Evaluation of three fast- and slow-growing chicken strains reared in two production environments

Author: A. Ghayas, J. Hussain, A. Mahmud & M.H. Jaspal
Year: 2020
Issue: 3
Volume: 50
Page: 378 - 388

The present study evaluated performance, physiological response and economics of commercial fast growing (CFG), commercial slow growing (CSG), and Rhode Island Red (RIR) chickens under intensive and free-range rearing environments. After 21 days of rearing under the same intensive environment 240 birds from each strain were subjected to free-range and intensive rearing until they were 56 days old. Each treatment was replicated six times with 20 birds in each replicate. Body surface and cloacal temperatures, respiration and heart rates, feed intake, bodyweight and weight gain, feed conversion efficiency, growth efficiency, and liveability were recorded. Significant differences among strains were detected in physiological response and growth performance (except liveability). Rearing environment also caused significant differences in physiological parameters (except body surface temperature) and growth performance (except liveability). Significant interactions of the strains and production systems were detected. The CFG strain grew most rapidly under the intensive system with differences between strains being reduced in the free-range system. The RSG and CSG strains had similar respiration rates under the two production systems but differed significantly from each other. However, the CFG strain had a significantly elevated respiration rate in the free-range system. Total input cost of rearing CFG under the intensive system was highest ($3.54) among the treatments, whereas CSG under a free-range environment generated the highest profit ($0.37 per bird). In conclusion, rearing CSG under free range was the most economic farming strategy in today’s scenario.

Keywords: : Growth, economics, fast-growing, free-range, intensive system, physiology, slow-growing rural chickens
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