Consumer demand for alternative, slower-growing turkey production systems has prompted a leading global breeding company to expand its portfolio over the summer.
The increasing interest in alternative production systems in Europe, such as providing birds with access to verandas and outdoor areas, environmental enrichments, reduced stocking density and nutritional changes, has prompted Aviagen to increase its breed portfolio in this range.
Consumers also want to see breeds which are visually different. This means that different plumage, conformation and slower growth are of growing importance.
Aviagen said it had launched three new breeds for the alternative sector: Cheshire Bronze, Ayrshire Auburn and Wycombe White. The names reflect the historical lineage of the breeds within the company’s B.U.T. and Nicholas Select breeding operations.
The company said that following audited testing of the breeds, they all now met the necessary criteria in respect of growth rate and welfare parameters for approval of the Dutch Beter Leven welfare accreditation scheme.
Aviagen Turkeys already offers 8 white and 7 coloured breeds for seasonal production to the alternative sector. It is not the first time Aviagen has been involved in the slower-growing breeds sector. Last autumn the company developed the Rowan Range portfolio for selected niche poultry meat markets, which were accepted for use under a number of widely recognised European welfare schemes, including the RSPCA.