. The "good health" principle was the main criteria found to be addressed by ITs and IT-based studies (45.6% and 46.1%, respectively), whereas the least observed principle was "good feeding" (8.8%). This review also classified ITs and IT-based studies by their utilization (location, production system, variable measured, aspect of production, and experimental/practical use). The results show that the current focus of ITs is on problems with conventional production systems and that less attention has been given to free-range systems, slaughterhouses, and supply chain issues. Given the valuable results evidenced by the exploitation of ITs, their use in broiler production should continue to be encouraged with more attention given to farmer adoption strategies.
... It is based on four common generic principles: Good feeding, Good housing, Good health and Appropriate behaviour, taken from the recommendations of Britain's Farm Animal Welfare Council (The National Archives, 2012). This generic framework is used for broilers (Buijs et al., 2017;Wilhelmsson et al., 2019) and laying hens (Daigle and Siegford, 2014;Blatchford et al., 2016). It has also been adapted to other species that were not studied in the project. ...
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Overfeeding in ducks is questioned because forced introduction of food into the animal and metabolic overload may induce damage to health and discomfort. In this context, the objective of our experiment was to measure the impact of dietary strategy on the progression of animal status evaluated through 28 health and behavioural indicators in ducks reared for fatty liver production. To do this, 320 ducks were forced-fed twice a day from 70 to 90 days of age including 10 days of overfeeding (87 to 96 days). They were divided into two groups differing in the feeding strategy during overfeeding period: a moderate feed intake ( MI , an average of 376 g of maize flour per meal, n = 160 ducks) or at high feed intake ( HI , 414 g/meal, n = 160 ducks). We evaluated 28 indicators related to Good feeding ( n = 3), Good housing ( n = 4), Good health ( n = 10) and Appropriate behaviour ( n = 11) principles, taken from the European Welfare Quality Consortium® at four stages: before overfeeding ( BEF ; 80 days), at the beginning (88 days), the middle ( MID ; 92 days) or the end of overfeeding ( END ; 96 days). Animals were slaughtered at 93 and 97 days to measure fatty liver weight at MID and END stages ( n = 80 per group). The results showed that dietary strategy influenced the fatty liver weight at MID (+23% in HI v. MI group; P < 0;05) and END stage (+23%; P < 0.05). Assessment stage influenced 13 of the 28 indicators measured. Among these 13 indicators, (i) BEF differed from END stage for 7 indicators and (ii) the dietary strategy degraded all the indicators chosen to evaluate the Good feeding (2/2) principle, but had no effect on the indicators related to the Good health (0/4) principle while (iii) most of the indicators that evaluated Good housing (2/3) and Appropriate behaviour (2/4) principles were affected by an interaction between both factors. Our results suggest that (i) duck fattening status, including the fatty liver weight, and several welfare indicators progressed during the fatty liver production process; and (ii) feeding strategy influenced or even interacted with this progression.
... The highest farm animal numbers are found in poultry operations, with up to tens of thousands of individuals in one barn. Each individual animal is worth relatively little and the turnover of flocks is very fast, with modern broiler strains in conventional intensive production systems reaching their target weight in just 5-6 weeks or less [14]. This means that concern for the welfare of an individual bird may be low. ...
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Precision livestock farming (PLF) systems have the potential to improve animal welfare through providing a continuous picture of welfare states in real time and enabling fast interventions that benefit the current flock. However, it remains unclear whether the goal of PLF development has been to improve welfare or increase production efficiency. The aims of this systematic literature review are to provide an overview of the current state of PLF in poultry farming and investigate whether the focus of PLF research has been to improve bird welfare. The study characteristics extracted from 264 peer-reviewed publications and conference proceedings suggest that poultry PLF has received increasing attention on a global scale, but is yet to become a widespread commercial reality. PLF development has most commonly focussed on broiler farming, followed by laying hens, and mainly involves the use of sensors (environmental and wearable) and cameras. More publications had animal health and welfare than production as either one of or the only goal, suggesting that PLF development so far has focussed on improving animal health and welfare. Future work should prioritise improving the rate of commercialisation of PLF systems, so that their potential to improve bird welfare might be realised.
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Outdoor access, reduced stocking densities, natural light, no beak trimming, and ‘slow-growing’ broilers provided with raised sitting areas, are some of the main features of organic poultry production intended to improve bird welfare. On-farm studies are important to increase our knowledge of animal welfare in commercial production. In this thesis, on-farm studies were performed on eight organic broiler farms and 11 organic laying hen farms in Sweden, to assess the present animal welfare situation in terms of housing, bird health and behaviour, and free-ranging. The findings were assessed in relation to different animal welfare definitions and relevant organic standards. The results show that important welfare issues, such as severe feather pecking in laying hens and gait impairment in broilers, can be found in organic poultry production. Outdoor areas generally offered limited protection in the form of vegetation and/or artificial shelters, and most birds remained close to the house when ranging. The broilers were motivated as well as physically capable of perching, but the available space on raised sitting areas was limited. Behavioural observations indicated that the laying hens and broilers were fearful of humans. The emphasis on providing opportunities to perform natural behaviours in organic production may improve bird welfare by promoting pleasant, rather than merely avoiding unpleasant, experiences. However, in order to influence poultry welfare in practice and not only in theory, the content of organic standards must transfer all the way to commercial farms. This can to a certain extent be managed by the individual farmer, but other undertakings might be obstructed by aspects contained within the structure of modern poultry production.
