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Open access

Iwona Skomorucha and Ewa Sosnówka-Czajka

Abstract

This study investigated the effect of adding extracts from selected herbs to water on alleviation of broiler stress associated with intensive production, and thus on improvement of welfare. In experimental groups (II, III and IV), alcoholic extracts from chamomile inflorescence (Matricaria

chamomilla L.), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) or from St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum L.), respectively, were added to water drinkers (2 ml ∙ l-1 water) from 21 to 35 days of rearing for 5 h/day. Throughout the experiment, body weight, feed and water intake and number of dead birds were recorded once a week. At 21, 28, 35 and 42 days of rearing, blood was collected from 7 birds in each group to determine the levels of corticosterone, cholesterol, glucose, and the immunoglobulin complex. The response of birds to the herbal additives was positive. The herb extracts contributed to a decrease in cholesterol level and an increase in the level of the immunoglobulin complex in the blood. Supplementation of water with chamomile and St John’s wort extracts contributed to an increase in body weight, while the extracts from lemon balm and St John’s wort also had a positive effect on broiler survival. The results obtained indicate that out of the three herbs chosen for the experiment, St John’s wort extract proved the most efficient in relieving the body’s physiological response to stress, and thus in improving welfare.

Open access

Ewa Sosnówka-Czajka, Eugeniusz Herbut, Iwona Skomorucha and Renata Muchacka

Welfare Levels in Heritage Breed vs. Commercial Laying Hens in the Litter System

The objective of the study was to determine differences in welfare levels between heritage breed hens (Yellowleg Partridge, Sussex, Leghorn) and commercial crosses (ISA Brown, Lohmann Brown, Hy-Line) kept in the litter system with no outdoor access. The experiment was carried out with 180 hens of three heritage breeds (Yellowleg Partridge, Sussex, Leghorn) and 180 commercial crosses of laying hens (Hy-Line, ISA Brown, Lohmann). Layers were reared in the litter system with no outdoor access. During the experiment, production data were collected until 38 days of age and birds' behaviour was monitored for 24 h at 18, 20, 32 and 38 weeks of age. O f the three commercial lines of laying hens kept in the litter system with no outdoor access, the lowest welfare levels were characteristic of ISA Brown birds. Hy-Line and Lohmann layers were characterized by comparable welfare levels that were higher in relation to ISA Brown layers. The results also showed that Sussex hens reared in the litter system had higher welfare levels than Yellowleg Partridge and Leghorn hens. When comparing the results of heritage breed and commercial hens, it can be said that mortality and increased levels of aggression in heritage breed hens kept in the litter system suggest that their welfare levels were lower than in commercial layers.

Open access

Ewa Sosnówka-Czajka, Iwona Skomorucha and Renata Muchacka

Abstract

The objective of the study was to compare the effect of organic and conventional rearing systems on the productivity and meat quality of Yellowleg Partridge (Ż-33) and Rhode Island Red (R-11) chickens. A total of 492 sexed experimental birds (Gallus domesticus) were assigned to four groups. In groups I-C and III-C, the Ż-33 and R-11 chickens were reared under intensive conditions following conventional farming principles. In groups II-O and IV-O, the Ż-33 and R-11 chickens were kept according to organic farming principles. Body weight, feed conversion (kg/kg gain) and mortality were recorded throughout the study. On day 140 of rearing, the native breed chickens were subjected to simplified slaughter analysis, and meat pH, muscle colour, water holding capacity and chilling loss were determined. The meat samples were analysed for the chemical composition and profile of fatty acids, and the peroxidizability index (PI), thrombogenic index (TI) and atherogenicity index (AI) were calculated. The organically raised chickens were characterised by higher body weight (P≤0.01), better feed conversion (P≤0.01) and more favourable fatty acid profile of the muscles compared to the conventionally reared birds. Under organic conditions, the R-11 chickens showed better productivity but slightly poorer fatty acid profile of the muscles compared to the Ż-11 chickens.

Open access

Ewa Sosnówka-Czajka, Iwona Skomorucha and Renata Muchacka

Abstract

This study was designed to provide a thorough characterization of individual organic farms with certified animal production in Poland in the years 2009-2011. The study consisted of a direct survey using a standard questionnaire. Monitoring of organic farms showed that organic animal production in Poland is still developing. The most common type is backyard subsistence farming for own consumption and possibly for direct sales at local markets. Organic farms with an area exceeding 20 ha tend to orient themselves towards specialized production of cattle, sheep or pigs, while medium-sized organic farms specialize in pork and organic lamb production. However, the observed specialization in livestock production on organic farms is still relatively small.

Open access

Eugeniusz Herbut, Ewa Sosnówka-Czajka and Iwona Skomorucha

Abstract

Research has shown that microclimate is determined not only by air microparticles, but also by the degree of air ionization. Ions affect the body through the respiratory tract and skin. Exposure of reared chickens to elevated air temperature (37°C–23°C) was found to accelerate the break-down of negative ions compared to temperature lower by 10°C. Negative air ionization offsets the adverse effect of elevated temperature on chickens. Higher (85%) air humidity during rearing of chickens was also observed to destroy negative ions. Research findings indicate that air ionization is an environmental element that contributes to improving performance in broiler chickens. Many studies have also confirmed a positive effect of air ionization on the body weight and health of piglets.