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Growth and sensory characteristics of organically reared broilers differing in strain, sex and age at slaughter

Horsted, Klaus; Henning, Judith and Hermansen, John E. (2005) Growth and sensory characteristics of organically reared broilers differing in strain, sex and age at slaughter. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section A, 55, pp. 149-157.

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The effects of strain, sex and age on live weight, slaughter weight and sensory characteristics of organically reared broilers in orchards are presented. A total of 450 broilers of three different strains (I 657, Light Sussex, New Hampshire) were reared in an organic research orchard. Half of each strain was slaughtered at 91 days and the other half at 120 days. All broilers were weighed and a clinical welfare assessment was made at slaughter. A trained sensory panel evaluated the breast meat in relation to flavour, smell and texture characteristics defined by the panel. At both 91 and 120 days of age the commercial breed I 657 was significantly heavier than the slower growing strains. Males were significantly heavier than the females across strains. Weight ratios between males and females were nearly the same at both slaughter ages in I 657, whereas weight ratios increased significantly at 120 days in Light Sussex and New Hampshire. No overall effect of strain was found on the flavour and smell of the breast meat. However, the age-related changes in tenderness and toughness differed significantly between strains, since the commercial strain tended towards a tougher and less tender consistency with age, whereas the opposite was the case for the slower growing pure breeds. The positive flavour of salt was significantly improved at 120 days across strains with females having a saltier flavour than the males with age. The positive flavour of sweet corn was improved in the meat from the males, whereas the positive smell of sweet corn was significantly improved in both males and females. No negative effects of age were found.
In conclusion, broilers were tastier when slaughtered at 120 days compared with 91 days. The development in meat tenderness was related to strain, and weights at slaughter were related to both strain and sex.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Age, broiler production, strain, live weight, orchard, organic production, sex, sensory characteristics, slaughter weight
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Poultry
Research affiliation: Denmark > AU - Aarhus University > AU, DJF - Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
Denmark > SOAR - Research School for Organic Agriculture and Food Systems
Deposited By: Kirkegaard, Lene/LKI
ID Code:9134
Deposited On:30 Aug 2006
Last Modified:30 Apr 2013 08:54
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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