New evidence from an independent commercial scale farm trial has shown that slower growing broiler chickens are healthier and have more fun than conventional breeds of birds. The study was conducted by researchers from FAI Farms, the University of Bristol and The Norwegian University of Life Sciences.
Study findings overview
The majority of broilers produced for consumption are so called conventional, fast-growing breeds. This study is the first to highlight the welfare differences between fast and slower growing broilers in a commercial setting utilizing a comprehensive suite of positive and negative welfare indicators. The authors conclude that, while there are benefits of providing chickens with more space — by slightly lowering the animal density, changing to a slower growing breed results in much better health and more positive experiences for these birds.
“This first independent commercial scale trial provides robust evidence of the health and welfare benefits of slower growing breeds of chicken. We hope that it will help to drive changes in supply chains and large companies to bring about real improvements to chicken welfare.”
-Dr Siobhan Mullan, Senior Research Fellow in Animal Welfare at the Bristol Vet School
Journal Reference: Ann C. Rayner, Ruth C. Newberry, Judit Vas, Siobhan Mullan. Slow-growing broilers are healthier and express more behavioural indicators of positive welfare. Scientific Reports, 2020; 10 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-72198-x