Research in poultry production systems
The organic table egg production in Denmark has over the past 3-4 years increased from nil to 12%, while the table chicken production is at its beginning. The breeding stock available is genetically adapted to conventional production, and for laying hens in particular, to cages. Previous research showed results regarding rearing of the chickens, and also regarding comparison of a non-commercial breed with the ISA Brown, that are the most common used hybrids for production of brown shelled eggs.
In this project focus is on the laying hen in flocks on private farms. A number of herds will be chosen in which two different breeds will be placed in such a way, that all parameters of interest can be followed for each breed separately. Among the parameters examined are production in terms of egg yield and feed efficiency, mortality and morbidity by post mortem examination, clinically evaluation and test for residuals of disease agents, behaviour traits like feather pecking, use of the free-range area and nesting. Finally the management and the physical condition of the instalment will be evaluated. Investigation will be carried out on different breeds and their ability to perform under the rules for organic production of table chickens. Focus will be on perches, and the chickens use of them, and the consequences for development of breast blisters.
The project is expected to obtain an improvement of the welfare of the birds, and to give the farmer a steady income. It intends to create knowledge about the suitability of existing breeding stock to the organic production form, about genetic control of the feather pecking/cannibalism syndrome, and about the incidence of disease.
II.6 Poultry production systems - health and welfare (PPS-HW)
Danish Institute for Agricultural Sciences, Dept. of Animal Breeding and Genetics
P.O. Box 50, DK-8830 Tjele
Phone: +45 89 99 13 03, Fax: +45 89 99 13 00
Anders Permin, KVL
Jørgen B. Kjaer and Birte L. Nielsen, DIAS