Performance of free-range chickens reared in production modules enriched with shade net and perches
Rev. Bras. Cienc. Avic.
DATA DE PUBLICAÇÃO
An experiment was carried out to evaluate the effect of environmental enrichment in a free-range chicken production system on live performance as a function of microclimate, physiological parameters, and performance parameters. Four production modules were divided into four pens with 10 birds each, totaling 60 birds. The following treatments were applied: access to a paddock (TEST), access to a paddock with perches (PER), access to a paddock with artificial shade (SHA), and access to the paddock with perches and artificial shade (PESH). The PESH production module presented the best globe temperature (Tbg,ºC) and enthalpy (h, kJ/kg), and thereby, the best thermal environmental conditions, which ensured the longest permanence time of the birds in the paddock. The SHA and PESH modules promoted the lowest respiratory rate and shank and comb temperatures. Live performance was influenced by the presence of environmental enrichment (modules SHA and PESH), with the highest live weight (LW) and weight gain (WG) and the lowest feed conversion ratio (FCR) and metabolizable energy intake (MEI). Parts yield, such as giblets, were not influenced by production modules, except for PESH, which promoted higher offal weight. In general, chickens reared in enriched production modules presented greatest performance and comfort results and were considered close to optimal rearing conditions.
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