Incubation characteristics, growth performance, carcass characteristics and meat quality of Saxonian Chicken and German Langshan bantam breeds in a free-range rearing system

Freick, M.; Herzog, M.; Rump, S.; Vogt, I.; Weber, J.; John, W.; Schreiter, R.

Veterinary Medicine and Science 8(4): 1578-1593

2022


ISSN/ISBN: 2053-1095
PMID: 35748114
Accession: 080056360

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Abstract
In the absence of evidence-based findings for Saxonian Chicken (SaChi) and German Langshan bantam (GLB), which are indigenous endangered German fancy chicken breeds, the objective of the present study was to characterise their growth performance and meat potential in an extensive free-range system METHODS: A total of 340 hatching eggs from SaChi and 439 eggs from GLB were provided by private breeders, from which 263 SaChi (77.3%) and 174 GLB (39.6%) hatched (p < 0.001) RESULTS: By week 20, SaChi reached body weights of 2362.3 ± 315.3 g (mean ± SD; roosters) and 1624.7 ± 158.9 g (hens), while GLB weighed 1089.7 ± 148.3 g (roosters) and 820.4 ± 89.5 g (hens). Fitting the non-linear regression of growth data to the Gompertz function estimated asymptotic body weights of 3131.4, 2363.9, 1359.2 and 1107.3 g, with inflection point times of 10.5, 10.3, 9.2 and 9.3 weeks in male SaChi, female SaChi, male GLB and female GLB, respectively. Moderate plumage damage was observed on days 18, 35, 53, 70 and 105 in SaChi and on days 53, 70 and 105 in GLB, while all birds presented completely intact plumage on day 140. Using a binary logistic regression model, breed, age and sex were shown to affect the plumage condition (p < 0.001 each). Roosters were slaughtered in week 20. No breed effects were detected in the carcass yield (SaChi: 68.8 ± 1.7%, GLB: 69.7 ± 1.8%) (p = 0.135) or abdominal fat share (SaChi: 0.89 ± 0.15%, GLB: 1.08 ± 0.14%) (p = 0.281). The percentage of valuable cuts (breast fillets and legs) in the carcass was 43.8 ± 1.9% for SaChi and 43.1 ± 3.0% for GLB (p = 0.490) DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, this study provides insights into the performance traits and welfare indicators during the rearing of two endangered German chicken breeds.