Irfan (2008-VA-724)

Welfare Assessment Of Wild Turkeys (Meleagris Gallopavo) Subjected To Free Range, Semiintensive And Confinement Rearing Systems - 2016. - 92p.;

The volume of turkey production is as small compared to the broiler production, although, the
turkey industry has attained a significant increase since 1980, rising from 122 million to 226
million turkeys by 2006 within the European Union, while values of turkeys produced in the US
during 2010 was $4.37 billion. The s scientific literature about welfare of confinedly reared
turkeys is scarce compared to other poultry birds. There is a need for more insight into the
factors that enhance turkey welfare, not only to sustainable production of turkey meat where the
public demands s management practices for the welfare of turkeys, but also because the
information is needed to decrease losses due to poor performance of the birds.
Besides ecological importance, Meleagris gallopavo also have aesthetic values which
mainly contribute to decline in population of turkeys due to poching in their native habitat.
Demand for poultry meat is increasing throughout the world, due to of its lower cost when
compared to other meats such as pork and beef, and also lower fat content and excellent source
of protein. The consumption of turkey meat is about 4.7 million metric tons annually throughout
of the world and with the US accounting for 50% of all consumption.
A total of 120, day-old turkey (Maleagris gallopavo) chicks were arranged into four
groups. Four diets having varying levels of crude protein (CP) viz. 16% CP, 18% CP, 20% CP
and 22% CP were prepared and were designated as control (T0), treatment 1 (T1), treatment 2
(T2) and treatment 3 (T3) diets, respectively. Group 1 birds were fed with T0 diets, group 2 with
T1 diets, group 3 with T2 and group 4 birds were fed with T3 diets. Significantly higher weight
gain 2950.86±1952.58g, body length 30.064±11cm, beak length 3.53cm, body girth
43.41±16.30cm, thigh length 18.18±6.47cm, sternum-length 11.98±4.70cm, wing-length
47.10±16.17cm, wingspan 101.36±34.32cm, shank-length and tarsus-length 13.78±4.47cm were
recorded in M. gallopavo fed with T3 diets. Feed conversion ratios (FCR) for T0, T1, T2 and T3
diets were 2.296, 2.236, 2.099 and 1.934, respectively. Internal and external quality parameters
of egg were also analyzed.
The time budget of turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) reared under free-range and
confinement rearing systems was recorded and compared from day old chick to the sixth month
of age. Throughout the study period, M. gallopavo reared under free-range rearing system spent
relatively greater time litter pecking (23.51%) followed by walking (19.99%), feeding (16.33%),
preening (13.72%), feather pecking (6.07%), aggression (5.94%), drinking (5.90%), immobility
(2.36%), standing (2.29%) and jumping (1.96%). Similarly, the birds reared under confinement
rearing system spent relatively greater time in lying (17.82%) followed by litter pecking (15.71),
preening (12.93%), walking (11.47%), standing (8.35%), drinking (8.31%), aggression (6.85%),
feeding (6.46%), feather pecking (6.04%), immobility (4.59%) and jumping (1.46%) behavior. It
was observed during the present study that the birds reared under free-range rearing system spent
significantly greater time in litter pecking, walking and feeding behaviors as compared to the
birds reared under confinements. These behaviors are indicators of good health of the animals,
therefore free-range system is recommended over confinement rearing system for farming of M.
Growth performance, carcass yield and meat sensory quality attributes of turkeys
Meleagris gallopavo reared under free-range and confinement rearing systems were compared.
There were two treatments, i.e. indoor and free range, each containing 25 birds. In indoor
treatment, the turkeys were raised in a 20 × 20 feet (length × width) well ventilated room while
in free-range treatment, the birds were housed in an open shed having same dimensions i.e. 20 ×
20 feet (length × width), however, an additional free-range grassy paddock was provided to
them. To compare sensory attributes, 4 ready to-cook turkeys having equal size were selected
from each the rearing systems, were skinned and boneless breast fillets and thighs were prepared,
weighed and steam roasted. The roast breast meat of free-range turkeys was darker and yellower
than thigh meat from indoor birds. Score for breast meat tenderness and appearance varied
significantly (P<0.05) between free-range and confinement reared birds. However, nonsignificant
differences were recorded for thigh meat tenderness between free-range and confined
turkeys. Significantly higher (P<0.05) meat redness was recorded in thigh meat of turkeys reared
in free-range system than thigh meat of confined M. gallopavo while non-significant differences
in breast meat color were observed between free-range and confined birds. Significantly higher
juiciness and oiliness was recorded for confined birds as compared to the free-range reared
Morphological characteristics of turkey Meleagris gallopavo semen were recorded and
hatchability percentages of the artificially inseminated hens were assessed. To study the effect of
natural mating on hatchability 15 (12♀, 3♂) M. gallopavo were randomly selected and both the
genders were kept separately for two weeks, thereafter these birds were arranged in three groups,
each containing one male and four female birds. For AI, male (n = 3) and female (n = 12) birds
were kept separately through the experiment and female birds were inseminated on weekly basis.
Male birds were conditioned and trained for semen collection through abdominal massage and
morphological characteristics of the collected semen were recorded. Mean abnormal
spermatozoa rate was 14.61±1.61% with most common acrosomal defects 36.67±3.80%
followed by defects in mid-piece 8.59±0.24%, head defects 7.15±1.21% and tail defects
6.69±1.97%. Laid eggs were collected, stored and were incubated for hatching. Hatchability
percentage in artificially inseminated hens was greater 88.85% than natural mating 82.35%.
Variations in serum biochemical profile with increase in age were analyzed in turkeys
(Meleagris gallopavo). Gender-wise variations and effect of rearing systems i.e. free range,
semi-intensive and confinements were also assessed from the 1st to 6th month of age. Variations
were recorded in serum biochemical profile with increase in age. Significantly (P<0.05) higher
values of cholesterol 8.39±0.48 mmol/L, globulin 2.71±0.34 g/dL, albumin g/dL 3.82±0.58 g/dL,
total protein 5.35±0.55 g/L, urea 26.95±0.65 mg/dL, creatinine 0.83±0.01 μmol/L, alanine
aminotransferase (ALT) 35.56±1.16 iu/L and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) 44.16±1.83 iu/L
were recorded for adult birds while alkaline phosphatase (ALP) values were significantly higher
104.86±16.39 iu/L in grower birds. Similarly, the rearing systems also influenced biochemical
parameters of M. gallopavo and significantly (P<0.05) higher values for cholesterol 6.18±0.07
mmol/L and ALT 31.26±1.67 iu/L were recorded in birds reared under confinement rearing
system. Values for globulin 1.92±0.36 g/dL and creatinin 0.77±0.08 μmol/L were higher in birds
reared under semi-intensive rearing system while significantly higher urea concentrations
33.45±3.39 mg/dL were recorded from the serum of the birds reared under free range rearing
system. However, non-significant variations in albumin, total protein, ALP and AST were
recorded for all the three rearing systems.
Significantly higher values of cholesterol, globulin, albumin, creatinine and ALT were
recorded from the serum of male M. gallopavo while urea and ALP were higher in hens’ serum.
However, non-significant variations were recorded for total protein and AST among both the
genders. It can be concluded from the present study that age, gender and rearing systems strongly
influence blood biochemical profile and hence the immunity in M. gallopavo.

Department of Wildlife and Ecology
Phd Theses


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