Source: OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY submitted to
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Accession No.
Grant No.
Project No.
Proposal No.
Multistate No.
Program Code
Project Start Date
Sep 1, 2011
Project End Date
Aug 31, 2016
Grant Year
Project Director
Lilburn, M. S.
Recipient Organization
Performing Department
Animal Sciences
Non Technical Summary
Many smaller scale organic producers that have a variable product mix are always interested in well designed studies that present them with options for the diversification of their farms. These options can include new rotation options (crops) that may contribute to both the fertility of a given rotation plot as well as provide potential new marketing opportunities. Pasture raised organic broiler chickens are an option for both the fertility and marketing components of the previous statement but this can only realistic if the exorbitant cost of organic poultry diets can be reduced. Naked oats is a husk-less oat variety that is gaining in popularity as an ingredient in multi-grain products for human consumption but is also a potential ingredient for incorporation into organic poultry diets. Naked oats are higher in protein than conventional oats and have an amino acid profile that may reduce the proportion of high cost, high protein supplements that are currently needed to produce balanced organic diets. If our hypothesis is correct and naked oats can be used at up to 70-80% of the diet for pasture reared broilers, this becomes a new option for organic producers. They can produce naked oats for incorporation into their own organic poultry diets, custom grow naked oats for other organic poultry producers, or sell the oats for incorporation into organic multi-grain products for human consumption. One other aspect of the poultry portion of the proposed studies will be a detailed comparison of commercial and heritage strain broiler lines for their suitability to both our pasture rearing system and the strain responses to diets containing a high proportion of naked oats. The other objectives of this multi-year is to quantify the contribution of poultry to the fertility pattern within a given plot and variety testing of different Naked oats cultivars.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
Goals / Objectives
If a small organic farm is to be economically and environmentally sustainable, it must incorporate a yearly rotation plan that allows for annual improvements in soil fertility and potential markets for the products generated from each plot within the rotation. Poultry could be raised on one plot within the organic rotation, rotated among plots each year and could be a contributor to both the fertility and product needs stated above. Organic poultry meat production, however, can be problematic due to the extremely high cost of organic feed and/or feedstuffs. This is primarily due to the high amino acid requirements of poultry strains used for meat production and the subsequent need for costly high protein supplements or ingredients. This has led many producers who have certified organic farms to simply market their poultry products as natural or pasture reared on organic farms. Naked oats is a variety of hull-less oats that are higher in protein than conventional oats and have a pattern of amino acids that suggest they could be the primary cereal grain in poultry diets after 3 to 4 weeks of age. In addition to the potential for naked oats to be an ingredient in organic poultry diets, they could also serve as an ingredient in multi-grain products (i.e. granola) for human consumption, thereby giving organic producers another potential market if they choose to grow naked oats. There are three principle objectives of the current proposal. The first objective is to determine the feasibility of using naked oats as a high percentage of the growing and finishing diets in poultry meat strains. These two diets represent over 70% of the total feed that would be consumed and if our hypothesis is correct, the incorporation of naked oats could represent a significant cost savings to organic producers. The second aspect of the study is to determine the contribution that the yearly rotation of poultry through a plot has on soil fertility. The final objective is to see how our experimental results will translate to organic on farm practice. We have three organic producers who have agreed to utilize our experimental diets and rearing protocol on their own farms to determine the feasibility of incorporating our concepts into commercial organic poultry production.
