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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ALTERNATIVE INTERVENTION AND CONTROL STRATEGIES FOR FOODBORNE PATHOGENS IN POULTRY AND POULTRY PRODUCTS

Location: Poultry Production and Products Safety Research

Title: Free-choice feeding of free-range meat chickens

Authors
item Fanatico, Anne -
item Brewer, V -
item Owens-Hanning, C -
item Donoghue, Dan -
item Donoghue, Ann

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Poultry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 31, 2013
Publication Date: December 11, 2013
Citation: Fanatico, A., Brewer, V.B., Owens-Hanning, C.M., Donoghue, D.J., Donoghue, A.M. 2013. Free-choice feeding of free-range meat chickens. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 22:750-758.

Interpretive Summary: Alternative feeding methods should be considered for free-range, organic, and other alternative poultry production. The number of small- and medium-scale producers raising specialty chickens for local and regional markets is growing and many of these producers do not have access to the nutritional services that large producers do and, in addition, may have specific goals in regard to nutrition, such as using pasture forage as much as possible to provide nutrients. Outdoor access is required for poultry and livestock in the organic programs of most countries and many do not permit the use of synthetic amino acids; some may even phase out the use of synthetic vitamins. Free-choice feeding is a method that offers birds separate feedstuffs, such as grains, protein concentrates, natural vitamin and mineral sources, from which they can self-select a diet suited to their changing needs. Nutrient needs change widely with birds raised with open housing due to temperature fluctuations and bird activity. In extensive production systems, forage plants hold potential to contribute significant protein and vitamins. Free-choice methods have had a historic use and can be useful for alternative producers, making use of farm-raised feeds to improve feed efficiency and savings. A trial was conducted with the objective of determining the impact of free-choice feeding on performance of free-range chickens.

Technical Abstract: Alternative feeding methods should be considered for free-range, organic, and other alternative poultry production. The number of small- and medium-scale producers raising specialty chickens for local and regional markets is growing and many of these producers do not have access to the nutritional services that large producers do and, in addition, may have specific goals in regard to nutrition, such as using pasture forage as much as possible to provide nutrients. Outdoor access is required for poultry and livestock in the organic programs of most countries and many do not permit the use of synthetic amino acids; some may even phase out the use of synthetic vitamins. Free-choice feeding is a method that offers birds separate feedstuffs, such as grains, protein concentrates, natural vitamin and mineral sources, from which they can self-select a diet suited to their changing needs. Nutrient needs change widely with birds raised with open housing due to temperature fluctuations and bird activity. In extensive production systems, forage plants hold potential to contribute significant protein and vitamins. Free-choice methods have had a historic use and can be useful for alternative producers, making use of farm-raised feeds to improve feed efficiency and savings. A trial was conducted with the objective of determining the impact of free-choice feeding on performance of free-range chickens.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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