In organic poultry production it is important to rear animals with a dynamic attitude to take advantage of outdoor areas. Farmers are reluctant to use such strains due to their lower productivity and older slaughtering age. However, fast growing lines grown in organic system often suffer poor health and welfare conditions. The kinetic metabolism of chickens is correlated with different types of muscle fiber: type I (in red muscles or oxidative) for prolonged and moderate movement and type II (in white muscles or glycogenic) for fast movements. Red muscle metabolism produces energy mainly by β-oxidation of Highly Unsaturated n-3 Fatty Acids (HUFA). Accordingly, kinetic activity causes higher consume of HUFA in red muscles than in white muscles, so the ratio between n-3 HUFA and their precursor C18:3 n-3 (ALA) is likely to be smaller in red than in white muscles. However, these ratios are highly affected by the environment. To reduce the effect of environmental variables, we propose an “Activity index” as the difference between n-3 HUFA/ALA in white and red muscle within the same bird. This index, measured after slaughtering, should represent the activity performed by the chicken during its life. Given that birds in good health had the possibility of moving, the “Activity index” would measure the activity actually performed by the animals. Should birds of a given strain show a higher activity level, this would be an indication of the suitability of that strain to outdoor systems. This work verified the application of this “Activity index” on 90 birds from 6 genetic strains with known kinetic behavior reared in an experimental farm. The “Activity index” was also tested on chicken strains collected form commercial organic farms. The results confirmed that strains recognized for higher kinetic attitude actually walked more and their behavior was clearly detected by the “Activity index” estimated from their muscles.

An index to measure the activity attitude of broilers in extensive system

Castellini C.;
2021

Abstract

In organic poultry production it is important to rear animals with a dynamic attitude to take advantage of outdoor areas. Farmers are reluctant to use such strains due to their lower productivity and older slaughtering age. However, fast growing lines grown in organic system often suffer poor health and welfare conditions. The kinetic metabolism of chickens is correlated with different types of muscle fiber: type I (in red muscles or oxidative) for prolonged and moderate movement and type II (in white muscles or glycogenic) for fast movements. Red muscle metabolism produces energy mainly by β-oxidation of Highly Unsaturated n-3 Fatty Acids (HUFA). Accordingly, kinetic activity causes higher consume of HUFA in red muscles than in white muscles, so the ratio between n-3 HUFA and their precursor C18:3 n-3 (ALA) is likely to be smaller in red than in white muscles. However, these ratios are highly affected by the environment. To reduce the effect of environmental variables, we propose an “Activity index” as the difference between n-3 HUFA/ALA in white and red muscle within the same bird. This index, measured after slaughtering, should represent the activity performed by the chicken during its life. Given that birds in good health had the possibility of moving, the “Activity index” would measure the activity actually performed by the animals. Should birds of a given strain show a higher activity level, this would be an indication of the suitability of that strain to outdoor systems. This work verified the application of this “Activity index” on 90 birds from 6 genetic strains with known kinetic behavior reared in an experimental farm. The “Activity index” was also tested on chicken strains collected form commercial organic farms. The results confirmed that strains recognized for higher kinetic attitude actually walked more and their behavior was clearly detected by the “Activity index” estimated from their muscles.
2021
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1502096
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