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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Validating Broiler Welfare Programs


Dr. Elizabeth Bobeck of Iowa State University recently completed a project evaluating auditing and enrichment of broiler flocks. The project entitled Validating Current Broiler Welfare Auditing Programs and Advancing Enrichment was funded as project 703 by USPOULTRY.

The study evaluated a laser enrichment device that encouraged movement within the flock. Increased activity was observed between two and five weeks of age and the system apparently improved feed intake, live weight, average daily gain and feed conversion efficiency. The flocks exposed to laser enrichment gained 0.11 pounds more than controls at 42 days with an18-point decrease in feed conversion efficiency during the finisher period.

Dr. Bobeck and colleagues refined standards for auditing welfare including dermatitis and incorporating a novel gait score with a determination of the distance walked by broilers.

The application of objective scientific measures to determine broiler welfare represents an advance over subjective evaluation. If practical, these standards should be adopted by the National Chicken Council and accepted by customers and consumers.

Copyright 2019 Simon M. Shane