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Workshop and desk study to appraise technical difficulties associated with organic breeder flocks and organic hatching

Gordon, S (2003) Workshop and desk study to appraise technical difficulties associated with organic breeder flocks and organic hatching. ADAS , Gleadthorpe.

[thumbnail of OF0336_2174_FRP.pdf] PDF - English

Document available online at: http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&Completed=0&ProjectID=11941


To date, Regulation (EC) 1804/1999 and UKROFS Standards allow conventionally produced day old chicks up to three days of age to be brought into systems of organic table chicken production. Chicks must be reared according to the rules laid down in Regulation (EC) 1804/1999 and according to UKROFS Standards for at least 70 days before the birds may be sold as being organic. The derogation for organic breeder flocks was agreed for a transitional period expiring on 31st December 2003. An extension to the derogation is being discussed at EU level (Article 14 Committee) but, as an interim measure, a new end date has not yet been published in the Official Journal.
If chicks are to be produced from breeder flocks in accordance with Regulation (EC) 1804/1999 this may potentially create a number of scientific and technical problems. A series of workshops and a literature review were commissioned by Defra to provide possible solutions to these problems.
1. To organise a workshop involving key representatives of Defra, Soil Association, the poultry industry (organic and conventional), feed trade and scientific community and poultry veterinary practitioners in order to identify the important technical problems and limiting factors, and to identify possible solutions.
2. To address some of the perceived technical and scientific problems by means of a review of the scientific literature.
3. To convene a second workshop to review progress and to discuss the findings of the literature review. The second workshop also considered future research needs and mechanisms for technology transfer.
The initial workshop identified factors likely to limit the success of organic breeder production, and therefore of organic table chicken production. The priority issues were: the energy balance of breeders on range; supplying protein and amino acids; the future needs for 100% organic feed ingredients, including difficulties in meeting energy and protein requirements from organic sources; assessing the impact of diet on manure nutrient content; and health and disease.
The project addressed Defra’s policy of supporting the development of organic poultry production in the UK. The work identified specific difficulties associated with organic breeding and hatching. Although information collected through consultation and literature review, provide some insight into the technical issues, significant information gaps remain. Requirements for further research were considered by workshop participants, and their recommendations include;
1. Bioenergetics Research into the energy balance of female birds, in particular the effects of feather cover and locomotion, and the time spent outdoors, has a high priority. The provision of outdoor shelter is also worthy of calorimetric investigation.
2. Nutrition Choice feeding may offer an approach address the problems of energy and protein balance, as related to the thermal environment.
3. Monitoring disease status The effects of rearing according to the organic requirements requires monitoring both for bird welfare and public health.
4. Nutrient budgets The monitoring of inputs and outputs in order to calculate plant nutrient budgets is required both on an individual farm and local co-operative basis. This requires data on manure nutrient content.
5. Sex ratios Outdoor systems may require different male:female ratios.
6. Management of slow growing breeder hybrids This has not yet been assessed in UK outdoor systems. Factors to be investigated include target body weights and variations in body weight. Flock performances, labour costs, and optimal flock life are factors requiring further investigation before sound advice, including guideline costings, can be offered to producers.

EPrint Type:Report
Type of Facility:Other
Other Type:n/a
Keywords:chicken production, hatchery, poultry, breeding, animal nutrition, knowledge transfer, animal health, animal welfare, knowledge transfer
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Poultry
Knowledge management > Education, extension and communication > Technology transfer
Animal husbandry > Breeding and genetics
Research affiliation: UK > ADAS
UK > Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Deposited By: Defra, R&D Organic Programme
ID Code:6774
Deposited On:10 Mar 2006
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:32
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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