Chapter
Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) plays a key role in the advancement of animal housing, since it is associated with the improvement of animals’ health and welfare status, ensuring sustainability and efficiency of farms. The main objective of researchers is the development of systems for real-time continuous monitoring of the animals’ everyday lives (i.e., animal-centric tools). Such systems based on both steady-state and dynamic models should have low installation costs, be precise, accurate, easy to use and environmentally friendly and provide the farmers with valuable information serving as decision support tools for the improvement of management practices. The data could be collected within the unit by simple sensors such as accelerometers, RFID sensors, etc., or more complex computer-based vision or sound and audio analysis systems. This chapter presents various PLF systems in basic livestock (i.e., dairy cows, sheep and goats, pigs, and poultry), indicating their benefits upon the production process.KeywordsPrecision livestock farmingReal-time monitoringBio-responsesRuminantsPigsPoultry
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Slowing the growth of modern broiler chickens can have a positive effect on a number of welfare outcomes. However, relatively few studies have compared fast and slower growing broiler chickens reared under the same commercial conditions. The main aim of this study was to evaluate a slower growing breed and standard fast growing broilers on commercial farms. Ross 308 broilers and slower growing Hubbard Redbro broilers were housed on six farms for 17 production cycles. Production data were available for all cycles. Behaviour and environmental measures were taken over one cycle on each of two farms. The farms were visited during weeks 3–6 for both breeds and week 7 for Redbros. We found that breed had a significant effect on a number of measures, including gait score, latency to lie, feather cover, avoidance distances, perch use and play behaviour (p < 0.05). Gait scores were consistently lower among the Redbro flocks during weeks 4, 5, 6 and 7. Redbro broilers generally had longer latency to lie times, better feather cover, and were more reactive to approaching observers. They also showed higher levels of perch use and play. Despite these indications of improved locomotion and physical ability, we found little difference in their general behaviour. However, Redbro broilers did perform longer activity bouts in week 7 than Ross 308s in their final week. There was no effect of breed on dust levels, ammonia concentration or litter condition. Redbro broilers were slaughtered 5.5 days later than Ross 308 birds at a lower average weight (2.32 vs 2.52kg) and had lower mortality, fewer culls and fewer carcasses downgraded at the abattoir. Our results suggest that the slower growing strain was healthier throughout the cycle and more capable of displaying some natural behaviours.
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Selection for rapid growth has produced heavier, more efficient broiler chickens, but has also introduced health and welfare issues, which may cause or be caused by inactivity. Rapid growth may also limit the performance of motivated behaviors, whereas the provision of enrichment may increase these behaviors and general activity. This study aimed to evaluate the inactivity, behavior patterns, and enrichment use of 2 fast- (CONV) and 12 slower-growing broiler strains [categorized as fastest (FAST), moderate (MOD) and slowest slow (SLOW), based on their growth rates; 4 strains/category]. To evaluate inactivity, one male and one female from 153 pens were outfitted with omni-directional accelerometers from day 21 until processing (14–24 birds/strain from 8-12 pens/strain). Additionally, to supplement inactivity data, five-minute continuous behavioral observations of four focal birds per pen (2 males, 2 females) were conducted on days 26, 42, and 56 (72–148 observations of 8–12 pens/strain) to quantify the duration and frequency of various behaviors; at the same time, 5–11 instantaneous scan samples were also performed for pen-based enrichment use. Inactivity peaked at 78-80% of the day for all strains; however, those with slower growth rates reached these levels at older ages. Compared to slower-growing strains at the same age, faster-growing strains were more inactive, spent more time sitting and feeding, spent less time standing and walking, and used enrichments less; these differences mostly occurred at younger ages. Generally, at the same age, strains with similar growth rates (within the same category) behaved similarly, with only a few exceptions. Results suggest that not all strains identified as ‘slow-growing’ broilers behave differently from fast-growing broilers, nor do they all behave similarly to each other. As such, results suggest that improved broiler welfare, particularly with respect to reduced inactivity, the performance of a wider range of normal, motivated behaviors, and/or increased enrichment use, is related to the broiler strain's specific growth rate.
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Slow-growing broilers offer differentiation in the chicken meat market for consumers that have distinct preferences based on perceived higher welfare indices and willingness to pay a higher price for the product. Although breeding for slow-growing broilers is relatively advanced in Europe and the United States, it is limited in Australia. Crossbreeding is one of the approaches taken to developing slow-growing broiler strains. Thus, the aim of this study was to compare performance, immune response, leg health, carcass characteristics and meat quality of a novel crossbred slow-growing broiler breed (SGB) with the conventional, fast-growing Cobb 500 broiler (CB) to assess their suitability as an alternative for chicken meat production in Australia. A total of 236 one-day-old broiler chicks (116 SGB and 120 fast-growing CB) were reared on standard commercial diet in an intensive production system. Birds and feed were weighed on a weekly basis and feed intake and feed conversion ratio calculated. At 21 days of age, a 2% suspension of sheep red blood cells (SRBC) was injected subcutaneously into eight broilers of each breed to compare their antibody response. Birds from both breeds were grown to a final live weight of 2.0 – 2.2 kg, before a latency-to-lie (LTL) test, carcass analysis and apparent metabolizable energy (AME) assay were performed. The SGB reached the target weight at 55 days of age compared to 32 days in CB. However, SGB stood for longer during LTL, had higher thigh, drumstick, and wing yields (as a percentage of carcass weight) as well as darker and redder meat in comparison to the CB. The CB had better feed conversion efficiency, higher antibody (IgM) production, higher AME, heavier breast yield, and lower meat drip loss than the SGB. Although fast-growing CB outperformed the SGB for traditional performance parameters, the crossbred in this study was comparable to other slow-growing broiler breeds and strains across different countries and is thus a suitable candidate for a slow-growing alternative in Australia.
