Sustainable Poultry Production Systems

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Poultry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2019) | Viewed by 54711

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Guest Editor
Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7068, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden
Interests: animal behaviour; animal welfare; welfare assessment; injurious pecking; sleep and rest in broilers

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Globally, poultry makes a substantial contribution to food security and nutrition. A growing human population and rising incomes result in an increasing demand for meat and eggs and poultry is the fastest growing animal production sector. However, for a sustainable development the sector needs to consider important environmental, economic and societal challenges. These relate for example to the sector’s impact on natural resources and biodiversity and effects on climate change, the effects of housing and management (e.g., stocking density, enrichment, feed restriction of broiler breeders), transport and slaughter conditions (e.g., transport duration, stunning quality) on animal welfare and threats to human health (e.g., poultry as a vector of infectious diseases and because of its role in antimicrobial resistance).

Defining sustainable development options for these complex issues requires the interaction of all stakeholders: Breeders, producers, supply industries, the wider food chain (e.g., farm assurance, levy bodies, transporters, markets, processors, retailers and food service sector), NGOs, environmental groups, governments, academia, etc.

We invite original research papers that address the sustainability of poultry production systems and consider above mentioned issues related to environmental, economic, ethical and societal aspects and their interactions. Papers may also address underlying structural, organizational, market and trade aspects that affect the sustainability of the poultry sector.

Prof. Harry J. Blokhuis
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Poultry
  • Sustainability
  • Broiler
  • Laying hen

Published Papers (11 papers)

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11 pages, 223 KiB  
Article
Transition from Conventional Broiler Meat to Meat from Production Concepts with Higher Animal Welfare: Experiences from The Netherlands
by Helmut W. Saatkamp, Luuk S. M. Vissers, Peter L. M. van Horne and Ingrid C. de Jong
Animals 2019, 9(8), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080483 - 25 Jul 2019
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 4851
Abstract
Since the 1970s, animal welfare (AW) in Dutch broiler production has been criticized by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the general public. Despite the development of production concepts aimed at improving AW, the conventional concept, which satisfied only the minimum legal requirements, remained by [...] Read more.
Since the 1970s, animal welfare (AW) in Dutch broiler production has been criticized by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the general public. Despite the development of production concepts aimed at improving AW, the conventional concept, which satisfied only the minimum legal requirements, remained by far the most dominant one in the Dutch fresh broiler meat market. Then, quite suddenly, in 2014–2015 (i.e., within less than two years), a new broiler concept with increased AW was introduced, which included a slower growing animal, more space, and an improved light regime. This alternative completely replaced the by then conventional concept. The aim of this study was to investigate the origin, causes, and driving forces of this sudden change. Popular and scientific literature, as well as interviews with key players in this transition process, were used to re-construct the chronology of events and draw the main and decisive findings. The latter include: (1) The availability of a cost-efficient alternative to conventional concepts, (2) a basic willingness to change within the entire value chain (including consumers), (3) initiating and triggering actions by NGOs, (4) decisive initiatives by retailers and (5) simultaneous introduction of the new concept and replacement of the conventional concept (i.e., depriving the consumer of a cheaper choice alternative). The result was a real transition of the Dutch fresh meat market without negative purchasing responses of the consumers. It was concluded that, although the Dutch fresh broiler meat market only included 30% of total domestic production, the existence of the abovementioned decisive factors could bring about an important change in favor of AW within a short period of time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
17 pages, 1045 KiB  
Article
Global Prospects of the Cost-Efficiency of Broiler Welfare in Middle-Segment Production Systems
by Luuk S.M. Vissers, Ingrid C. de Jong, Peter L.M. van Horne and Helmut W. Saatkamp
Animals 2019, 9(7), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9070473 - 23 Jul 2019
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 5354
Abstract
In the 2000s, the idea of a so-called middle-segment arose in North-West Europe to address the criticism on intensive broiler production systems. Middle-segment systems being indoor housing of slower-growing broiler strains at a stocking density ≤38 kg/m2. Previous literature showed that [...] Read more.
