Study of the impact of various stocking densities on the performance, health and welfare of turkey broilers and heavy turkeys

Principal Investigator

Karen Schwean-Lardner, University of Saskatchewan

Year the work was done


Overall objective

  • To determine the impact that increasing graded levels of stocking density have on various parameters (productivity, health and welfare, and behaviour) of turkey production.


  • Higher stocking density was associated with decreased body weight and increased food to gain ratio, but not the overall feed consumption, body weight uniformity or mortality.
  • Feather condition and cleanliness were poorer with higher stocking densities, as were fait and footpad lesion scores at 16 weeks, but stocking density did not affect injuries from aggressive pecking.


  • The results of this research provides strong evidence with regards to what impacts various stocking densities have on commercial turkeys.
  • High stocking density negatively impacted performance, health, and welfare of the birds however, low stocking density also had some negative effects on bird well-being, suggesting that moderate densities may be more suitable for commercial practices.

This research applies to

Broilers, Turkeys

This research was supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canadian Poultry Research Council and Aviagen.