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To meet the growing consumer demand for chicken meat, the poultry industry has selected broiler chickens for increasing efficiency and breast yield. While this high productivity means affordable and consistent product, it has come at a cost to broiler welfare. There has been increasing advocacy and consumer pressure on primary breeders, producers, processors and retailers to improve the welfare of the billions of chickens processed annually. Several small-scale studies have reported better welfare outcomes for slower growing strains compared to fast growing, conventional strains. However, these studies often housed birds with range access or used strains with vastly different growth rates. Additionally, there may be traits other than growth, such as body conformation, that influence welfare. As the global poultry industries consider the implications of using slower growing strains, there was a need for a comprehensive, multidisciplinary examination of broiler chickens with a wide range of genotypes differing in growth rate and other phenotypic traits. To meet this need, our team designed a study to benchmark data on conventional and slower growing strains of broiler chickens reared in standardized laboratory conditions. Over a two-year period, we studied 7,528 broilers from 16 different genetic strains. In this paper, we compare the growth, efficiency and mortality of broilers to one of two target weights (TW): 2.1 kg (TW1) and 3.2 kg (TW2). We categorized strains by their growth rate to TW2 as conventional (CONV), fastest slow strains (FAST), moderate slow strains (MOD) and slowest slow strains (SLOW). When incubated, hatched, housed, managed and fed the same, the categories of strains differed in body weights, growth rates, feed intake and feed efficiency. At 48 days of age, strains in the CONV category were 835-1264 g heavier than strains in the other categories. By TW2, differences in body weights and feed intake resulted in a 22 to 43-point difference in feed conversion ratios. Categories of strains did not differ in their overall mortality rates.
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In the Welfare Quality ® assessment protocol for broilers, the touch test is included to assess the human–animal relationship in the flock. The test is designed to measure the animals’ fear of humans, assuming that broilers will withdraw from the observer if they are fearful. However, many broilers close to slaughter age have impaired walking ability, and the results from the touch test may thus be biased by lameness and poor leg health. As the touch test is currently being used in several countries to assess human–animal relationship in broilers, there is an urgent need to examine this potential relationship for a further validation of the test. In the present study, fear of humans was assessed in 50 randomly selected Norwegian broiler flocks, using the touch test as described in the Welfare Quality ® protocol for ty broilers. Leg health was assessed by examining the gait of 150 random birds in each of the flocks, using a six-point gait score scale from 0 to 5. The coefficient for the relationship between touch test score and gait score was 0.034 ( P <0.001), indicating that the animals express less fear as assessed by the touch test when the gait scores increase. This implies that the touch test may be confounded by impaired walking ability and therefore might be a suboptimal method of assessing fear of humans and human–animal relationship in broilers. In conclusion, the results from this study suggests that the touch test must be further validated in broilers and perhaps be replaced with a fear test that doesn’t rely on walking ability.
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This study compared behavioural time budgets, presence of comfort behaviours and social behaviours in two different broiler genotypes (the fast-growing Ross 308 (R) and the slower-growing Rowan Ranger (RR)) fed organic diets with high (17.0% crude protein (CP)) or low (14.5% CP) protein content during a 10-week rearing period. 429-day-old chicks (218 R and 211 RR, respectively) were included in the study and behaviour was recorded at 2, 6 and 9 weeks of age. The results showed no effect of diet treatments but that R broilers were less active and sat, ate and drank more frequently than RR broilers, which stood and perched more frequently. However, both hybrids showed decreasing activity and foraging behaviour with increasing age, while time spent eating and sleeping was approximately similar over the entire rearing period.
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Organic poultry meat production in Sweden is characterized by diets based on organic and locally produced feedstuffs, roughage allowance, a long rearing period (>10 weeks), outdoor access for the birds, and ban of synthetic amino acids and prophylactic use of antibiotics and anthelmintic. Until recently, the main hybrids used in organic broiler chicken production in Sweden were the same as used in conventional broiler chicken production. These birds are bred to reach market weight at 5 to 6 weeks on a high-protein quality non-organic diet. In this study, organic high- and low-protein diets were fed to fast- and slower-growing hybrid broiler chickens with 5 pens per genotype × diet treatment and 21 to 22 broiler chickens per pen. Weight gain, feed conversion, health, and mortality were recorded during a 71-day rearing period. The fast-growing hybrid birds grew faster (55.4 ± 0.7 versus 38.3 ± 0.5 g/day, P = 0.001) and had a better feed conversion ratio (2.6 ± 0.1 versus 2.9 ± 0.1 kg feed/kg body weight, P = 0.001) than the slower-growing hybrid birds. The fast-growing hybrid birds grew slower when fed the high-protein compared to the low-protein diet (55.3 ± 0.5 versus 57.8 ± 1.4 g/day, P = 0.050), while the slower-growing hybrid birds grew faster when fed the high-protein compared to the low-protein diet (39.4 ± 0.7 and 37.2 ± 0.4 g/day, P = 0.038). A higher proportion of fast- compared to slower-growing hybrid birds had sticky droppings at 1 week of age (18.8 ± 1.6 versus 3.8 ± 1.6%, P = 0.001) and were culled because of leg weakness during the 10-week rearing period (10.0 ± 2.0 versus 3.3 ± 2.0%, P = 0.031), indicating poorer welfare among fast-growing hybrid birds when reared for 10 weeks on organic diets.
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The effect of commercial selection on the growth, efficiency, and yield of broilers was studied using 2 University of Alberta Meat Control strains unselected since 1957 and 1978, and a commercial Ross 308 strain (2005). Mixed-sex chicks (n = 180 per strain) were placed into 4 replicate pens per strain, and grown on a current nutritional program to 56 d of age. Weekly front and side profile photographs of 8 birds per strain were collected. Growth rate, feed intake, and measures of feed efficiency including feed conversion ratio, residual feed intake, and residual maintenance energy requirements were characterized. A nonlinear mixed Gompertz growth model was used to predict BW and BW variation, useful for subsequent stochastic growth simulation. Dissections were conducted on 8 birds per strain semiweekly from 21 to 56 d of age to characterize allometric growth of pectoralis muscles, leg meat, abdominal fat pad, liver, gut, and heart. A novel nonlinear analysis of covariance was used to test the hypothesis that allometric growth patterns have changed as a result of commercial selection pressure. From 1957 to 2005, broiler growth increased by over 400%, with a concurrent 50% reduction in feed conversion ratio, corresponding to a compound annual rate of increase in 42 d live BW of 3.30%. Forty-two-day FCR decreased by 2.55% each year over the same 48-yr period. Pectoralis major growth potential increased, whereas abdominal fat decreased due to genetic selection pressure over the same time period. From 1957 to 2005, pectoralis minor yield at 42 d of age was 30% higher in males and 37% higher in females; pectoralis major yield increased by 79% in males and 85% in females. Over almost 50 yr of commercial quantitative genetic selection pressure, intended beneficial changes have been achieved. Unintended changes such as enhanced sexual dimorphism are likely inconsequential, though musculoskeletal, immune function, and parent stock management challenges may require additional attention in future selection programs.