In the 2000s, the idea of a so-called middle-segment arose in North-West Europe to address the criticism on intensive broiler production systems. Middle-segment systems being indoor housing of slower-growing broiler strains at a stocking density ≤38 kg/m2. Previous literature showed that Dutch middle-segment systems entail a relatively large gain in animal welfare at a relatively low increase in costs, i.e., have a high cost-efficiency. The question is to what extent these findings are applicable to other countries. Therefore, the aim of this study is to gain insight in the global prospects of middle-segment systems by exploring the cost-efficiency of these systems in other parts of the world. A set of representative countries, containing the Netherlands, United States and Brazil were selected. Cost-efficiency was defined as the ratio of the change in the level of animal welfare and the change in production costs. The level of animal welfare was measured by the Welfare Quality (WQ) index score. Data was collected from literature and consulting experts. Results show that in the Netherlands, United States and Brazil a change from conventional towards a middle-segment system improves animal welfare in a cost-efficient manner (the Netherlands 9.1, United States 24.2 and Brazil 12.1). Overall, it can be concluded that in general middle-segment production systems provide a considerable increase in animal welfare at a relatively small increase in production costs and therefore offer good prospects for a cost-efficient improvement of broiler welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
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16 pages, 267 KiB  
Article
Effects of Low-Protein Diets and Exogenous Protease on Growth Performance, Carcass Traits, Intestinal Morphology, Cecal Volatile Fatty Acids and Serum Parameters in Broilers
by Gervais Ndazigaruye, Da-Hye Kim, Chang-Won Kang, Kyung-Rae Kang, Yong-Jin Joo, Sang-Rak Lee and Kyung-Woo Lee
Animals 2019, 9(5), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9050226 - 9 May 2019
Cited by 54 | Viewed by 4643
Abstract
Dietary exogenous proteases (ENZ) can be used in poultry production to improve the growth of chickens fed low-protein (LP) diets. We hypothesized that ENZ supplemented in an LP diet would improve growth performance and physiological response in broilers for 8–35 days. To investigate [...] Read more.
Dietary exogenous proteases (ENZ) can be used in poultry production to improve the growth of chickens fed low-protein (LP) diets. We hypothesized that ENZ supplemented in an LP diet would improve growth performance and physiological response in broilers for 8–35 days. To investigate this, we used a 2 × 2 factorial design with crude protein (CP, normal diet (NP) and LP) and ENZ. The LP diet contained low in 1% CP and ca. 8–12% amino acids compared to the NP diet and both NP and LP diets were added without or with (1 g/kg of diet) ENZ. We randomly allocated 720 1-week-old Ross 308 male chicks to 48 pens and experimental diets. At 21 days, dietary ENZ, but not CP, increased (p = 0.007) live body weight. Body weight gain from 8–21 days was affected (p = 0.006) by dietary ENZ, but was not affected (p = 0.210) by CP. The feed conversion ratio was affected by both CP and ENZ during the starter period (p < 0.05), by ENZ (p = 0.034) during the finisher period, and by CP (p < 0.001) during the whole period. However, the interaction between CP and ENZ did not significantly affect growth performance (p > 0.05). Dietary ENZ increased (p = 0.013) the relative weight of liver at 21 days. CP and ENZ affected (p = 0.043) total short-chain fatty acids at 21 days. However, this effect was not seen (p = 0.888) at 35 days. Dietary CP increased (p < 0.05) the serum concentrations of both uric acid and creatinine in broilers. We concluded that dietary ENZ is more beneficial to younger broilers, independent of CP levels, and that its effect was restricted to body weight and the feed conversion ratio. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
15 pages, 260 KiB  
Article
Effects of Different Papua New Guinea Sweetpotato Varieties on Performance and Level of Enteric Pathogens in Chickens
by Janet Pandi, Phil Glatz, Rebecca Forder and Kapil Chousalkar
Animals 2019, 9(4), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9040188 - 23 Apr 2019
Viewed by 3389
Abstract
In the last decade, research has targeted the evaluation of local feed ingredients for use in monogastric diets to alleviate the high cost of production of livestock at smallholder levels in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The PNG smallholder poultry production system involves many [...] Read more.
