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Does the Source of Chicks have an Impact on Performance of Birds within Organic Table Bird Production Systems ?

Pegg, Vanessa and Pearce, Bruce (2003) Does the Source of Chicks have an Impact on Performance of Birds within Organic Table Bird Production Systems ? .

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Summary

Sheepdrove Organic Farm wanted to know whether the source of day old chicks and brooding and production period would have an impact on their enterprise. Sheepdrove Organic Farm wanted to know whether the source of day old chicks and brooding and production period would have an impact on their enterprise.
An experiment was undertaken using two different sources of day old chicks and on two sites. 1000 day old chicks from Maurice Millard were exchanged with 1000 organic chicks from Devon Foods. These chicks were then put through the Sheepdrove (SOF) and Devon Foods Bradbury Barton (BB) organic production systems and weighed every week until depletion.
The two systems were not identical and there were slight variations between the SOF and BB systems. BB had 500 bird flocks compared to SOFs 1000, BB had a brooding period of four weeks to SOFs three and BB total production period was 11 weeks to SOFs 10 weeks.
There is no significant difference between the performances of the birds from the two different sources, although the experiment has highlighted the importance of high stockmanship at all times.
There is no overall benefit in brooding the chicks for four weeks but there does appear to be short-term benefits in not brooding for four weeks as the three week brooded birds performed better over the weeks they were introduced to the field (there is a caveat to this that the experiment was undertaken under warm summer conditions). Increasing the production period from 10 to 11 weeks could be beneficial as the final weights of the birds at 11 weeks on the BB site were at or above SOFs optimum weight.


EPrint Type:Report
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Poultry
Research affiliation: UK > Organic Research Centre (ORC) - Elm Farm
Deposited By: O'Brien, Josie
ID Code:10293
Deposited On:15 Jan 2007
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:34
Document Language:English
Status:Unpublished
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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