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Outdoor access is an important part of organic and free-range poultry production, yet limited information exists on the effect of various housing and production systems on growth performance and colonization of food-borne pathogens. Therefore, the primary purpose of the current study was to evaluate the influence of different housing systems, particularly fixed versus small, portable houses, with and without outdoor access to pasture, on seasonal growth performance, leg quality, and presence of bacterial food-borne pathogens. In the current study, we used fast-growing broilers, as many small producers use commercial broilers due to their carcass conformation and high breast yield compared with slow-growing hybrids or standard heritage breeds. Although interest in alternative genetics exists because they may be more adapted to outdoor production, they require longer growing periods, with accompanying labor and cost. A pasture containing a mixture of forages was used to simulate the conditions common for small farms in the local region. The experiment had 4 treatment groups: (1) small, portable hoop houses with access to pasture, (2) small, portable hoop houses without access to pasture, (3) a fixed house with access to the outdoors, and (4) a fixed house without access to the outdoors. The present study was repeated at different times of the year to determine if a seasonal effect on the consumption of pasture and carcass quality was present. overall, raising birds in hoop houses resulted in a reduced growth rate compared with birds raised in the fixed house. None of the production systems altered bone strength or feed conversion. Food-borne pathogens commonly associated with poultry were not found in any of the environments tested. Seasonal production was an issue in the small hoop house birds, as extreme heat in the summer resulted in early termination of that trial. Expanding on forage choice in pastures and customizing hoop houses to deal with weather fluctuations, especially in regions where extreme heat may affect production, are important considerations for these systems.
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The carcass and meat quality of three different commercial chicken genotypes reared according to the organic system and slaughtered at two different ages (70 and 81 days) were compared. The used genotypes were Naked Neck (CN1), Kabir (KR4) and Ross 308 (R). All animals were raised in the facilities of a big Italian company, in production units of 3000 birds. Before slaughtering, plumage conditions, foot pad dermatitis as well as qualitative traits of carcasses, such as skin damage and the presence of breast blisters, were registered (n=50). Naked Neck birds showed the best plumage conditions at both ages; the other genotypes had similar body conditions showing a dramatically worsening at the end of rearing cycle (81 days), mainly at breast level. The carcass conformation showed differences mainly for the CN1 genotype, which was more slender with higher proportions of head, neck and legs; thus, ready-to-cook-carcass yield was lower. The meat of CN1 chickens showed lower levels of lipids, pH and brightness values, but higher index of redness. Ross 308 genotype showed a bad welfare status even at 70 days, confirming that the rearing of this strain should not be permitted in organic systems. In conclusion, this study indicates that genotype deeply affects performance, welfare and qualitative characteristics of meat. Regarding the slaughtering age, although the inconsistency of European Commission rules which authorise the reduction of slaughtering age in less mature strains, at 70 days chickens show higher feed efficiency and thinness of carcass and meat.
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The objectives of this study were to 1) identify determinants of poor welfare in commercial broiler chicken flocks by studying the associations between selected resource-based measures (RBM, potential risk factors), such as litter quality and dark period, and animal-based welfare indicators (ABM), such as foot pad dermatitis and lameness, and 2) establish the breadth of effect of a risk factor by determining the range of animal welfare indicators associated with each of the risk factors (i.e., the number of ABM related to a specific RBM). Eighty-nine broiler flocks were inspected in 4 European countries (France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands) in a cross-sectional study. The ABM were contact dermatitis (measured using scores of foot-pad dermatitis and hock burn, respectively), lameness (measured as gait score), fear of humans (measured by the avoidance distance test and the touch test), and negative emotional state (measured using qualitative behavior assessment, QBA). In a first step, risk factors were identified by building a multiple linear regression model for each ABM. Litter quality was identified as a risk factor for contact dermatitis. Length of dark period at 3 wk old (DARK3) was a risk factor for the touch test result. DARK3 and flock age were risk factors for lameness, and the number of different stockmen and DARK3 were risk factors for QBA results. Next, the ABM were grouped according to risk factor and counted. Then, in a second step, associations between the ABM were investigated using common factor analysis. The breadth of a risk factor's effect was judged by combining the number (count) of ABM related to this factor and the strength of association between these ABM. Flock age and DARK3 appeared to affect several weakly correlated ABM, thus indicating a broad range of effects. Our findings suggest that manipulation of the predominant risk factors identified in this study (DARK3, litter quality, and slaughter age) could generate improvements in the related ABM and thereby enhance the birds' overall welfare status.
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Foot-pad dermatitis is a major welfare concern of broilers caused by ammonia irritation from the bedding material. In Denmark, an action plan to control the condition was implemented in 2002 with monitoring through a foot scoring system at slaughter and with predefined limits that trigger sanctions. The objective of the present study was to study time trends and to identify predisposing factors on the flock lesion scores. The analysis was carried out on a database created by merging abattoir lesion data with antemortem evaluation data, and the flock productivity database managed by the farmers' association. The database had a record for each flock and variables containing information on both flock foot-pad scores and a range of management factors. We observed a dramatic decline in flock lesion scores between the years 2002 and 2005 followed by a minimal decline hereafter. Mean flock lesion scores differed between abattoirs, and subsequent analysis was performed in a mixed effect model where abattoir was considered a random effect. The analysis showed that flock lesion scores increased when the litter quality was evaluated as poor during the on-site antemortem evaluation. Other significant risk factors were winter season as opposed to summer, low daily weight gain, straw as bedding material in contrast to wood shavings and sphagnum peat, and high age at slaughter. Stocking density was only weakly associated with flock lesion scores.