In the last decade, research has targeted the evaluation of local feed ingredients for use in monogastric diets to alleviate the high cost of production of livestock at smallholder levels in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The PNG smallholder poultry production system involves many families who rear multiple batches of meat birds every year. This study was conducted to evaluate the levels of enteric pathogens in the caeca of broilers fed with sweetpotato diets with varying levels of non-starch polysaccharides (NSP). Selection of a sweetpotato variety for use in broiler diets should be based on the total NSP content. In particular, varieties with low soluble NSPs are economical to use as Apparent Metabolizable Energy (AME) values are within the desired range for poultry and there is minimal need to include enzymes to improve NSP digestibility. The use of varieties with a low total NSP is also advantageous as the numbers of Clostridium perfringens was lower in broilers fed with these sweetpotato varieties. The level of Campylobacter and Salmonella levels were high in the ceca of birds fed with the sweetpotato varieties with high total NSP. These levels can be reduced with the inclusion of enzymes. This information will assist in the efficient use of local varieties of sweetpotato in PNG by small holder poultry farmers for sustainable poultry production and the commercial industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
13 pages, 492 KiB  
Article
Geese Reared in Vineyard: Soil, Grass and Animals Interaction
by Luisa Massaccesi, Alice Cartoni Mancinelli, Simona Mattioli, Mauro De Feudis, Cesare Castellini, Alessandro Dal Bosco, Maria Laura Marongiu and Alberto Agnelli
Animals 2019, 9(4), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9040179 - 19 Apr 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4028
Abstract
Agroforestry systems aim at increasing the productivity and the environmental sustainability of both crop and animal productions. The integration of small animals such as geese in the vineyard could represent an opportunity to improve farm income and reduce land use for grazing. The [...] Read more.
Agroforestry systems aim at increasing the productivity and the environmental sustainability of both crop and animal productions. The integration of small animals such as geese in the vineyard could represent an opportunity to improve farm income and reduce land use for grazing. The main objective of this work was to study the impact of geese rearing in an organic vineyard on the chemical and biochemical properties of the soil and the effect of Copper (Cu) supplied with the fungicide treatments. Furthermore, the amount of Cu in the animal tissues was also investigated. Three experimental areas within the vineyard were selected: High Geese Density (HGD-240 geese ha−1), Low Geese Density (LGD-120 geese ha−1) and Without Geese used as control soil (WG). The results indicated that both HGD and LGD did not affect the main chemical properties of the vineyard soils. LGD increased the amount and the efficiency of the microbial biomass in the upper soil horizons. Moreover, geese through the grazing activity reduced the Cu content in the vineyard soils, accumulating this element in their liver. However, the content of Cu in the breast and drumstick of vineyard geese did not show any significant difference in respect the meat of the control ones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
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19 pages, 318 KiB  
Article
Non-Parametrical Canonical Analysis of Quality-Related Characteristics of Eggs of Different Varieties of Native Hens Compared to Laying Lineage
by Antonio González Ariza, Francisco Javier Navas González, Ander Arando Arbulu, José Manuel León Jurado, Cecilio José Barba Capote and María Esperanza Camacho Vallejo
Animals 2019, 9(4), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9040153 - 9 Apr 2019
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3120
Abstract
The aim of the present study is to characterize the productive capability of Utrerana and to compare the relationships among parameters determining the internal and external quality of the egg, through canonical correlation analysis. A flock of 68 Utrerana hens and a control [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study is to characterize the productive capability of Utrerana and to compare the relationships among parameters determining the internal and external quality of the egg, through canonical correlation analysis. A flock of 68 Utrerana hens and a control group of Leghorn hens (n = 17) were housed individually to allow individual identification of eggs and for the assessment of egg quality characteristics. Almost all variables showed differences when both breeds were compared, except for white height, yolk diameter, yolkL* and yolk pH (p > 0.05). Only minor diameter, white height, yolkL*, yolka*, and shell weight reported significant differences between laying age groups. White height, yolk color, and almost all yolk color coordinates were significantly different (p < 0.05) for period and month. Egg and white weight reached highest significantly different levels for the fourth and fifth time that the hens laid an egg. External quality-related traits are better predictors of internal quality-related traits than vice versa, enabling the implementation of an effective noninvasive method for internal quality determination and egg classification aimed at suiting the needs of consumers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
10 pages, 257 KiB  
Article
Effect of Heat Stress and Stocking Density on Growth Performance, Breast Meat Quality, and Intestinal Barrier Function in Broiler Chickens
by Doyun Goo, Jong Hyuk Kim, Geun Hyeon Park, Jomari Badillo Delos Reyes and Dong Yong Kil
Animals 2019, 9(3), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030107 - 21 Mar 2019
Cited by 90 | Viewed by 6951
Abstract
The present experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of heat stress (HS) and stocking density (SD) on growth performance, breast meat quality, and intestinal barrier function in broiler chickens. Experimental treatments included two different ambient temperatures (20 °C: thermoneutral conditions, or 27.8 [...] Read more.
