Journal of Agriculture & Life Sciences

ISSN 2375-4214 (Print), 2375-4222 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jals

Comparing the Effects of Conventional and Pastured Poultry Production Systems on Broiler Performance and Meat Quality
Jannette R. Bartlett, Kristina M. Liles, Ronique C. Beckford

Pasture-raised poultry products are growing in popularity among many American consumers. They are of the perception that poultry reared in a more natural environment can yield products of better quality. Thus, the objective of this study was to determine the effects of conventional production system (CPS) and pasture production system (PPS) on broiler performance (feed intake, weight gain, feed conversion, and organ weights) and meat nutritional quality (moisture, fat, protein, and ash). Three hundred and sixty Cornish Rock male broiler chickens were randomly assigned to one of two treatments, CPS or PPS, for 49 days. After brooding indoors for 3 weeks, the PPS treatment was moved into pens on pasture and the CPS birds remained indoors for the remainder of the study. Dark (leg and thigh) and white (breast) meat samples were evaluated separately for nutrient composition. Results showed no significant differences between treatments for most performance characteristics and nutrient content. No differences were detected for non-carcass components except the intestines, which were higher (P< 0.05) in CPS birds (3.79%) than PPS birds (3.50%). Ceca weights were higher (P< 0.05) in PPS birds compared to CPS birds with 0.44% and 0.32%, respectively. Based on these results, broilers raised on pasture performed similarly to those raised conventionally.

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