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Leg disorders in broilers are a major economic and welfare problem. The aetiology of many disorders is complex but includes genetics, growth rate (due to feed restriction or lighting regime), feed conversion efficiency and body conformation, exercise, circadian rhythms, nutrition and stocking density. These categories are not mutually exclusive as one aetiology factor may affect another. Many studies of leg disorders fail to identify the specific pathological condition underlying the observed lameness. However, disorders may be classified according to underlying pathology as infectious, developmental and degenerative. This classification is difficult because these categories are also not mutually exclusive. Infectious conditions include bacterial chondronecrosis with osteomyelitis (BCO or femoral head necrosis, FHN), tenosynovitis and arthritis, infectious stunting syndrome (ISS) and viral induced neoplasia. Developmental conditions include varus valgus disease (VVD), rotated tibia, tibial dyschondroplasia (TD), rickets, chondrodystrophy and sondylolisthesis. Degenerative disorders include osteochondrosis (often TD), epiphyseolosis (often classified as FHN), degenerative joint disease (DJD), spontaneous rupture of the gastrocnemius tendon and contact dermatitis. BCO, TD, dermatitis and VVD are the most common disorders. Outbreaks of leg disorders are often site context specific. The welfare of broilers with leg disorders may be impaired due to pain from the condition, an inability to walk leading to frustration and associated problems of being unable to feed and drink due to immobility (which may result in starvation). In assessing welfare, the individual broiler must be considered irrespective of the frequency of occurrence of the disorder. Most studies of welfare in relation to leg disorders have used a subjective gait scoring method (0 is normal walking and 5 is unable to walk). Gait scoring is a practical method for assessing broiler lameness in the field. The method provides a useful tool to employ in the field without recourse to pathological investigation and, while the method conflates conformity with pathology, it is a helpful and constructive additional method to assist in welfare studies. For birds with scores greater than 3, lameness may be viewed as severe enough to potentially impair welfare. It is difficult to assess all disorders in relation to frequency of occurrence and their impact on welfare due lack of evidence. BCO (or FHN and BCN) is the most common disorder and is often severe in form. TD (incl. epiphyseolysis) and rickets are common, often sub-clinical but when severe there is a considerable impact on welfare. Contact dermatitis may be common under certain conditions and causes poor welfare when severe. Gastrocnemius tendon slippage, tenosynovitis, DJD and spondylolisthesis are not so common but are likely to cause poor welfare when they occur (i.e. pain and prevention of certain behaviours). VVD and rotated tibia can be common but tend not to be directly painful unless another condition is present. However, they can cause poor welfare if the bird is not culled and lead to an inability to walk, feed, drink and perform other behaviours. ISS, viral induced neoplasia and chondrodystrophy have only a small impact on welfare in the UK flock, the last because it is no longer encountered. To decrease the prevalence of leg disorders, growth rate needs to be decelerated: meal feeding, feed restriction during the early period of rearing, lower stocking densities and increased activity can result in a considerable reduction in leg problems. Continuous lighting should be avoided; overall the light period should be reduced. There also needs to be careful management of litter to prevent dermatitis. Factors in the diet are also important, particularly Ca, P and D3 which can prevent certain disorders (e.g. TD). Further research is needed to establish the prevalence of disorders, underlying pathology in relation to subjective gait scores and analgesics in relation to pain mechanisms. A forum for discussion of these issues should be established and further control-trials conducted to investigate these factors.
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Increased activity improves broiler leg health, but also increases the heat production of the bird. This experiment investigated the effects of early open-field activity and ambient temperature on the growth and feed intake of two strains of broiler chickens. On the basis of the level of activity in an open-field test on day 3 after hatching, fast-growing Ross 208 and slow-growing i657 chickens were allocated on day 13 to one of the 48 groups. Each group included either six active or six passive birds from each strain and the groups were housed in floor-pens littered with wood chips and fitted with two heat lamps. Each group was fed ad libitum and subjected to one of the three temperature treatments: two (HH; 26°C), one (HC; 16°C to 26°C) or no (CC; 16°C) heat lamps turned on. Production and behavioural data were collected every 2 weeks until day 57. For both strains, early open-field activity had no significant effects on their subsequent behaviour or on any of the production parameters measured, and overall, the slow-growing strain was more active than the fast-growing strain. Ambient temperature had significant effects on production measures for i657 broilers, with CC chickens eating and weighing more, and with a less efficient feed conversion than HH chickens, with HC birds intermediate. A similar effect was found for Ross 208 only for feed intake from 27 to 41 days of age. Ross 208 chickens distributed themselves in the pen with a preference for cooler areas in the hottest ambient temperature treatments. In contrast, the behaviour of the slow-growing strain appeared to be relatively unaffected by the ambient temperature. In conclusion, fast-growing broilers use behavioural changes when trying to adapt to warm environments, whereas slow-growing broilers use metabolic changes to adapt to cooler ambient temperatures.
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Because of the increasing demand for raw cuts and processed products, there is a trend to producing very heavy broilers. Breeds that are used for such kinds of production have been intensively selected for growth rate and breast meat yield, and birds are reared for a longer period than standard broilers. This study was to evaluate the effects of increasing slaughter age on technical and economic factors, including production efficiency and environmental costs, bird welfare, and breast meat quality in a modern heavy broiler line. Five groups of 300 male Ross 708 chickens were reared until slaughter ages of 35, 42, 49, 56, or 63 d. Increasing age at slaughter from 35 to 63 d resulted in a 7.4-fold increase (P < 0.01) in mortality rate (5.21 vs. 0.70%). It also increased (P < 0.001) the slaughter weight and ADFI of birds 2.5- and 1.4-fold, respectively, without affecting their G:F. Under our experimental conditions, economic profit evaluated through the net gain reached a maximum at 42 d. The moisture and ammonium content of litter increased (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01, respectively) rapidly during rearing concomitantly with increased (P < 0.05) occurrence and severity of contact dermatitis and decreased (P < 0.05) walking ability and activity of birds. Thermal comfort also decreased (P < 0.05) greatly as early as 42 d of age. Changes in carcass quality occurred mainly between 35 and 56 d of age, with a progressive increase (P < 0.001) in breast and leg yield, whereas body fatness was barely affected by age. Major changes in breast meat traits were observed between 35 and 49 d of age, with an increase in muscle pH at 15 min (P < 0.01) and 24 h (P < 0.001) postmortem and reduced (P < 0.001) lightness and drip loss. The protein and lipid content of raw breast meat also increased (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01, respectively) with age. Taking into account the main aspects of sustainability, we could recommend slaughtering chickens of heavy line at 42 d of age.
