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Gastrointestinal tract morphometrics and content of commercial and indigenous chicken breeds with differing ranging profiles

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  • Joanna Marchewka, Polish Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Patryk Sztandarski, Polish Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Żaneta Zdanowska-Sąsiadek, Polish Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Dobrochna Adamek-Urbańska, Warsaw University of Life Sciences
  • ,
  • Krzysztof Damaziak, Warsaw University of Life Sciences
  • ,
  • Franciszek Wojciechowski, Polish Academy of Sciences
  • ,
  • Anja B. Riber
  • Stefan Gunnarsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Optimal development of the gut is important for nutrient absorption and for poultry to resist diseases. The aim of the study was to compare gastrointestinal tract morphometrics, small intestine microstructure, as well as the amount of pasture matter and feed ingested by the birds with outdoor access presenting either an outdoor-preferring, moderate-outdoor or indoor-preferring ranging profile. Sixty non-beak trimmed birds per strain: broiler hybrid Sasso and Polish indigenous green-legged partridge were housed from week 5 to 10 in groups of 10, under conditions of EU organic meat chicken production. Pens with outdoor ranges were video recorded, to obtain frequencies of the birds’ range use. Statistical analysis was conducted applying generalized linear mixed models, applying the ranging profile as a fixed effect and pen as a random factor. The weight of the pasture matter in bird crops was the highest in moderate-outdoor profiled green-legged partridges, as compared to other ranging profiles (p = 0.04). In Sasso, villi in the small intestines were significantly higher in the outdoor-preferring compared to indoor-preferring profiled birds (p = 0.04), while their area was larger in the outdoor-preferring Sasso birds (p = 0.01). The level of development of the gastrointestinal tract and its content may be a potential indicator of the birds’ ranging profile and forage consumption.

StatusUdgivet - jul. 2021

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by the project entitled: Optimizing the use of the free range as the key to improve organic chicken production; Acronym: “FreeBirds” under Coordination of European Transnational Research in Organic Food and Farming System Cofund (CORE Organic Cofund) by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 727495 and by The National Centre for Research and Development in Poland under agreement No. COREORG/COFUND/FREEBIRDS/2/2018.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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