The only available broiler strain to use in organic chicken meat production, until recently, has been conventional fast growing broiler hybrids. The Rowan Ranger is a broiler strain that has a naturally slower growth rate which makes this strain suitable for organic farming, meeting the demands of KRAV without being subjected to a feed restriction. One of the farms in Sweden using Rowan Ranger in their organic production is Bosarp farm in Skåne County where they produce KRAV certified chickens and where the animals used in this study were raised. This study compared differences between a naturally slow growing strain of chicken to a fast growing strain to see whether there were differences in behaviour between the two, if one of the strains was more susceptive to stress than the other and whether they differed in outdoor use and activity level. Regardless of strain, chickens used the outdoor perimeter the same, although the Rowan Rangers did not range as far from the chicken house as Ross 308. Even so, they seem to be more suitable in an organic setting than Ross 308 due to the fact that they seem less hungry and more content, this based on the fact that they perform less feeding behaviour and spend more time laying down. Also, they grow nicely to slaughter weight with a good diet quality whereas Ross 308 need to be qualitative feed restricted to do the same, giving the Rowan Rangers better welfare.
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Last updated: 05/03/16