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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

2020 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. 3. Using precision livestock technologies, determine the environmental factors within broiler housing environments that contribute to muscle myopathies of poultry breast meat and develop strategies to mitigate them.

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
Feeder space availability significantly changes feeding behavior; in particular birds spend less time feeding as feeder space increases. Feeder utilization rate increases with decreasing feeder space (i.e. more birds feed more often). However, feed usage increases with increased feeder space, leading to significantly increased feed conversion and ultimately increased feeder costs. An increase of 0.03 feed:gain was observed when feeder space was increased from 2.3 to 4.6 cm/bird for 3.9 kg (56 days of age) broilers. Significant declines in body weight at 14 and 28 days of age were observed for birds with 2.3 cm/bird feeder space, however body weight equalized among feeder space treatments at 42 and 56 days of age.


Review Publications
Olanrewaju, H.A., Miller, W.W., Maslin, W.R., Collier, S.D., Purswell, J.L., Branton, S.L. 2019. Interactive effects of light sources, photoperiod, and strains on growth performance, carcass characteristics and health indices of broilers grown to heavy weights. Poultry Science. 98(12):6232-6240.
Olanrewaju, H.A., Purswell, J.L., Collier, S.D., Branton, S.L. 2020. Interactive effects of light-sources, photoperiod, and strain on blood physiological variables of broilers grown to heavy weights. International Journal of Poultry Science. 19(2):86-96. 10.3923/ijps.2020.86.96.