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Rauch, Elke; Keppler, Christiane; Damme, K.; Hausleitner, M.; Bachmeier, J.; Hartmann, J.; Louton, Helen (2017): Untersuchungen unterschiedlicher langsam wachsender Premiumhühner unter Tierschutz-Label-Konditionen. Teil II: Tiergesundheit. In: European Poultry Science, Vol. 81
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Abstract

In the presented study, four slow growing broiler breeds were examined with the focus on animal-based welfare parameters. Results on litter quality, performance of fattening and slaughter yield of broilers were published in the first report (DAMME et al., 2015). For this investigation, unsexed chicks of the breeds Rowan Ranger, Hubbard JA 957, Hubbard JA 987 and Cobb Sasso 175 were housed at the Institute for Poultry Education and Applied Research in Kitzingen, Germany and fattened over a period of 42 days. At the end of the fattening period, animal-based welfare parameters were assessed in 50 broilers of each breed. The significantly best gait was performed by broilers of the breed Hubbard JA 957. About 52% of the assessed broilers of this breed showed a normal gait and 42% a mild inexplicit alteration. Even though, the broilers of the breeds Rowan Ranger and Cobb Sasso 175 were assessed with slightly inferior scores in the gait analysis, 90% of all assessed birds (score 0 or 1) coincided with the list of criteria for a livestock-appropriate housing and treatment of broilers in the scope of the animal welfare label issued by the German Animal Welfare Federation. This regulation defines that a maximum of 10% of broilers may be assessed with or may exceed the score 2 (DEUTSCHER TIERSCHUTZBUND, 2016). Broilers of the breed Hubbard JA 987 could not comply with the limit, because 26% of the examined broilers showed considerable deviations in the gait score analysis. A significant correlation was found between the gait score of the broiler and the weight, the soiling of plumage and the prevalence of hock burns. The food pads of the assessed broilers showed only isolated alterations. Lessions of the food pads were observed in 12% of the broilers of the breed Cobb Sasso 175. Thus, all breeds satisfy the list of criteria concerning food pad lessions of the animal welfare label by the German Animal Welfare Federation (DEUTSCHER TIERSCHUTZBUND, 2016). An apparent correlation between litter moisture and the prevalence of food pad alterations was observed. The most humid litter was assessed for the breed Cobb Sasso 175 in the first part of the study (DAMME et al., 2015). Considering the alterations of hock burns, similar observations were made, however no significant differences were detected between the breeds. In the breeds with lower weights (Rowan Ranger and Hubbard JA 957) fewer broilers with skin scratches (12 and 16%) were found than in the heavy breeds Cobb Sasso 175 (34%) and Hubbard JA 987 (46%). In this case, a significant weight effect was detected.