The present experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of heat stress (HS) and stocking density (SD) on growth performance, breast meat quality, and intestinal barrier function in broiler chickens. Experimental treatments included two different ambient temperatures (20 °C: thermoneutral conditions, or 27.8 °C: HS conditions) and two different SD (low: 9 birds/m2 and high: 18 birds/m2) in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement. A total of 1140 21-day-old broiler chickens were allotted 1 of 4 treatments with five replicates. At the end of the experiment (35 days of age), two birds per replicate were euthanized for sample collections. The results indicated no interactions between HS and SD for all measurements. For main effects, HS decreased (p < 0.05) the growth performance of broiler chickens. Similarly, high SD also decreased (p < 0.05) body weight gain and feed intake. HS decreased (p < 0.01) jejunal trans-epithelial electric resistance (TER), whereas high SD did not affect TER. Neither HS nor high SD affected jejunal tight junction-related gene expressions; however, high SD reduced (p < 0.05) occludin expression. In conclusion, HS and high SD are key environmental factors decreasing broiler performance; however, the interactive effects of HS and high SD are not significant under the current conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
12 pages, 255 KiB  
Article
Husbandry Practices, Health, and Welfare Status of Organic Broilers in France
by Rozenn Souillard, Jean-Michel Répérant, Catherine Experton, Adeline Huneau-Salaun, Jenna Coton, Loïc Balaine and Sophie Le Bouquin
Animals 2019, 9(3), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030097 - 19 Mar 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4425
Abstract
Organic poultry production has increased sharply with growing consumer demand in the context of sustainable development. A study was conducted in 85 organic broiler flocks between 2014 and 2015 to describe the husbandry practices and the health and welfare status of organic broilers [...] Read more.
Organic poultry production has increased sharply with growing consumer demand in the context of sustainable development. A study was conducted in 85 organic broiler flocks between 2014 and 2015 to describe the husbandry practices and the health and welfare status of organic broilers in France, and to study farming diversity by comparing independent farms (Ind farms, n = 15) with direct sales to farms working with companies (Comp farms, n = 70). Each flock was visited at 3 and 11 weeks of age to collect data on farming conditions, health disorders, and mortality. Welfare notation of 30 broilers per flock and parasitic examination of 5 broilers per flock was also performed. Findings showed significantly different farming management between Ind farms and Comp farms, with smaller flocks on the Ind farms (476 broilers/house vs. 3062 broilers/house, p < 0.01) more frequently in mobile houses. The mean mortality rate was 2.8%, mainly involving digestive disorders. Helminths were detected in 58.8% of the flocks. On average, 21.9% and 5.8% of broilers in a flock had footpad dermatitis and dirty feathers, respectively. The health and welfare characteristics of organic broilers on Ind farms vs. Comp farms were not significantly different, except dirtier feathers and more footpad dermatitis on Ind farms (19.1% vs. 2.9%, p = 0.03 and 39.6% vs. 18.1%, p = 0.02, respectively), associated with poultry housing conditions in mobile houses (p < 0.01). This study provides greater insight into farming sustainability aspects related to the husbandry practices, and the health and welfare of organic broilers in France. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
17 pages, 248 KiB  
Article
Feather Pecking and Cannibalism in Non-Beak-Trimmed Laying Hen Flocks—Farmers’ Perspectives
by Eija Kaukonen and Anna Valros
Animals 2019, 9(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9020043 - 30 Jan 2019
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 5362
Abstract
Pecking-related problems are common in intensive egg production, compromising hen welfare, causing farmers economic losses and negatively affecting sustainability. These problems are often controlled by beak trimming, which in Finland is prohibited. An online questionnaire aimed to collect information from farmers about pecking-related [...] Read more.