Project Methods
Organic plots have been identified on the East Badger Organic Farms located at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. These plots will be divided into a four year rotation that will incorporate Naked Oats, Spelt, and pasture raised poultry as the three components of the yearly rotation plan. The naked oats and poultry rotations will follow or be incorporated into plots with red clover. In the Fall of Year 1, the red clover and spelt will be planted so the whole farming system will be in place by the Spring, 2012. During the fall of 2011, a preliminary experiment will be conducted at the OARDC Poultry Research Farm to determine the maximal level of naked oats that can be incorporated into grower and finisher diets for commercial and heritage broilers that will allow for adequate growth. These experimental levels will range from 60 to 80% inclusion. During the summer of Year 1 (2012), both organic pasture reared and conventional (OARDC Poultry Farm) birds will be fed the experimental diets to determine the contribution of pasture to the fatty acid profiles of muscle and fat samples. In Years 2 and 3, two cycles of birds will be reared on the East Badger organic plots and also on three outside stakeholder farms. The stakeholder farms will receive commercial broilers in Year 2 and heritage broilers in Year 3. Both strains will be represented in the experimental pens located at OARDC in both Years 2 and 3. In Year 4, the birds will only be reared at the East Badger Organic Farm. One important aspect of each year's poultry experiments will be documentation of the time it takes for birds to reach a typical farm market body (6 lbs) and the carcass characteristics of the birds at the time of processing. This will be critical information for organic growers who may want to incorporate our diet (ingredient) strategies and protocol. The poultry data generated at OARDC in the outdoor pasture pens will be analyzed as a one-way analysis of variance using Strain as the main effect tested. The yearly data generated will be shared with potential organic producers via workshops organized by the Small Farm Institute and OEFFA (Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association) and the eOrganic community of practice for organic agriculture.

Progress 09/01/11 to 08/31/16

Target Audience:The target audience for this projectwas small/medium sizecertified organic producers who are interested in diversifiying their operations. The producers who attended our field days and participated in our webinars are interested in new ideas for "crop" rotations thatcould both diversity their product mix and be a source of fertility to their organic plots.A secondary audience has been students who are interested in sustainable agriculture and are enrolled in classes that have a sustainability or small farm component. Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?To: Dr. Michael Lilburn Subject: Integrating a naked oats/organic pastured poultry grant project into a liberal arts course on sustainable agriculture The following report describes how I incorporated our grant "A whole farm approach to incorporating pasture raised organic poultry and a novel cereal grain (Naked Oats) into a multi-year organic rotation", into my Sustainable Agriculture course (2012-2014) at the College of Wooster. Introduction: Grant Rationale A course about sustainable agriculture normally includes elements of soil fertility and structure with techniques such as crop rotations and cover crops. The course should challenge students to think agroecologically in terms of the components of an agricultural system and how farmers manage these to optimize agronomic outcomes. One way of getting students to understand this is through exposure to agroecological experiments. The students are forced to think about the mechanisms and logics found on farm fields. Prior to my participation on this grant, the only means I had available were published studies without an experiential component. As such, I was excited to incorporate the grant into my course as I felt that a hands-on experience would be richer and longer-lasting in terms of learning outcomes. Student Demographics I incorporated the grant into the course ENVS23000, "Sustainable Agriculture: From Theory to Practice", in the fall of 2012, 2013, and 2014. This had a direct impact on 52 students over the three years. An important side note, these are liberal arts students without a shared background in agriculture or in some cases, science. The students had disciplinary backgrounds ranging from the arts to the social and natural sciences with biology and chemistry majors being a distinct minority. The majority were two generations or more removed from any farming activity and most had no working farm experience, had never held a chicken or seen a field of fresh clover. Each fall semester, the sequence of activities involving the grant project was as follows: 1. First Field Trip: Early in the semester (late Aug/early Sept) we visited OARDC to see the research site. We took a tour of the different rotation plots and then the chicken tractors with birds. Students observed the lanes with and without chicken tractors and the areas ahead of and behind the tractors. They observed the differences between the two breeds and noted the different quantities of feed versus pasture grass they consumed. Handling the chickens was often a first-time experience. 2. In-Class Discussion: During the class period immediately following the field trip we would discuss what we had seen. I would couch their observations within the framework of an integrated pastured poultry rotation system and would try to answer the questions they had. Finally, I included several questions pertaining to the experiment on the first exam of the semester. 