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Ebooks on agriculture and the applied life sciences from CAB International

CABI Book Chapter

Alternative systems for poultry: health, welfare and productivity.

Book cover for Alternative systems for poultry: health, welfare and productivity.


The proceedings is divided into seven parts with seventeen chapters. Part 1 discusses the alternative systems for poultry, impact of legislation and assurance schemes on alternative systems for poultry welfare and the politics and economics; while Part 2 deals with the effects of alternative systems on disease and health of poultry, production systems for laying hens and broilers and risk of human...


Chapter 14 (Page no: 250)

Alternative systems for meat chickens and turkeys: production, health and welfare.

Legislative and assurance scheme requirements for standard and alternative indoor and outdoor broiler and turkey production systems are described. Generally, health and welfare are protected to various extents by a series of input requirements, largely related to stocking density, light, environmental control parameters, environmental enrichment, mutilations and growth rate. Outcome measures (usually related to physical well-being) highlight flocks that perform poorly, and success depends on the effectiveness of the input and output measures, the reporting structure and any remedial action taken. Alternative systems represent a low market share of broiler and turkey production in the European Union (approximately 10 and 30%, respectively) and generally production costs more. Free range and organic systems are largely considered to have the potential to provide good living conditions and reduce environmental pollution. However, concerns have been raised over bird health (Campylobacter infection), welfare (higher foot lesions and breast blisters, lack of outdoor ranging), product quality and consumers' willingness to pay. Research shows that breed suitability is one of the largest factors in determining welfare in alternative systems, particularly for broiler chickens. More robust, hardy breeds with lower growth rates should be used; these birds are better suited to a wide range of environmental parameters and diets with lower energy density. The quality of the diet (particularly in relation to indispensable amino acids and protein balance) and the free range environment (particularly in relation to the provision of natural cover outdoors) are also highly important for both broilers and turkeys. The meat from slow growth broiler breeds is more suited to the whole bird market (as opposed to portioned or further processed) and generally contains less fat and more protein than from conventional breeds. Consumers tend to be unable to differentiate chicken products from alternative systems by odour and taste, but can differentiate by appearance and texture.

Other chapters from this book

Chapter: 1 (Page no: 1) What are alternative systems for poultry? Author(s): Fröhlich, E. K. F. Niebuhr, K. Schrader, L. Oester, H.
Chapter: 2 (Page no: 23) The impact of legislation and assurance schemes on alternative systems for poultry welfare. Author(s): Pritchard, D. G.
Chapter: 3 (Page no: 53) Politics and economics. Author(s): Appleby, M. C.
Chapter: 4 (Page no: 62) The effects of alternative systems on disease and health of poultry. Author(s): Lister, S. Nijhuis, B. van
Chapter: 5 (Page no: 77) Production systems for laying hens and broilers and risk of human pathogens. Author(s): Hoorebeke, S. van Dewulf, J. Immerseel, F. van Jorgensen, F.
Chapter: 6 (Page no: 97) Introduction to village and backyard poultry production. Author(s): Pym, R. A. E. Alders, R. G.
Chapter: 7 (Page no: 110) Technology and programmes for sustainable improvement of village poultry production. Author(s): Besbes, B. Thieme, O. Rota, A. Guèye, E. F. Alders, R. G.
Chapter: 8 (Page no: 128) Production systems for waterfowl. Author(s): Guémené, D. Shi, Z. D. Guy, G.
Chapter: 9 (Page no: 155) Game bird breeding, brooding and rearing - health and welfare. Author(s): Pennycott, T. Deeming, C. McMillan, M.
Chapter: 10 (Page no: 169) Housing and management of layer breeders in rearing and production. Author(s): Thiele, H. H.
Chapter: 11 (Page no: 190) Furnished cages for laying hens. Author(s): Elson, H. A. Tauson, R.
Chapter: 12 (Page no: 210) Performance, welfare, health and hygiene of laying hens in non-cage systems in comparison with cage systems. Author(s): Rodenburg, T. B. Reu, K. de Tuyttens, F. A. M.
Chapter: 13 (Page no: 225) Housing and management of broiler breeders and turkey breeders. Author(s): Jong, I. C. de Swalander, M.
Chapter: 15 (Page no: 297) Nutritional challenges of alternative production systems. Author(s): MacLeod, M. G. Bentley, J. S.
Chapter: 16 (Page no: 316) Genotype-environment interaction: breeding layers with different requirements for varying housing systems. Author(s): Icken, W. Schmutz, M. Preisinger, R.
Chapter: 17 (Page no: 340) Is there a future for alternative production systems? Author(s): Sandilands, V. Hocking, P. M.