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Bird health, housing and management routines in Swedish organic broiler chicken farms.

Göransson, Lina; Yngvesson, Jenny and Gunnarsson, Stefan (2020) Bird health, housing and management routines in Swedish organic broiler chicken farms. Animals, 10 (11), p. 2098.

[thumbnail of animals-10-02098-v2 (1).pdf] PDF - Published Version - English

Document available online at: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/10/11/2098


Slower-growing broilers on organic farms have replaced fast-growing hybrids to increase bird welfare. Due to limited knowledge of broiler welfare and management on organic farms in Sweden, the study aim was to gather information regarding health, housing and management routines, in order to describe the current situation on these. Farm visits performed in 2018 included 8 out of 12 established organic farms, on which either Rowan Ranger or HubbardJA57/HubbardJA87 were reared. Chickens in the observed flocks were 55 ± 6 (44–62) days of age. Observations included farmer interviews, indoor environment assessments, clinical examinations and gait scoring. Clinical examinations revealed no severe remarks, however minor to moderate plumage dirtiness, food pad dermatitis and hock burns were found in 47%, 21% and 13% of the birds, respectively. Although no severe walking impairments were observed, minor to moderate gait abnormalities were seen in two-thirds of the birds. Gait in birds assessed outdoors was significantly better than in birds observed indoors. Body weight uniformity was low in all flocks. This study provides increased knowledge of certain chicken health and welfare aspects, housing and management on Swedish organic farms. Future research should further investigate important aspects related to bird welfare, such as the high mortality rates observed.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:slower-growing; welfare; foot pad dermatitis; hock burns; plumage; gait; body weight uniformity; mortality
Agrovoc keywords:
poultry breeds
organic farming -> organic agriculture
poultry farming
Subjects: Farming Systems
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Animal husbandry > Production systems > Poultry
Research affiliation: European Union > CORE Organic > CORE Organic Cofund > FreeBirds
Sweden > Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) > Department of Animal Environment and Health
Horizon Europe or H2020 Grant Agreement Number:727495
Deposited By: Gunnarsson, Dr Stefan
ID Code:40042
Deposited On:11 Jun 2021 08:55
Last Modified:11 Jun 2021 08:55
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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