Feed Strategy - June 2018 - 16
16 ❙ FeedStrategy
10 slow-growing broiler
Nutritional specifications, diet
regimen, feed intake and growth
rates all need careful consideration by
producers moving into this sector.
low-growing broiler breeds, birds with different
carcass conformation to fast-growing strains, are
increasingly popular in poultry production. Slowgrowing strains have less-efficient feed conversion than
conventional breeds and require more space per head.
As such, costs increase by 25 to 30 percent or more.
Niche markets for slow-growing broilers have
already been established in the U.K., France and the
Netherlands, supported by accreditation schemes,
which specify certain slow-growing breeds, growth
parameters, management systems and the age to which
they are kept.
To make production cost-effective, as well as ensuring health and welfare of the birds, specific diets
should be formulated.
The growing market for slow-growing broilers has
been driven by two main factors: first, animal welfare.
There is a belief that birds that grow slower are happier and healthier. It is from this standpoint that animal
rights groups, e.g., the Global Animal Partnership
(GAP) in the U.S., are putting pressure on food retail
and service companies to only buy slow-grown chicken.
The second is taste and quality, where consumers are
happy to pay more for a premium product. This fits with
the rest of the slow-food movement, where the use of traditional breeds of animal or varieties of plants sits alongside less intensive production methods. Accreditation
The nutrient density
and the raw materials
of slow-growing broiler diets
should be altered to ensure
bodies include GAP (U.S.), Royal Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) assured
(U.K.), Label Rouge (France) and Better Life in the
Netherlands, where already slow-growing broilers make
up 25 to 30 percent of production.
Broilers bred specifically for the organic and
free-range chicken markets have been available for
some time. These are brown or colored birds, suited
to a more traditional style of production. While fastgrowing broilers do not perform as well in freerange systems, these rustic birds perform equally
outside and in. In some cases, the male and female
parent stock are brown while, for others, a brown fewww.WATTAgNet.com ❙ June 2018