Assessing the behaviour and welfare of broiler breeders using alternative feeding strategies


Principal Investigator

Stephanie Torrey, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (at the University of Guelph)

Year the work was done

2010-2013

Overall objective

  • To investigate the implications of feed restriction strategies in broiler breeder chickens.

Outcomes

  • All of the alternative diets used in this study resulted in breeder body weights comparable to those obtained with commercial diets, and led to better feather condition, possibly due to less hunger-related feather pecking.
  • The breeders were not overtly averse to supplemental fibre in their diet. Behavioural studies are ongoing to determine which feeding program the birds prefer.

Application

  • Feed restriction in broiler breeders is an increasing animal welfare concern. Breeder diets containing fibre supplements and/or appetite suppressants may be a solution to improve breeder welfare while maintaining their health and reproductive performance.

This research applies to

Breeders

This research was supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and Canadian Poultry Research Council.