ALTERNATIVES TO BROILER CHICKENS BREEDING
IN PEASANT HOUSEHOLDS
Leonard Constantin STAFIE
The Professional Association of Poultry Breeders in Iasi County
If we consider that the most research studies and debates are directed to big exploitations and producers in poultry industry (both eggs and meat production), who have the financial possibilities to employ specialists and who have a wide variety of poultry tools and equipments, then we may say that the middle and small producers are kind of deprived of accessing high technologies in this field. Lack of money, the economical incapacity to contract long-term credits, as well as the internal instability on our markets, are the main category of reasons which cause the lower investments in these type of farms, no matter of production direction. That’s why I’ve considered extremely necessary to study and to write articles and papers about improving the specific works in poultry farms, about a minimum level of technology, machinery and equipments, presenting in the same time some offers for inputs and biological sources.
Due to the diversity of hybrids for meat that are currently on the market, we have to make an overview of them, in order to give the breeders the right informations and proper technologies.
Thus, in addition presentation parameters of technical guidelines, and present some details of practice growth and exploitation of meat chickens. At the moment, in Romania, there are three hybrids frequently used in poultry industry: Cobb 500, Ross 308 and Hubbard Flex. Basicly, these hybrids have similar productive characteristics and needs.
Hybrid meat Cobb 500 has been designed so as to obtain higher performance with low costs. It is not choosey about nutritional requirements, so in terms of protein, start discussing about the recipe (the percentage of protein in feed prices in general affect the finished feed), the hybrid needs meat are 21%-22,5% PB (Gross protein), unlike Ross 308, which needs to vary between 22 and 25% PB Hubbard Flex 21-22% PB.
Table 1 show the comparative needs of protein and energy metabolized for each of the three hybrids in your question.
The requirement of protein and energy metabolized
hybrids Cobb 500 Ross 308 Hubbard Flex
recipe start growth Fini-
shing recipe start growth Fini-shing recipe start
19 PB% 21-22,5 19-20,5 17,5-19 PB% 21-
kcal/kg 2976-3150 3035-3200 3155-3250 Em
Source: ******COBB, 2003: Cobb, Broiler Nutrition Guide, ****** ROSS, 2002: ROSS 508, Broiler Performance Objectives, ******Hubard Isa, 2002: Broilers Management guide.
In terms of microclimate conditions, Cobb 500 is fastidious, requiring special care to maintain the parameters in accordance with the guidelines of operation. Because a high-speed growth, it presents both an increased sensitivity and the fact that increasing the permanent bedding, litter should be maintained in optimal conditions. Presents a high capacity feed intake, so that, in terms of time of light, can be applied programs light with a long dark. As hybrid, Cobb 500 has been created especially for the production of the chest and has a high yield at slaughter. As a major disadvantage of this hybrid of meat, because high speed of growth include the emergence of sudden death syndrome of chickens.
Ross 308 hybrid has been created for the production of the chest and legs are quite shapely. Requires a more expensive feed to gain performance, but presents a better resistance to the microclimate. Is found widely in our Romania due that parents of hybrids Ross meat had a higher percentage of parents lay against the Cobb 500 and the fact that the hatching percentage is higher.
Hubbard meat Hybrid Flex is a hybrid that is well adapted to conditions of food and microclimate empirical but not to expect great performance if you are not providing the necessary point of view of technology. In comparison, Cobb 500 requires exacting management technology with a prescription cheap fodder, Ross 308 requires a well balanced feed, and more expensive but in terms of management do not pose special problems. Hubbard Flex is a hybrid that does not raise any claim in terms of management and technology in terms of feeding.
In Table 2 we compared body weights of each hybrid and feed consumption for a kg of live meat.
Body weights of each hybrid and feed consumption
Hybrid Age in days Body
in grams Feed
kg feed/kg live
Cobb 500 7 175,4 0,856
14 486,6 1,059
21 931,8 1,261
28 1467,3 1,446
35 2049,2 1,611
42 2633,7 1,760
Ross 308 7 167 0,880
14 429 1,098
21 820 1,304
28 1316 1,460
35 1882 1,590
42 2474 1,721
Hubbard Flex 7 164 -
14 432 1,25
21 809 1,36
28 1328 1,46
35 1852 1,59
42 2208 1,71
Source: ******COBB, 2003: Cobb, Broiler Management Guide, ****** ROSS, 2002: ROSS 508, Broiler Performance Objectives, ******Hubard Isa, 2002: Broilers Management guide.
MATERIAL AND METHOD
This study was held in several householdings in Iasi county, in different villages, under financial limitations, but where the peasants were intending to improve and make more profitable the existing broiler chickens’ breeding system.
The three broiler types presented in “Introduction” chapter were the biological material offered to the owners. I explained them the meat production advantages and financial capitalization for each type of broiler chicken. In the end, the farmer’s option for one of the three hybrids was the result of his own wish, relayed on the existing conditions in that household but also a scientific choise, considering the documentation I’ve presented.
The researched was relied on some minimum but essential measures:
- actual birds specialized on a specific production (broilers in our case);
- minimum number of 300 head;
- compliance with a minimum of technical operating and maintenance;
- compliance with minimum health requirements.
For the types of farm we have studied, we followed the rules published in the Directive 2007/43/EC, which sets minimum standards of protection and welfare of chickens for meat production.
By analytic method of efficiency calculating and based on the zootehnic patterns in this study, I analysed the available materials in every household, observing, identifing and adjusting them to breeding systems that I determined and I sdecided to be the best solution for that medium or small farm. All the steps I made together with these breeders/peasants were relied on the existing rules and reglementations for broilers rising and wellness.
The results and economic values for efficiency were determined by some formulas and efficiency index from specialized scientific papers.