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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fayetteville, Arkansas » Poultry Production and Product Safety Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #335658

Research Project: Antibiotic Alternatives for Controlling Foodborne Pathogens and Disease in Poultry

Location: Poultry Production and Product Safety Research

Title: An on-farm trial evaluating the effect of fast and slow growing genotypes on meat quality of chickens reared on a local pasture

item ARSI, KOMALA - University Of Arkansas
item TERRELL, SPENCER - University Of Arkansas
item OWENS, CASEY - University Of Arkansas
item ARAMBEL, HANNA - University Of Arkansas
item DONOGHUE, DAN - University Of Arkansas
item Donoghue, Ann - Annie

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2016
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: There has been increasing interest among the consumers for free range and organic poultry in recent years. Even though heritage breed birds grow much slower compared to commercial breeds, many free range producers believe that they are better suited for outdoor production systems. We conducted an on farm trial on a working pasture poultry farm to compare the performance and meat quality characteristics of a slow-growing heritage breed (Freedom Rangers, FR), and two commonly used fast growing types of chickens (Cornish cross, CC and Naked Neck, NN), raised on pasture, in side by side pens segregated by breed (n=70/breed). CC and NN group birds were reared for eight wk whereas FR group birds were reared for 10 wk and all the birds were commercially processed. By the end of the rearing period, the final body weight of FR group birds was significantly lower than both the fast growing genotypes (CC and NN). Both CC and NN birds showed significantly higher live weight, carcass weight as well as fillet, tender and leg yield (P<0.05). There was no difference in the wing and rack yield among the different groups. When the color of the meat was examined, the breast meat from FR birds was redder and less yellow compared to both the fast growing type of chickens (P<0.05). Overall, fast growing genotypes produced higher carcass weight and meat yield compared to slow growing genotypes and appear to be an economical option for pasture poultry producers.