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The effects of the dark house system on growth, performance and meat quality of broiler chicken

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Meat production with minimum animal suffering is a humanitarian concern. Thus, the objective of this work was to observe the performance of Cobb broiler chickens from 7 to 46 days of age when raised under different installations: dark house system (DHS), conventional yellow system (CYC) and conventional blue system (CBC). The feed conversion ratio for the birds raised on the DHS was 3.8% and 2.7% lower than those for the CYC and CBC systems, respectively. Compared with the CYC and CBC systems, average daily gain under the DHS was 11.4% and 9.3% higher, respectively, and body weight at 46 days was 11.4% and 9.3% higher, respectively (P ≤ 0.05). The birds' welfare was assessed based on their stress by determining the amount of pale, soft and exudative (PSE) meat in the breast fillets. The CYC and CBC birds had 24.3% and 25.3% PSE meat, respectively, whereas the DHS birds had 37.0%. We concluded that the DHS has a greater potential to produce broiler chickens, with superior performance to conventional systems, despite the higher stress faced by the birds during the maneuvers just before slaughter.
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Keywords: PSE broiler chicken meat; animal welfare; aviary; dark house

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2015

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