Article
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Thirteen genotypes of poultry were selected to represent a wide range of growth profiles and were fed either a non-limiting or Label Rouge diet. The birds' degree of lameness and liveweight were measured after 54 and 81 days. The birds reared on the Label Rouge diets were less lame than birds of the same genotype reared on the non-limiting diet. More traditional and slower growing genotypes tended to be less lame than the modern genotypes reared on the same feeding regimen. All the birds, irrespective of their genotype or diet, were less lame after 54 days than after 81 days. However, when liveweight was included in the analysis as a covariable, many of the differences disappeared. Only age at assessment significantly affected the walking ability of the birds, with the birds being approximately 0.6 units of gait score worse at 54 days of age than at 81 days. The regression coefficient between gait score and liveweight was 1.262 at 54 days and 1.128 at 84 days. The results indicated that liveweight was an important determinant of lameness in the diverse range of genotypes examined, that growth rate was also an important determinant of lameness and that younger birds may be more sensitive to differences in liveweight than older birds.
Article
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Intensive broiler (meat) chicken production now exceeds 800 million birds each year in the United Kingdom and 2 x 10(10) birds worldwide, but it attracts accusations of poor welfare. The European Union is currently adopting standards for broilers aimed at a chief welfare concern--namely, overcrowding--by limiting maximum 'stocking density' (bird weight per unit area). It is not clear, however, whether this will genuinely improve bird welfare because evidence is contradictory. Here we report on broiler welfare in relation to the European Union proposals through a large-scale study (2.7 million birds) with the unprecedented cooperation of ten major broiler producers in an experimental manipulation of stocking density under a range of commercial conditions. Producer companies stocked birds to five different final densities, but otherwise followed company practice, which we recorded in addition to temperature, humidity, litter and air quality. We assessed welfare through mortality, physiology, behaviour and health, with an emphasis on leg health and walking ability. Our results show that differences among producers in the environment that they provide for chickens have more impact on welfare than has stocking density itself.
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1. Standardised data on flock husbandry were recorded on 149 broiler farms during the 4 d prior to slaughter. 2. Birds were examined at the slaughterhouse for contact dermatitis lesions. Foot pad dermatitis score (FPDS) and hock burn score (HBS) were measured on five point scales. Carcase rejection data were also collected. 3. The mean percentage of birds in each flock with: moderate or severe foot lesions was 11.1% (range 0-71.5%); moderate or severe hock burn was 1.3% (range 0-33.3%); and, breast burn was 0.02%. 4. A general linear model was developed to examine factors associated with mean flock FPDS. Assuming a linear relationship, within the range of data collected and with all other factors remaining the same, every 1% increase in the proportion of Genotype A birds in the flock was associated with an increase in mean FPDS of 0.003, every one-point increase in litter score was associated with a 0.326 increase in mean FPDS and every one-point increase in flock mean HBS was associated with a 0.411 increase in mean FPDS. Flock mean FPDS was associated with feed supplier and was higher in winter. 5. The general linear model developed for flock mean HBS, found that every one-point increase in mean FPDS increased mean HBS by 0.090, every one-point increase in litter score increased HBS by 0.119 and, every 1% increase in small/emaciated birds decreased mean HBS by 0.333. Reduced HBS was also associated with increased final litter depth, younger slaughter age and an increased percentage of dietary wheat. For every 1% increase in Genotype A birds, a decrease in flock mean HBS of 0.003 would be expected. 6. An effect of hatchery was also identified.
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Broiler (meat) chickens have been subjected to intense genetic selection. In the past 50 years, broiler growth rates have increased by over 300% (from 25 g per day to 100 g per day). There is growing societal concern that many broiler chickens have impaired locomotion or are even unable to walk. Here we present the results of a comprehensive survey of commercial flocks which quantifies the risk factors for poor locomotion in broiler chickens. We assessed the walking ability of 51,000 birds, representing 4.8 million birds within 176 flocks. We also obtained information on approximately 150 different management factors associated with each flock. At a mean age of 40 days, over 27.6% of birds in our study showed poor locomotion and 3.3% were almost unable to walk. The high prevalence of poor locomotion occurred despite culling policies designed to remove severely lame birds from flocks. We show that the primary risk factors associated with impaired locomotion and poor leg health are those specifically associated with rate of growth. Factors significantly associated with high gait score included the age of the bird (older birds), visit (second visit to same flock), bird genotype, not feeding whole wheat, a shorter dark period during the day, higher stocking density at the time of assessment, no use of antibiotic, and the use of intact feed pellets. The welfare implications are profound. Worldwide approximately 2 x 10(10) broilers are reared within similar husbandry systems. We identify a range of management factors that could be altered to reduce leg health problems, but implementation of these changes would be likely to reduce growth rate and production. A debate on the sustainability of current practice in the production of this important food source is required.
Article
The present study was designed to investigate the effects of additional human contact (AHC) on the human–animal relationship (HAR) in broilers and on the birds’ productivity. A total of 1558 broiler one-day-old chicks were distributed into 12 equally sized pens at two different stocking densities (SDs), calculated on estimated weight at slaughter (4 pens with 32 kg/m² and 8 pens with 16 kg/m²). Six groups (2 high and 4 low SDs) received AHC, which consisted of 30-min sessions with visual human contact three days/week. The remaining six groups received as little human contact as possible and served as controls. A touch test was used to assess the human–broiler relationship and the production parameters measured were growth rate, mortality, feed consumption and feed conversion. The AHC treatment had a positive effect on the quality of the HAR but failed to affect any production parameter.
