Effects of perch availability on performance, carcass characteristics, and footpad lesions in broilers
- Department of Animal Science, Eskisehir Osmangazi University, Eskişehir, Turkey
Abstract. In the modern broiler industry, solutions are still being sought to improve conditions or eliminate problems related to issues such as animal welfare, health, and meat quality brought by intensive production systems. Therefore, this experiment was conducted to study effects of perching on growth performance, carcass characteristics, and footpad lesions (FPLs) in broiler chickens. A total of 300 broiler chicks (Ross 308) were distributed into control and perch groups with three replicates including equal numbers of males and females. The perch group contained two single perches in each pen.
Analysis of camera records revealed that on average 7.36 % of the birds using perches. Perch use did not have any effect on growth performance (P > 0.05), but had a positive effect on FPLs (P < 0.001). Carcass yield and proportions of carcass parts were not affected by perch availability (P > 0.05). Thigh and breast meat color was less yellow (P < 0.005) in the perch group compared to the control group, where breast meat color was more red (P < 0.01). Birds in the perch group had brighter breast meat (P < 0.001). The weight of livers in the perch group was lower than in the control group (P < 0.01).
These findings suggest that perch use has positive effect on FPLs. The reduction of redness in the breast could indicate that perch use may have a positive effect on breast inflammation. The potential positive effects of adapting perch use to intensive conditions should be further investigated.