Welcome to another edition of eChook!
The free range sectors of the poultry industry are growing rapidly in Australia, representing 28.4% of all eggs sold and approximately 15% of chicken meat produced in 2010. These sectors are expected to continue to expand as some consumers express their preference for free range production.
In this edition, we are featuring a story on the benefits of providing outdoor shade areas for free range birds. Our researchers, Tanya Nagle from DEEDI, Phil Glatz from SARDI, and Geoff Hinch from UNE, have demonstrated that installing shaded areas approximately one metre above the ground has many benefits for free range birds. Firstly, it offers the birds a physical protection from harsh sunlight during hot seasons. Secondly, it encourages them to use the range areas by providing a sense of security and protection from real, or perceived, threats from predators. Finally, it helps reduce aggressive behaviour of birds towards each other.
The Poultry CRC is conducting further research on welfare, behaviour and nutrition of free range birds. The results from these studies will become available during the next two years.
As this is our final eChook for 2011, I would like to take the opportunity to wish you a wonderful and safe festive season!