Article
Conclusions from the report of the European Commission of 2000 on «the welfare of chickens kept for meat production (broilers) » and the directive 2007/43/EC led the European Commission to request the European Food Safety Authority to issue two scientific opinions, the first one on the influence of genetic parameters on the welfare and resistance to stress of commercial broilers and the second one on the welfare of grand-parent and parent stocks raised and kept for breeding purposes. The present synthesis is based on these two opinions published in the EFSA Journal in 2010 and which came after a scientific expertise conducted in 2009/2010. This synthesis will first state how the main welfare problems encountered in broiler chickens (leg problems, contact dermatitis, ascites, sudden death syndrome, reduced mobility, thermal discomfort...) can be exacerbated by intense selection for fast growth rate and increased feed efficiency. Second, the main welfare problems encountered in breeders will be stated focusing on those that have links with selection on fast growth rate (feed restriction, aggression, mutilations...). Then, the need for future research and main conclusions will be presented.
Article
Farm assurance schemes can set standards to assure compliance with specific requirements relating to animal welfare. As such, standards can be set to address genetic-related welfare problems in farm animals, such as those associated with fast growth rates in meat chickens (broilers) (Gallus gallus domesticus). Based on discussions with broiler breeding companies, broiler producers and in line with published research, the RSPCA placed a maximum limit on the genetic growth rate potential of broilers that could be used within its own farm assurance scheme - Freedom Food. Despite the introduction of this requirement, the number of birds reared on the scheme increased from 25 million to 55 million per year over a three-year period, with all of these birds meeting the genetically slower growing requirement. In addition, the two largest global broiler breeding companies responded to this change in the market by each developing a genetically slower growing bird. This demonstrates that assurance schemes can have a pivotal role in tackling genetic welfare problems in farm animals, such as those associated with fast growth in broilers. © 2010 Universities Federation for Animal Welfare The Old School.
Article
Organic feed legislation, long-rearing periods and high requirements of sulphur-rich amino acids (AAs) complicate the composition of a well-balanced organic diet for broilers. To evaluate the effect of protein and AA composition, three different diets were fed to 180 Ross broilers, divided over 45 pens. The diets comprised a low crude protein (CP) and AA diet, a high CP diet aiming at AA levels used in conventional production and a low protein diet supplemented with lysine, methionine and threonine up to levels of the high protein diet. Chickens were immunologically challenged with an inactivated infectious bursal disease (IBD) vaccine; antibody titres, heterophil/lymphocyte (H/L) ratios, lymphoid organ weights and digestibility coefficients were recorded. In general, bird performance improved with increasing dietary CP and AA levels. Dietary treatments did not significantly affect any of the measured immune or stress-related parameters.
Article
The relationship of laying hens towards humans is an important aspect of animal welfare. Tests for assessing the hen–human relationship on farm should be validated prior to their use. In this paper, we investigated the validity of three recently developed tests assumed to measure the hen–human relationship in non-caged hens. The study was conducted in two identical houses on a commercial free-range farm on 12 groups of laying hens, each group comprising about 500 birds brown hybrids. Over a 2-week treatment period, six groups of laying hens received 15min of additional human contact twice daily (additional contact groups), consisting of walking, talking, feeding and touching single birds. Six control groups received only minimal human contact besides the routine management. Immediately before and after the treatment period, all groups were tested with the three tests. These were measuring the reactions of hens towards a stationary person (stationary person test, SPT), a moving person approaching individual hens (avoidance distance test; ADT) and a stationary person trying to touch individual hens (touch test; TT). Additionally, a test to assess fear of novelty (novel object test; NOT) was performed. Exposure to additional human contact led to significant differences between additional contact and control groups in all parameters of the three tests assessing the hen's relationship to humans (all; p
Article
An experiment was conducted to determine the effects of regular pleasant and unpleasant contacts with human beings on tonic immobility (TI) response, heterophil to lymphocyte ratio (HLR), body weight, feed conversion ratios (FCR) and mortality in commercial broiler chickens. The following treatments were applied from day 1 to day 21: (1) non-handled controls received no physical or visual contact with humans other than the routine husbandry (control), (2) chicks in the pleasant physical contact group were picked up individually, and stroked gently for 30s once daily in their home pens (PPC), (3) chicks in the unpleasant physical contact group were picked up individually, suspended by both legs and swung gently for 30s once daily in their home pens (UPC), (4) a chick in the pleasant visual contact group was randomly caught, picked up and stroked gently for 10min twice daily (PVC), and (5) a chick in the unpleasant visual contact group was randomly caught, picked up, suspended by the legs, and swung gently for 10min twice daily (UVC). The PVC and UVC treatments were done in the chicks’ home pen to allow other birds in the flock to view the procedure. On day 45, 180 chicks were transferred from their home open-sided floor pens to three-tiered battery cages with wire floors in an environmentally controlled chamber. TI (18 birds per treatment on each occasion) and HLR (18 birds per treatment on each occasion) reactions were measured pre- and post-transfer. There was no significant time of transfer×treatment interaction for all the parameters measured. TI and HLR responses were reduced in PPC and PVC birds compared with the control group. The UPC and UVC treatments had no effects on TI duration but the former had lower HLR than controls. While the translocation from home floor pens to battery cages elevated HLR, TI reaction was not affected. Subjecting birds to PPC improved body weight and FCR on day 46. Neither body weight nor FCR was affected by UPC, PVC, or UVC. Human contact treatment had no effect on mortality. It was concluded that both PPC and PVC were equally effective in reducing underlying fearfulness and physiological stress response, and the former can improve the performance of broiler chickens. The UPC and UVC treatments had no adverse effects on underlying fearfulness, stress reaction and performance.
