Effects of housing systems on growth performance, blood plasma constituents and meat fatty acids in broiler chickens
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A research was conducted to determine the influence of the conventional and the free-range broiler housing systems using female broiler chicks had low hatching weight on growth performance, breast meat characteristics and some blood plasma parameters. In the conventional (totally confined) housing system sixty one-day-old female Ross broiler chicks were placed in indoor floor pens with three replicates of 20 chicks. In the free-range (partly-confined) housing system, sixty one-day-old Ross broiler chicks were placed in indoor floor pens and also accessed to a grass paddock during 44 day experimental period after 7 days old. Birds of both systems were fed the same commercial broiler diet. The free-range housing system significantly decreased the total feed intake and body weight of broilers (p<0.05). The redness (a color) and yellowness (b color) in breast meat were affected by the housing systems (p<0.05). The housing systems had no affect on fatty acids composition of breastmeat (p<0.05). The plasma triglyceride and VLDL levels of the conventional reared birds were significantly higher than those reared the free-range (p<0.05). In conclusion, longer growth period was necessary to the free-range reared broilers.