Journal of NACAA

Assessing the Sustainability of Slow Grown Broilers

ISSN 2158-9429

Volume 16, Issue 2 - December 2023

Editor: Linda Chalker-Scott


A study was conducted to evaluate the sustainability of slow grown broiler birds. Slow grown broiler birds and regular broilers were grown by the same poultry company and management practices used in the production of these birds were the same as they related to general management practices. Greenhouse gas emissions were estimated using the Poultry Carbon Footprint Calculation tool (PCFCT), designed specifically to calculate emissions from broiler grow-out farms, pullet farms or breeder farms. Activity data from a specific year was collected from all the broiler farms in the broiler complex. There was a total of 571 regular broiler houses and 952 slow growing houses. The activity data was then used to calculate the emissions from mechanical sources (heaters, etc.), non-mechanical sources (manure, etc.), and electricity use.

More square footage was required to grow the slow growing birds, leading to an additional 381 houses to grow them. Also, an additional 17.2 days were required to grow the birds. More slow growing birds were placed than conventional birds with 3.07million more birds placed in slow growing houses. It was the expectation that since no medication would be administered to the slow growing flocks, the mortality would be higher. However, the livability for both flocks during the period that the farms were evaluated was 96%.  Slow grown birds had higher total greenhouse gas emissions than conventionally grown birds with 25.7% more total emissions the conventionally grown birds.

View/Download Full Article