Article
Although human factors are recognized as influential factors affecting the welfare and productivity of farm animals, only limited research has been conducted to identify these important human characteristics and to quantify their effects. During the last 13 years we have studied two apparently important human factors: the attitude and the behaviour of stockpersons towards farm animals. We have proposed that in intensive animal production systems there are some important sequential relationships between the attitude and behaviour of the stockperson towards farm animals and the behaviour, performance and welfare of farm animals. Basically we have suggested that because a stockperson's behaviour towards animals is largely under volitional control it is strongly influenced by the attitudes and beliefs that the stockperson holds about the animals. Furthermore, the stockperson's behaviour towards animals affects the animals’ fear of humans which, in turn, affects the animals’ productivity and welfare. It is the occurrence of a stress response by animals which are highly fearful of humans which places their productivity and welfare at risk We have published data which strongly support these interrelationships between human attitude and behaviour and animal behaviour, productivity and welfare. This paper reviews this and other research on this subject. The results of research in the pig industry and to a lesser extent, the poultry industries indicate the excellent opportunity which exists to improve animal productivity and welfare by training and selecting stockpersons to have desirable attitudinal and behavioural profiles towards farm animals.
Article
Only fast-growing broilers are available for organic production in Sweden, and due to organic legislations and long rearing periods feed restriction has to be practised. To evaluate the effect on welfare aspects and health, two diets, low in crude protein content, with (LPA) and without amino acid supplements (LP) were fed to 1400 Ross 308 chickens, divided over eight pens in two chicken houses, with access to outdoor pasture. Behavioural observations were conducted at 2, 6 and 10 weeks. In general, birds fed the LP diet used their outdoor pasture more, and showed a higher frequency of behaviours related to feed search, than the LPA birds. The LPA diet resulted in higher live weight, mortality and more leg problems. However, cannibalism outbreaks which are rarely seen in broiler production occurred in the LP birds. This indicates that new problems were introduced that are not beneficial for animal welfare. Furthermore, the behaviour differences related to feed search, changes between behaviours and preening might have indicated a frustration related to the qualitative feed restriction for the chickens given the LP diet.
Article
1. In this study, we compared a conventional broiler production system keeping fast growing broilers with an organic broiler production system keeping slow growing broilers in the Netherlands, both managed by one person working a full time year (Full Time Equivalent, FTE). This comparison was based on a quantification of economic, ecological and social indicators. Indicators were quantified using scientific literature and national data sets. 2. The organic system performed better for the economic indicator net farm income per FTE than the conventional system. 3. Regarding ecological indicators, calculations showed a higher on-farm emission of ammonia per kg live weight for the organic system. Moreover, an organic system includes a higher risk for eutrophication per ha due to outdoor access. Emission of green house gasses, use of fossil fuels and use of land required for the production of one kg of live weight is higher for an organic than for a conventional system. This is mainly due to a lower feed conversion in organic production and use of organic feed. 4. The organic system performed better than the conventional system for the social indicators related to animal welfare time spent on walking, footpad lesions, mortality, and sound legs. Regarding the social indicator food safety was found that meat from an organic system contained less antibiotic residues and Salmonella contaminations but more Campylobacter contaminations than meat from a conventional system. 5. Changing from a conventional to an organic broiler production system, therefore, not only affects animal welfare, but also affects economic, ecological and other social issues. In this study, we ran into the situation that some information needed was lacking in literature and quantifications had to be based upon several sources. Therefore, an integrated on-farm assessment is needed, which can be used to develop a broiler production system that is economically profitable, ecologically sound, and acceptable for society.
Article
The behaviour of six replicates of broilers obtained from commercial farms, fed ad-libitum and housed on 23-h light:1-h dark schedule at 20 lx was observed using scan sampling. Comparisons were made between sound birds and those of varying degrees of lameness between 39 and 49 days of age. Sound broilers averaged 76% of their time lying and this increased significantly to 86% in lame birds (gait score 3). Lying also increased with age. Although sound broilers spent only a minor part of the day on their feet, they spent significantly more time standing idle (7%), standing preening (3.5%) and standing eating (4.7%) than lame birds. Walking declined with age, but occupied an average 3.3% of the time of a slaughter-weight broiler. Again, lameness significantly reduced this to a minimal 1.5% in the worst affected birds. Sound birds predominantly chose the usual standing posture for eating, whereas, lame birds lay down to eat for almost half their feeding time. Detailed observations using video records revealed that lameness altered the feeding strategy of broilers. Whereas sound birds fed over 50 times in 24 h, the number of visits to the feeder was reduced with increasing lameness to an average of around 30 in the lamest broilers. However, meal duration was adjusted to give no overall differences in time spent feeding per day. Time spent drinking was also the same for all birds, averaging 3% of the day. The alterations of the time budget, in particular the reductions in activities performed whilst standing, and the different feeding strategies adopted, are consistent with lameness imposing a cost on the affected broilers to the detriment of their welfare.
Article
Poor physical abilities of broilers may prevent them from performing behaviours for which they are motivated. The aim of this study was to measure the influence of physical ability and motivation on the performance of broilers in short physical tasks. We tested birds from a fast- and a slow-growing broiler strain in a runway to 12 weeks of age. To manipulate motivation, half of the birds of each strain was feed deprived for 3h and the other half for 24h before testing. Each bird was tested in a control and a slalom runway test once a week. With a similar motivation, slow growers had a shorter latency to start walking and walked faster through the runway than fast growers in both tests. In fast growers walking speed decreased faster with age than in slow growers. Slow growers vocalised more in both tests. In the slalom test, 24h deprived birds vocalised more than 3h deprived birds. Although the fast and slow growers have a different genetic background, the results indicated that motivation is the dominant determinative factor for walking in birds with a low body weight, while physical ability is the dominant determinative factor for walking in birds with a high body weight.
Ross 308 Performance Objectives
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Welfare of broilers: a review
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on organic production and labelling of organic products and repealing
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The rowan ranger chicken breed-a suitable alternative for the organic chicken meat industry. Degree Project
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Karlsson, L. 2016. The rowan ranger chicken breed-a suitable alternative for the organic chicken meat industry. Degree Project, Linköping University, http://www.divaportal.org/smash/get/diva2:935558/FULLTEXT01.pdf.
Test of different premium broiler genotypes under animal welfare label conditions. Part II: Anim. Health Eur
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on organic production and labelling of organic products and repealing
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The rowan ranger chicken breed -a suitable alternative for the organic chicken meat industry
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