Pecking-related problems are common in intensive egg production, compromising hen welfare, causing farmers economic losses and negatively affecting sustainability. These problems are often controlled by beak trimming, which in Finland is prohibited. An online questionnaire aimed to collect information from farmers about pecking-related problems in Finnish laying hen flocks, important risk factors and the best experiences to prevent the problems. Additionally, the farmers’ attitudes towards beak trimming were examined. We received 35 responses, which represents about 13% of all Finnish laying hen farms with ≥300 laying hens. The majority of respondents stated that a maximum of 5–7% incidence of feather pecking or 1–2% incidence of cannibalism would be tolerable. The majority of respondents (74%) expressed that they would definitely not use beak-trimmed hens. Only two respondents indicated that they would probably use beak-trimmed hens were the practice permitted. Among risk factors, light intensity earned the highest mean (6.3), on a scale from 1 (not important) to 7 (extremely important). Other important problems included those that occurred during rearing, feeding, flock management and problems with drinking water equipment (mean 5.9, each). The most important intervention measures included optimal lighting and feeding, flock management, and removing the pecker and victim. Concluding, Finnish farmers had strong negative attitudes towards beak trimming. The study underlines the importance of flock management, especially lighting and feeding, in preventing pecking problems and indicates that it is possible to incorporate a non-beak-trimming policy into sustainable egg production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
14 pages, 594 KiB  
Article
HENNOVATION: Learnings from Promoting Practice-Led Multi-Actor Innovation Networks to Address Complex Animal Welfare Challenges within the Laying Hen Industry
by Lisa van Dijk, Henry J. Buller, Harry J. Blokhuis, Thea van Niekerk, Eva Voslarova, Xavier Manteca, Claire A. Weeks and David C. J. Main
Animals 2019, 9(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010024 - 11 Jan 2019
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 6550
Abstract
The Hennovation project, an EU H2020 funded thematic network, aimed to explore the potential value of practice-led multi-actor innovation networks within the laying hen industry. The project proposed that husbandry solutions can be practice-led and effectively supported to achieve durable gains in sustainability [...] Read more.
The Hennovation project, an EU H2020 funded thematic network, aimed to explore the potential value of practice-led multi-actor innovation networks within the laying hen industry. The project proposed that husbandry solutions can be practice-led and effectively supported to achieve durable gains in sustainability and animal welfare. It encouraged a move away from the traditional model of science providing solutions for practice, towards a collaborative approach where expertise from science and practice were equally valued. During the 32-month project, the team facilitated 19 multi-actor networks in five countries through six critical steps in the innovation process: problem identification, generation of ideas, planning, small scale trials, implementation and sharing with others. The networks included farmers, processors, veterinarians, technical advisors, market representatives and scientists. The interaction between the farmers and the other network actors, including scientists, was essential for farmer innovation. New relationships emerged between the scientists and farmers, based on experimental learning and the co-production of knowledge for improving laying hen welfare. The project demonstrated that a practice-led approach can be a major stimulus for innovation with several networks generating novel ideas and testing them in their commercial context. The Hennovation innovation networks not only contributed to bridging the science-practice gap by application of existing scientific solutions in practice but more so by jointly finding new solutions. Successful multi-actor, practice-led innovation networks appeared to depend upon the following key factors: active participation from relevant actors, professional facilitation, moderate resource support and access to relevant expertise. Farmers and processors involved in the project were often very enthusiastic about the approach, committing significant time to the network’s activities. It is suggested that the agricultural research community and funding agencies should place greater value on practice-led multi-actor innovation networks alongside technology and advisor focused initiatives to improve animal welfare and embed best practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
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11 pages, 365 KiB  
Commentary
Suggestions to Derive Maximum Stocking Densities for Layer Pullets
by E. Tobias Krause and Lars Schrader
Animals 2019, 9(6), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9060348 - 13 Jun 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3952
Abstract
Stocking densities for domestic chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus) are regulated by the Council Directives of the European Union for both laying hens and broiler chickens. For layer pullets no regulation of stocking density has been established yet. Based on the existing [...] Read more.
Stocking densities for domestic chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus) are regulated by the Council Directives of the European Union for both laying hens and broiler chickens. For layer pullets no regulation of stocking density has been established yet. Based on the existing Council Directives for laying hens (1999/74/EC), broiler chickens (2007/43/EC) and calculations of the floor space that is required for the respective chicken’s body, we exemplarily calculated maximum stocking densities for layer pullets. Based on the calculations we obtained absolute additional spaces for birds of different live body mass classes, i.e., useable floor space that the birds have additionally available to the space covered by their body. This allowed us to calculate the relative additional space per individual. We suggest the relative additional space to be a key parameter to derive requirements for a maximum stocking density in layer pullets. We analysed several scenarios for pullets under consideration of the Council Directives for laying hens and for broiler chickens, coming to the conclusion that layer pullets at the end of their rearing period should be provided ideally with a relative additional space of about 40–60%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Poultry Production Systems)
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