Feed Efficiency of Rainbow Broilers in Pastured Poultry Systems
Catherine E. Zivnuska
Dr. Michael F. Seipel, Faculty Mentor
While past research has shown that Cornish-Rock broiler chickens raised on pasture can achieve slightly superior feed efficiency, this commercial breed is not ideal for pastured production (Chisholm, et al. 2003). In the current research, male Rainbow broilers (an alternative breed promoted for pastured production) were divided evenly among day-range and floorless pen systems. Each group was fed, ad libitum, an 18 percent protein ration of cracked corn and poultry crumbles in addition to forage. Individual weights were taken on days 1, 21, 42, and 63. Similar to trials with Cornish-Rock broilers, Rainbow broilers in day range pens gained more efficiently (2.92 lbs feed-to-gain) than pasture pens (2.58 lbs feed-to-gain), while those in pasture pens gained more total weight. Contrary to our hypothesis, Rainbow broilers gained less efficiently than Cornish-Rock in past trials. Further research is needed to determine appropriate feeding periods to achieve ideal market weights for Rainbow broilers.
Keywords: Pastured Poultry, Feed efficiency, Agriculture, Sustainable, Alternative, Animal Science
Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Location: VH 1010