Effect of housing system and feed restriction on meat quality of medium-growing chickens

ENGLMAIEROVÁ, Michaela, SKŘIVAN, Miloš, TAUBNER, Tomáš, SKŘIVANOVÁ, Věra and ČERMÁK, Ladislav. Effect of housing system and feed restriction on meat quality of medium-growing chickens. Poultry Science, 2021, 100, Article number 101223. ISSN 1525-3171.
CathegoryScientific publication in impacted journals
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The aim of the study was to evaluate the differences in meat quality of 420 Hubbard JA757 cockerels in relation to the housing system (litter and mobile box) and level of mixed feed (ad libitum [AL], reducing the level by 20% [R20] and 30% [R30]). Three groups of chickens were housed in litter boxes for the entire fattening period (stocking density: 0.094 m2/bird). The other 3 groups were housed in litter boxes until 28 d of age and then relocated into mobile boxes (stocking density: 0.154 m2/bird) on pasture until the end of the experiment at 57 d of age. Restricted groups received a reduced diet level from 29th to 57th d of age. Feed mixture restriction increased the pasture vegetation intake of chickens from 2.63 to 3.50 (R20) and 3.94 g of dry matter/bird/d (R30). Restriction adversely affected the dressing percentage (P < 0.001) and breast yield (P < 0.001), while the leg yield (P < 0.001) was increased with increasing restriction levels. Meat of chickens housed in mobile boxes on a pasture showed lower cooking loss (P < 0.001) and higher redness and yellowness values in the skin (P = 0.030 and P = 0.026; respectively) and meat (P = 0.008 and P < 0.001; respectively). The fragile meat after cooking was observed in chickens reared on litter (P = 0.001). As the level of restriction increased, the number of muscle fibres (P = 0.001) increased, and their cross-sectional area (P = 0.001) and diameter (P = 0.002) decreased. The highest contents of lutein (P = 0.002) and zeaxanthin (P = 0.006) in breast muscle were found in chickens housed in mobile boxes and fed 80% and 70% AL. However, the concentrations of α- and γ-tocopherol (P = 0.006 and P = 0.003) were negatively affected by feed restriction. A 30% reduction in feed level in outdoor housed chickens led to a decrease in oxidative stability (P = 0.024).