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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

2021 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
Experiments that were rescheduled for Summer 2021 (1.1.1, 1.1.2, and 1.1.3 3kg and 4kg) due to COVID restrictions in 2020 have been delayed until 60 month period due to catastrophic failure of animal room environmental controller. Efforts are currently ongoing to install new controllers and expect building to be functional in mid-September 2021. Stakeholders are keenly interested in the results of these trials and the Unit is committed to completing these milestones and disseminating the information to poultry stakeholders. Objective 1.1.4 is fully complete and data is currently being analyzed. Objective 1.2 (summer access trial 2) is underway. Lighting trials (2.2.2) are complete and physiological samples are currently under analysis.

1. Lighting programs for broilers. Redefinition of lighting requirements during the brooding period for broiler chicks. ARS researchers in Mississippi State, Mississippi, showed that results from live production trials that additional time in the scotophase (up to 4 hours) does not affect live performance in broiler chickens. Allowing for 4 hours of darkness promotes eye and vision development as well as energy savings (approximately 5% for lighting costs).

2. Lighting system design for broilers. Current concerns regarding dimmer design and its interactions with lamps that result in lamp damage and reduced output and lamp life were evaluated. ARS researcher in Mississippi State, Mississippi, showed that there was no evidence of dimmer design waveform effect on lamp output and life have been detected. Lighting system design, particularly in building wiring and component condition appear to be more influential factors in lamp durability.

Review Publications
Li, G., Zhao, Y., Porter, Z., Purswell, J.L. 2021. Automated measurement of broiler stretching behaviors under four stocking densities via faster region-based convolutional neural network. Animal-The International Journal of Animal Biosciences. 15(1):1751-7311.
Yang, X., Huo, X., Li, G., Purswell, J.L., Tabler, G.T., Chesser, G.D., Magee, C.L., Zhao, Y. 2020. Effects of elevated perching platform and robotic vehicle on broiler production, welfare, and housing environment. Transactions of the ASABE. 63(6):1981-1990.
Olanrewaju, H.A., Purswell, J.L., Collier, S.D., Branton, S.L. 2020. Effect of stocking density and dietary antimicrobial inclusion of male broilers grown to 35 days of age1 Part 1: Biochemical and enzymatical variables. International Journal of Poultry Science. 19:403-410.
Li, G., Zhao, Y., Purswell, J.L., Chesser, G.D., Lowe, J.W., Wu, T. 2020. Effects of antibiotic-free diet and stocking density on male broilers reared to 35 days of age. Part 2: Feeding and drinking behaviors of broilers. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 29(2):391-401.
Linhoss, J.E., Purswell, J.L., Lowe, J.W., Chesser, G.D. 2020. Characterizing light leakage and spatial variation of illuminance in commercial broiler houses during tunnel ventilation. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 29:(4)1091-1100.
Li, G., Zhao, Y., Purswell, J.L., Magee, C.L. 2021. Effects of feeder space on broiler feeding behaviors. Poultry Science. 100:101016.
Olanrewaju, H.A., Purswell, J.L., Collier, S.D., Branton, S.L. 2020. Effect of stocking density and dietary antimicrobial inclusion of male broilers grown to 35 days of age1 Part 2: Blood physiological variables. International Journal of Poultry Science. 19:447-454.
Linhoss, J.E., Purswell, J.L., Magee, C.L., Chesser, G.D. 2021. Effect of stocking density on crop fill progression in broilers grown to 14 d. Poultry Science. 100:100929.
Li, G., Zhao, Y., Hailey, R., Zhang, N., Liang, Y., Purswell, J.L. 2019. An ultra-high frequency RFID system for studying individual feeding and drinking behaviors of group-housed broilers. Animal-The International Journal of Animal Biosciences. 13(9):2060–2069.
Purswell, J.L., Kim, E.J., Branton, S.L. 2020. Research Note: Effect of feed form and feeder position on feed consumption patterns in male broilers. Transactions of the ASABE. 63(3):655-658.
Purswell, J.L., Davis, J.D., Chesser, G.D., Lowe, J.W. 2020. Evaluation of field-stored switchgrass hay as litter material for broilers. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 29(2):391-401.
Linhoss, J., Purswell, J.L., Street, J., Rowland, M. 2019. Evaluation of biochar as a litter amendment for commercial broiler production. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 28(4):1089-1098.