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Bird Health, Housing and Management Routines on Swedish Organic Broiler Chicken Farms

Göransson, Lina and Yngvesson, Jenny and Gunnarsson, Stefan (2020). Bird Health, Housing and Management Routines on Swedish Organic Broiler Chicken Farms. Animals. 10 , 2098
[Research article]

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Abstract

Simple Summary
Knowledge of bird welfare and management on Swedish organic broiler farms is limited, since the number of farms began to increase only recently when two slower-growing hybrids became commercially available in Sweden. The aim of the study was to obtain information about chicken health and other welfare aspects, along with details of housing and management routines, in order to increase the knowledge and describe the current situation of these farms. 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. Higher body weights were significantly correlated to an increased prevalence of hock burns and dirty plumages. Although no severe walking impairments were observed, minor to moderate gait abnormalities were seen in almost two-thirds of all birds assessed. Gait in chickens assessed outdoors was significantly better than in those observed indoors. Flock body weight uniformity was low in all flocks. The study provides new knowledge of two slower-growing hybrids on Swedish organic farms. Further research should be focused on investigating other important aspects related to bird welfare, such as the low flock body weight uniformity and the high mortality rates observed.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.

Authors/Creators:Göransson, Lina and Yngvesson, Jenny and Gunnarsson, Stefan
Title:Bird Health, Housing and Management Routines on Swedish Organic Broiler Chicken Farms
Series Name/Journal:Animals
Year of publishing :2020
Volume:10
Article number:2098
Number of Pages:22
Publisher:MDPI
ISSN:2076-2615
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:None
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 402 Animal and Dairy Science > Animal and Dairy Science.
Keywords:slower-growing, welfare, foot pad dermatitis, hock burns, plumage, gait, body weight uniformity, mortality
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-109494
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-109494
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.3390/ani10112098
Web of Science (WoS)000592808700001
ID Code:21194
Faculty:VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:11 Jan 2021 12:43
Metadata Last Modified:15 Jan 2021 19:22

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