WATT PoultryUSA - January 2018 - 38
38 ❙ WATTPoultryUSA
DIFFERENT BROILER BREEDS
■ Initiate a study on the economic viability and consumer
preferences for slow-growing broilers.
Validating broiler welfare measures
Torrey said animal welfare often is seen as having
three components. The first component is biological functioning. Is the bird healthy, or is it sick? Is it lame? The
second is the effective state of health: Is the bird experiencing fear or stress, or is the bird experiencing boredom?
"Then the third pillar that some could argue is not as
relevant for modern animals is the natural living," Torrey
said. "Is it behaving like a bird?"
Modern breeds may not be as motivated to exhibit all
of the natural behaviors of a chicken as some of the heritage or slow-growing breeds are.
When asked about how relevant expression of behaviors is to the welfare of birds that may only be motivated
to move to the feeder or drinker, she said: "If they are not
motivated to walk around then that is not part of the their
behavioral repertoire, that's what that bird is, but if it is
not walking around because it is lame, because it has pain,
because its legs are not just strong enough to hold its body
up, or it has to take rest just from moving from one part of
the house to the other, if it wants to get access to different
resources. That in itself is a welfare concern."
To access welfare, the researchers will be gait scoring
the study birds weekly and physically assessing them for
Panel discussion on broiler
WATT Global Media will host a discussion, "How to measure and improve broiler
welfare," at the International Production and
Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta. The event
will be held 7:30 - 9 a.m. on Thursday, February 1, 2018, in room B 213 of the Georgia
World Congress Center. Admission is free,
but prior registration will be required.
Enrichments like this wooden 'box' can encourage
perching and give birds an obstacle to fly over.
the presence and severity of foot and hock lesions, long
bone deformities and presence and severity of crooked
toes. Every two weeks, some of the birds will be photographed using an infrared camera to evaluate feather coverage and any leg inflammation. Data loggers will be used
on a small sample of birds each week to determine overall
levels of inactivity. Bird behavior in the pens will be observed live and with use of video to assess activity levels,
resource use and comfort behavior on a weekly basis.
Evaluating efficiency and sustainability
In addition to welfare measurements, a number of
sustainability and efficiency measurements will be made
in the Optimizing Broiler Project. Feed intakes and body
weights will be measured weekly. The cause of death for
all mortalities will be determined. At processing, carcass
and meat quality will be assessed.
In later phases of the project, blood samples collected
at slaughter will be evaluated for plasma corticosterone
levels, creatine kinase and glucose levels. Additionally,
birds from three fast-growing and three slow-growing
strains will be raised in metabolic cages. Excreta samples
will be collected during starter, grower and finisher
phases to measure nutrient retention. Some of the birds
will be sacrificed at 8 and 12 weeks of age to collect tissue
and digesta samples. Presence of tibia dyschondroplasia
lesions will be evaluated as well as bone mineral density,
digestive tract development and digestive tract microbial
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ January 2018