Health-Based Welfare Indicators and Fear Reaction of Slower Growing Broiler Compared to Faster Growing Broiler Housed in Free Range and Conventional Deep Litter Housing Systems

Abdourhamane I. M. , PETEK M.

JOURNAL OF APPLIED ANIMAL WELFARE SCIENCE, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/10888705.2022.2100221
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Agricultural & Environmental Science Database, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Psycinfo, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: Broiler, slow growing, free-range housing, welfare, CHICKENS, BEHAVIOR, PERFORMANCE, QUALITY, FLOOR, PREVALENCE, DERMATITIS, PARAMETERS, MEAT


This study investigated the welfare of a slow-growing broiler with a commercially available fast-growing breed housed in a free-range and conventional deep litter housing system. There were four main groups (2 genotypes x 2 housing systems), and each main group consisted of 5 replicates. Ante-mortem and postmortem health-based welfare indicators with fear reactions and distribution of severity of them in 200 male chicks (100 slow growing, 100 fast growing) were investigated. All welfare parameters investigated were found to be significantly different between both broiler genotypes. No significant differences were detected for all broiler welfare parameters between the two housing systems. There were significant genotype x housing system interactions for breast dirtiness and feather cover of the birds (P ). In conclusion, it can be said that slow-growing broilers express more health-based indicators of positive welfare, and they might be more suitable for free-range broiler meat production. Planning further studies especially in commercial conditions that take into account economic efficiency as well as animal welfare and growth performance would be very beneficial.