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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mississippi State, Mississippi » Poultry Research » Research » Research Project #433602

Research Project: Enhancing Sustainability and Production Efficiency through Improved Management and Housing Design in Commercial Broilers

Location: Poultry Research

2018 Annual Report

1. Identify optimum stocking densities and spatial allocation of feed and water resources for antibiotic free production of commercial broiler chickens. 1.1. Determine optimum stocking density for three classes of market weight broilers representing food service (2 kg), retail (3 kg), and further processing (4 kg). 1.2. Evaluate interaction of feeder and drinker space to define feed and water access requirements for heavy broiler chickens. 2. Assess energy and input resource requirements for environmental control strategies for modern broiler housing. 2.1. Evaluate interactions of fan placement and inlet design on energy and water use requirements. 2.2. Evaluate effect of light control techniques to provide enhanced photoperiod and intensity control on production efficiency in heavy broilers.

Birds and feed will be weighed at each feeding phase change; body weight (BW), body weight gain (BWG), feed intake (FI), and feed conversion ratio (FCR) will be calculated. On the final day of the trial, 10 male and 10 female birds per pen will be randomly selected for processing to obtain yield data. The sampled birds will be tagged, group weighed per pen and feed will be removed 12 h before birds will be transported to the Mississippi State University Poultry Processing plant. The birds will be electrically stunned, bled, scalded, and mechanically processed. Measurements will include carcass weight, dressing percentage, fat pad percentage, and pectoralis major and pectoralis minor breast meat yield. Foot pad examination will be performed on all processed birds per Olanrewaju et al. (2011). In addition, each carcass will be evaluated for skin defects (skin scratches, tears, and blisters).

Progress Report
All 12-month milestone winter-associated experiments have been conducted and data analysis is underway. Also, all 12-month milestone summer-associated experiments are underway. Field measurements associated with cooling pad velocity and water consumption will continue through Summer 2019, while the lighting instrumentation system has been developed, constructed and validated with field data having been collected in both North Carolina and Mississippi. Further, data collection in Texas will occur through August 2018.

1. Water supply rates for recirculating evaporative cooling systems. Newly constructed poultry houses use increased ventilation rates to further improve cooling and have resulted in increased water usage. Recent droughts and increasing municipal water costs have highlighted the need for proper planning and design of water supply systems to ensure peak demand is met. Few estimates of water use are available for recirculating evaporative cooling pad and fan systems, and design guidance has emphasized planning for extreme temperatures, resulting in excessive capacity recommendations. Historical weather data from 732 weather stations across the continental U.S. was used to estimate evaporation rate for differing levels of system efficiency. Results of this analysis show that water supply rates for areas with dense poultry production including the Southeast, Delmarva Peninsula, and Iowa ranged from 3.3 to 4.2 gpm/100,000 cu. ft. air flow volume.

2. Species-specific lighting for broiler chickens. Commercial poultry operations have adopted alternative lighting systems to replace traditional incandescent light sources. New lighting technologies offer the ability to tailor lighting systems according to the specific spectral sensitivity characteristics of poultry. Providing a lighting environment that accounts for the specific characteristics of poultry vision may improve bird welfare and production efficiency. This study examined live performance and carcass yield in male broilers provided lighting from two different LED light sources (red-supplemented vs. un-supplemented) with intensities adjusted to either human spectral sensitivity (lux) or poultry spectral sensitivity (clux). No differences were observed in body weight, body weight gain, feed intake, feed conversion, and mortality among main effect treatments or interactions. The data showed that broad spectrum lighting sources should not be expected to influence live performance or processing yields and design of lighting systems and programs is primarily an economic decision driven by capital and operation costs.

Review Publications
Olanrewaju, H.A., Miller, W.W., Maslin, W.R., Collier, S.D., Purswell, J.L., Branton, S.L. 2018. Influence of light-sources and photoperiod on growth performance, carcass characteristics and health indices of broilers grown to heavy weights. Poultry Science. 97(4):1109-1116.
Purswell, J.L., Linhoss, J.E., Edge, C., Davis, J.D., Campbell, J. 2018. Water supply rates for recirculating evaporative cooling systems in poultry housing. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 34(3):581-590.