Different Poultry Housing Options for Chickens to Determine Fastest Growth Rate

Project Overview

FW19-344
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2019: $13,700.00
Projected End Date: 08/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Double D Farm and Ranch L.L.C.
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Nicole Correa
Double D Farm and Ranch L.L.C.

Commodities

  • Animals: poultry

Practices

  • Animal Production: stocking rate
  • Education and Training: workshop
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities

    Summary:

    Double D Farm and Ranch is a 10-acre ranch in Haleiwa, O‘ahu that offers sheep leasing, shearing, and classes for livestock handling and education.  Our mission is to contribute to the sustainability and food security in the state of Hawai‘i by providing meat animals along with providing agricultural education for anyone wanting to learn.  The next endeavor will be raising and processing broiler chickens (facility construction starting January 2019).  Broilers will be raised and processed on the ranch then immediately delivered to restaurants.  After speaking with 12 restaurants on O‘ahu who have interest in purchasing locally raised chickens, we know there is need and demand.

    We will test “Different Poultry Housing Options for Chickens to Determine Fastest Growth Rate.”  We will use two cage designs currently used in Hawai‘i: the Hubbell Bubble (designed by Michael DuPonte, for laying hens) and a smaller cage type (similar to WARE caging found at Petco).  While the smaller cages benefit producers because they take up less space, we believe that animals raised in the Hubbell Bubble will have faster growth rates due to lower stress.  Lower stress levels is a key component to the ethical treatment of the animals, and supports the fastest growth rates.  We will look at growth rates of chickens by gathering data weekly in the two caging systems (July 2019-July 2020). 

    We will hold two workshops for producers to learn about both caging types.  They will tour the farm, hear about our research, and learn from speakers in the industry.  We will construct both caging types, and gift cages from the workshops to producers.  We will encourage producers to use the caging system that causes higher growth rates because we believe that this is a good indicator of ethical animal welfare practices and best contributes to farm profitability. 

    Project objectives:

    Objective 1: Determine which caging style supports the best growth rates of chickens

    Comparing growth rates of chickens using the Hubbell Bubble and WARE style caging allows us to determine which caging style supports the fastest growth rates.  From this data, we can infer which caging style provides the better growing conditions and reduces stress to the animals. 

    Objective 2: Evaluate economic information.

    Compare data on materials, costs and time needed to move cages vs carcass weight and market price.  We will include this information in our pamphlets for producers to give them information on the start-up costs and indicate when they can potentially start to see a profit so they can financially prepare themselves.

    Objective 3: Promote the use of the best caging style with other producers.

    Producers will build both styles of caging at the workshops and learn which promotes higher growth rates.

    Pamphlets given to producers will increase knowledge among producers of the different caging styles and the effects that caging style has on growth rates. 

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.