Broiler chicken production is widely dispersed across the globe, and one important issue for growers is the selection of adequate bedding material, as the availability and price of substrates varies among countries and regions within a same country. This study aimed at applying a multiple criteria analysis approach for the selection of the most appropriate bedding material for broiler production. Based on field research data and growers' experience, the most desirable characteristics of a litter material were chosen as the main criteria. The selected materials were wood shavings, rice husks, chopped Napier grass (Pennisetum pupureum), 50% sugar cane bagasse (Saccharum L.) plus 50% wood shavings, 50% sugar cane bagasse (Saccharum L.) plus 50% rice husks, and pure sugar cane bagasse (Saccharum L.). The analytical hierarchy process (AHP) was applied for selecting the most suitable bedding material. Validation was performed using data from previous studies carried out in central-western Brazil on the effects of different types of bedding material on broiler carcass quality. Considering the selected criteria, several bedding materials were tested and ranked, and the results showed that wood-shavings litter was the best option (weight = 0.28), followed by rice husks (weight = 0.24). All other tested alternatives presented lower scores and were, therefore, not considered for use. The AHP approach was found to be an efficient tool to select the most appropriate litter material under specific scenarios.
Brazil must comply with international quality standards and animal welfare requirements in order to maintain its position as world's largest exporter of poultry meat. With the scenario of global climate change there is the forecast of occurrence of extreme events with characteristics of both excess cold and heat for several regions of the country. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of using images of infrared thermography to evaluate the loss of sensible heat in young broilers fed different dietary energy levels. Twenty birds were reared in a house with appropriate brooding using infrared lamps. Birds were distributed in a completely randomized experimental into two treatments: T1 (control diet with 2950 kcal ME/kg-1), and T2 (high-energy diet with 3950 kcal ME/kg-1). Infrared thermographic images of the birds were recorded for four consecutive days. One bird was randomly chosen per treatment, and had special images taken and analyzed. Average surface temperature of the body area was calculated using the surface temperature recorded at 100 spots (50 at the front and 50 at the lateral side of the bird's body). Mean surface temperature of the flock was calculated recording 100 spots on the group of birds. Total radiant heat loss was calculated based on the average data of surface temperature. The results indicated that the young broilers fed the high-energy diet presented a metabolic energy loss equivalent to 0.64 kcal h-1, while the birds fed with the control diet lost 2.18 kcal h-1. This finding confirms that oil supplementation to the diet reduces bird heat loss. The infrared camera was able to record young broilers' surface temperature variation when birds were fed diets with different energy contents.
Two experiments were carried out at the Poultry Sector of the School of Agrarian Sciences of the Federal University of Grande Dourados to evaluate the incidence of leg problems in broilers reared on two distinct types of bedding material: rice husks or wood shavings, both new and reused. In both trials, a randomized experimental design was applied in factorial arrangement (2 x 2 x 2) using two genetic strains (Cobb® or Ross®); two sexes (male or female), and two litter materials (rice husks or wood shavings). In each trial 1080 one day pullets were reared equally divided in the treatments. The birds were placed in 4.5 m² boxes at a density of 10 birds m-2. All birds were fed diets with equal nutritional density, and water was offered ad libitum. Feeds were divided in three phases: starter diet (1 - 21 days), grower diet (22 - 35 days), and finisher diet (36 - 45 days). On day 45, fifty birds were randomly selected in each experiment to evaluate flock leg problems. The following parameters were analyzed: gait score, incidence of valgus and varus disorder, footpad dermatitis, femoral degeneration, tibial dyschondroplasia, and spondylolisthesis. Ambient temperature during rearing and litter caking and moisture content were recorded in four boxes per treatment. The analytical hierarchy process was used to organize the data into specific criteria. Several criteria, related to the attributes that were determinant according to the statistical analysis, were chosen in order to provide the best input to the process. Results indicated that new wood-shavings bedding was the most appropriate bedding to prevent locomotion problems, followed by new rice husks, reused wood shavings, and reused rice husks. However, when leg problems were associated to sex and genetic strain, male Ross birds strain presented less problems when reared on new rice husks, followed by new wood shavings