Integrating Free-Range Poultry with Ruminant and Agro-Forestry Production in a System Approach
Poultry Production and Products Safety Research
2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Determine the impact of integrating poultry with ruminant grazing on animal and bird performance, with a long-term focus of reducing pathogens (including Salmonella and Campylobacter) and parasite loads in animals and birds. Also determine the impact of forages high in protein on bird performance and disease/pathogen resistance.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Birds will be housed in small portable shelters that follow ruminant grazing. Bird weight gain, feed efficiency, parasite and pathogen colonization will be determined. Impact of poultry grazing on ruminant parasite control will also be determined.
The project, funded through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, is a collaborative effort with the ARS Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center in Booneville, AR; the National Center for Appropriate Technology; Louisiana State University; Appalachian State University; the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and farmer cooperators. Studies are being conducted to determine the impact of raising poultry with ruminants on animal and bird performance, livestock pathogens and parasites, benefits to pasture, and economics. Research was conducted to determine the palatability of sericea lespedeza to poultry and its efficacy after challenge of chicks with protozoan parasites of the genus Emeria. Sericea lespedeza is a common perennial legume found in pastures across the southern USA that has been shown to be effective at controlling parasitic nematodes in small ruminants due to its condensed tannins content. A manuscript was published in the Journal of Applied Poultry Research. Additional research was conducted to determine the efficacy of sericea lespedeza in chicks infected with two species of Eimeria. No efficacy was observed in this study. A manuscript is in preparation. Research was conducted to determine the impact of free-choice feeding on free-range meat chickens. A manuscript has been prepared and submitted for publication. A publication on Pastured Poultry Forages has also been written and submitted for publication. The publication covers historical use of forages, nutrients in forage, factors affecting forage intake, utilizing native and established forages vs. seeding, insects and other live protein, sprouting (indoor forage), feeding methods on pasture including free-choice, impact of forage-feeding on pastured poultry meat and eggs.