Performance and bone morphometry of two breeds of finishing broiler chickens reared on different housing systems
Adequate consideration of management systems is required to enhance the productivity of broiler chickens. This study was carried out to determine the effect of two housing systems on growth performance, carcass traits and bone morphometry of broiler chickens. A total of 180 unsexed one dayold Arbor Acre and Marshall breeds of broiler chickens were used for this study. The birds were brooded for 3 weeks and thereafter acclimatized for one week in their respective housing systems (deep litter and outdoor run). Each of the housing systems was allotted 90 chicks per breed with three replicates of 15 birds each. The birds were fed same quality and quantity of feed ad libitum and given water throughout the period of the experiment which lasted for four weeks. Data were collected weekly on weight gain and feed intake while feed conversion ratio was calculated. At the end of the study, 2 birds of representative weight in each replicate were selected for carcass analysis and bone strength determination. The experiment was arranged in a 2 x 2 factorial layout in a completely randomized design. The results of growth performance showed significantly (p<0.05) higher final weight (2,012.06g/b), weight gain (48.45g/b/d) and feed intake (151.74g/b/d) in Arbor Acre breed compared with the final weight (1,890.15g/b), weight gain (45.82g/b/d) and feed intake (144.60g/b/d) obtained in Marshall breed. Significantly (p<0.05) higher weight gain (49.70g/b/d) and better feed conversion ratio (2.92) was observed in broiler chickens reared on deep litter housing system while those reared on outdoor run had 49.11g/b/d and 3.01 for weight gain and feed conversion ratio, respectively. Birds managed on outdoor run consumed more feed compared to those kept on deep litter. Broiler chickens reared on deep litter were superior in retail cut (breast) and abdominal fat compared to those kept on outdoor run. Irrespective of breeds, birds reared on outdoor run had greater (p<0.05) bone strength (14.61N/mm2) compared to those on deep litter (10.68N/mm2). The study concluded that, Arbor Acre breed of broiler chickens could be reared on deep litter housing system for better performance. However, outdoor run could be adopted to enhance better bone strength in both breeds of broiler chickens.
Keywords: Broiler chickens, breeds, performance, carcass traits, morphometry, housing systems