+ Site Statistics
+ Search Articles
+ PDF Full Text Service
How our service works
Request PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Follow on LinkedIn
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
Most Shared
PDF Full Text
+ Translate
+ Recently Requested

Influence of stocking density on the performance, carcass characteristics and selected welfare indicators of broiler chickens

Influence of stocking density on the performance, carcass characteristics and selected welfare indicators of broiler chickens

New Zealand Veterinary Journal 52(2): 76-81

To compare the effects of four stocking densities (5, 10, 15 or 20 birds per m2) on the performance, carcass characteristics and selected welfare indicators of broiler chickens. A total of 756 day-old male broiler chicks were assigned as six replicates of 13, 25, 38 and 50 birds per pen, to stocking densities of 2,000, 1,000, 667 and 500 cm2 floor space per bird, respectively. The birds were housed in floor pens in an environmentally controlled room. Normal commercial diets were fed ad libitum and fresh water was freely available throughout the 5-week study period. Liveweights of birds and feed intake were recorded at weekly intervals. Data on carcass parameters and welfare indicators (moisture, gait scores, feather scores, breast and hip lesions, and foot pad and hock burns) were obtained on Day 35. Adrenal glands were removed at slaughter, weighed and examined histologically to determine the total proportion of cortical and medullary tissues. During the study, the birds at the lowest density grew faster (p<0.001-0.01) and consumed more (p<0.001- 0.01) feed than those at the other three stocking densities. The liveweight gains and feed intake of birds reared at densities of 10, 15 and 20 birds per m2 were similar (p=0.11-0.83 and p=0.17-0.57, respectively). Stocking density had no influence on the feed/weight gain, mortality or carcass characteristics. No breast or hip lesions were observed in carcasses from any of the groups. The weight and structure of the adrenal glands were similar across all groups although the staining of medullary tissue of birds was most intense in the highest stocking density group. As stocking density increased, so did moisture and gait score, hock and foot pad burn scores, and the feather score was adversely affected. The data showed that the relationship between stocking density and productivity traits was not linear in nature, in accordance with other studies. Under the conditions of the current study, the performance, mortality and carcass characteristics of broilers grown at densities of 10, 15 and 20 birds per m2 were similar. There were some welfare implications at high population densities as indicated by adverse effects on litter quality, gait scores and the incidence of hock and foot pad burns.

Please choose payment method:

(PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90)

Accession: 004205208

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 15768100

DOI: 10.1080/00480169.2004.36408

Related references

Impacts of stocking density on the performance and welfare of broiler chickens. Italian Journal of Animal Science 12(1): e11, 2013

Effects of lighting, stocking density, and access to perches on leg health variables as welfare indicators in broiler chickens. Livestock Science 218: 31-36, 2018

Welfare of male and female broiler chickens in relation to stocking density, as indicated by performance, health and behaviour. Animal Welfare 11(1): 55-73, 2002

Assessment of stocking densities on the performance, behaviour and carcass characteristics of broiler chickens in the humid tropics. Global Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences 7(4): 641-645, 2001

Influence of stocking density and lighting systems on broiler performance and carcass quality. Proceedings, 9th European Poultry Conference, Glasgow, UK, 7-12 August 1994 Volume 1: 137-138, 1994

Effects of fumonisin B1 and mycotoxin binders on growth performance, tibia characteristics, gut physiology, and stress indicators in broiler chickens raised in different stocking densities. Poultry Science 97(3): 845-854, 2018

Stocking density-related welfare of broiler chickens of two commercial strains. Animals and environment, Volume 2: Proceedings of the XIIth ISAH Congress on Animal Hygiene, Warsaw, Poland, 4-8 September 2005: 174-177, 2005

Influence of stocking density on growth rate and carcass characteristics of floor reared meat type domestic chickens. Annales de Zootechnie 37(2): 87-98, 1988

The effect of stocking density on the welfare and behaviour of broiler chickens reared commercially. Animal Welfare 10(1): 23-40, 2001

Impact of stocking density on broiler growth performance, meat characteristics, behavioural components and indicators of physiological and oxidative stress. British Poultry Science 53(6): 721-730, 2012

Stocking density effects on broiler welfare: identifying sensitive ranges for different indicators. Poultry Science 88(8): 1536-1543, 2009

Effect of diet, stocking density and sex on carcass yield in broiler chickens at 49 and 70 days old. Revista Cubana de Ciencia Avicola 19(1): 33-39, 1992

Responses of modern broiler chicks to stocking density, green tea, commercial multi enzymes and their interactions on productive performance, carcass characteristics, liver composition and plasma constituents. International Journal of Poultry Science 3(10): 635-645, 2004

The effect of broiler stocking density on bird welfare and performance. British Poultry Science 33(5): 1120-1121, 1992

Effects of stocking density and string provision on welfare-related measures in commercial broiler chickens in windowed houses. Poultry Science 97(5): 1503-1510, 2018