Evaluation of slower-growing broiler genotypes grown with and without outdoor access: Growth performance and carcass yield

A. C. Fanatico, P. B. Pillai, L. C. Cavitt, C. M. Owens, J. L. Emmert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Consumer interest in organic and free-range poultry production is growing. An experiment was conducted to assess the impact of genotype and outdoor access on growth rate and carcass yield. One slow-growing genotype (S), 2 medium-growing genotypes (M1 and M2), and a commercial fast-growing genotype (F) were raised (straight-run) for 81, 67, and 53 d, respectively. The placement date was staggered in order to achieve a similar final body weight and each genotype was processed on the same day. Each genotype was assigned to 3 pens of 24 birds each and raised in indoor floor pens in a curtain-sided house with ventilation fans; the S and F genotypes were also assigned to 2 floor pens with outdoor access (during daylight hours) containing 36 birds each. All birds were provided with the same starter, grower, and finisher feeds, and birds were commercially processed. Weight gain was similar (P > 0.05) among genotypes, but males gained more weight (P < 0.05) than females. The S and F genotypes had the highest and lowest (P < 0.05) feed intakes and, consequently, the lowest and highest (P < 0.05) feed efficiencies, respectively. The F genotype had the greatest (P < 0.05) breast yield (%) and the lowest (P < 0.05) wing yield (%). The S genotype exhibited the lowest (P < 0.05) breast yield (%) and the greatest leg quarter yield (%). Birds given outdoor access had greater (P < 0.05) bone strength in the tibia, and the F genotype had highest (P < 0.05) bone strength. These data indicate that substantial growth performance and yield differences exist among genotypes in alternative poultry systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1321-1327
Number of pages7
JournalPoultry science
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Alternative genotype
  • Broiler
  • Free-range
  • Growth performance
  • Organic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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