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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The importance of population density in broiler production Hamilton, Douglas Malcolm

Abstract

Commercial broiler chickens were reared as combined sexes at floor space areas of 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 0.9 and 1.0 ft.2 per bird to ten weeks of age. There was no significant difference in the mean body weights at nine weeks of age. At ten weeks of age, there was no significant difference in the mean body weights of the birds reared at 0.7, 0.8, 0.9 and 1.0 ft.² per bird, while the floor area of 0.6 ft.² per bird produced significantly lighter birds than did 1.0 ft.² Mortality was not affected by bird density, whereas the percentage of breast blisters increased with increasing density. Broiler production costs and various combinations of feed and meat prices were used in models to determine the age at which maximum annual net returns per square foot of floor area occurred. Assuming that the weekly mean body weights were the same for birds grown at 0.7 and 1.0 ft.² per bird floor area, maximum net returns were obtained by marketing at nine or ten weeks of age depending on feed and meat prices. The effect on net returns of marketing one week earlier or later than at the age of greatest net returns was examined. When it was assumed that the number of lots per year was limited to 4.33 i.e. a twelve week replacement program, annual maximum net returns were found to occur at a market age of at least ten weeks. When the number of lots marketed was not assumed to be limited, annual maximum returns also occurred, with few exceptions, at least at ten weeks of age.

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