A mobile system for rearing meat chickens on pasture

SKŘIVAN, Miloš, PICKINPAUGH, S.H., PAVLŮ, V., SKŘIVANOVÁ, Eva a ENGLMAIEROVÁ, Michaela. A mobile system for rearing meat chickens on pasture. Czech Journal of Animal Science, 2015, 60, 52-59. ISSN 1212-1819.
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The effect of grazing on the productive performance and meat quality was evaluated for chickens (Ross 308, n = 192). Chickens were kept in two pens on wooden shavings (2 x 96) from one day of age. On day 23 of age, one group was moved to a pasture and kept in a portable floorless pen with an area of 0.11 m2 per chicken. The field portion of the experiment was conducted from the 1st till the 18th of June 2013. A control group was kept in the original pen until the end of the experiment at 6 weeks of age. Both groups were fed the same pelleted feed ad libitum. For the pasture-reared group, the moveable shelter was moved twice daily around the pasture with a predominance of grass species. The herbage intake of chickens was indirectly assessed by compressed sward height measurement after each cage movement, which employed a rising plate-meter. In the pasture, chickens preferred grass over clover. There was no significant effect of grazing observed on chicken body weight. The mortality of chickens in the grazing group was lower than that in the control group. Pasture treatment improved meat flavour by 9% (P = 0.014), produced breast meat with significantly higher (P = 0.009) redness, and almost doubled the concentration of α-tocopherol (P < 0.001). There were no significant effects of grazing on the dry matter, fat, cholesterol or pH of the meat. The production of TBARS in the breast meat of the pasture group after storage at 4°C for 5 days was lower (P = 0.013) than that in the breast meat of the control chickens. Although the differences between K, Ca, P, Mg, and N concentrations in pasture and soil before and after grazing reached 20%, these differences were not significant.

ProjektRozvoj hospodářských zvířat v multifunkčním zemědělství
OdděleníFyziologie výživy a jakost produkce