3. Incorporation into Later Lessons: After the initial trip, we would discuss crop rotations in class followed by a lesson on rotational grazing of animals. The combination of these two lessons allowed students to reflect on the poultry research site and the agroecological logic behind it. 4. Comparative Field Trips: The class took field trips to other working farms and were asked to contrast the agronomic and management systems with the organic field site. Some of the farms had animals and this provided the opportunity for students to realize that multiple options are available for food production while maintaining soil health. Farms that contained animals allowed the students to compare the effects of different species (e.g., poultry versus pigs) on pasture health and different nutrient requirements. 5. Final Field Trip to Research Site: In November, after the chickens were gone and cover crops planted, we revisited the fields and observed how different they looked in late autumn. It was a rich experience for the students to see the changes to the fields and the impacts that seasonality had on agronomic management decisions. Learning Impacts: 1. In-Class Discussion Students were enthusiastic each year and genuinely intrigued by an experiment which was totally foreign to many of them. They were excited about the philosophy of raising broilers on pasture and producing high-protein oats to feed them. Numerous times after trips to other farms, students would insightfully contrast those management systems with the organic site. Judging by in-class discussion alone, our collaboration had a notable effect on students' appreciation for agroecological complexity. 2. Reconstructing the Logic of the Experimental Rotation Toward the semester's end, I would ask the students to recall the site visit and reconstruct from memory using the agroecological reasoning skills developed over the semester, the logic underlying the experimental crop rotation and below is a snapshot of a couple of the responses over the years: It makes some logical sense that the rotation encompasses two summer growing seasons since only the oats and chickens require warm weather. . . Clover is a winter-hardy, nitrogen fixing cover crop that would promote good soil for the oats. Oats are typically seeded in April to May in Ohio and are harvested in late August to very early September. This rotation would require spelt, a winter-hardy wheat relative, to be planted in late September following the oats. After the spelt is harvested in the mid summer, radishes, which condition the soil and require only minimal time to grow, will be planted. These can be left in the soil over-winter in order to allow the radishes to rot in the soil and improve organic matter. Lastly, the chickens will follow the radishes to improve organic matter in the soil. After doing some research about the life cycles of the crops used in the OARDC experiment I think I have an idea as to the rotation used and why. I think that Dr. Liburn initially started with oats, as it needs to be planted in the spring and then harvested in the fall. I think the cycle then continued with spelt as an article I read about it said it can still do pretty well in depleted soils, and is usually planted in the fall. I think the cycle would then continue with the planting of clover in the spring to fix nitrogen into the soil and radish in the fall, as they do best in the winter and could help to improve tilth of the soil after possible compaction by the cart that the chickens were in. At this point though I have trouble remembering whether or not the chickens were a separate part of the rotation or if they went down the rows of crops. I'm pretty sure I remember them having a plot to themselves so I think that they would fit into the rotation after the clover had been planted, as they could eat this to help kill it without labor intensive tilling, and then radishes could be planted later to help aerate the soil after compaction. These comments represent a combination of things learned (i.e. the role of cover crops, the importance of nitrogen) and not learned as well (i.e . they sometimes confused winter-hardy cover crops with nonhardy ones). Despite a few details lost, I was impressed with the students' abilities to remember the experimental rationale and most importantly the agroecology behind it. This was the central goal of our collaboration and the evidence suggests it was a success. It confirmed the value of experiential components in student learning and equally as important, student interest in the subject. If we ever have the opportunity to collaborate again, I will jump at it. Regards, Matt Mariola How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?See other products for how the results have been disseminated to communities of interest. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Nothing Reported

What was accomplished under these goals? One factor that increases organic poultry costs is the high amino acid levels in diets formulated for maximal BW gain. We hypothesized that a balanced but reduced nutrient diet from 3 wk to finish would still produce a quality organic broiler. Yearly rotation plots planted with clover with pastured poultry, spelt, and naked oats (NO), a cereal grain with a better amino acid profile than corn (NO; CP, 12.1%; Meth, 0.20%; TSAA, 0.50%; Lysine, 0.55%). In a preliminary experiment, the NO (65%, 75%, 65%/85% at 5 wk) was mixed with full-fat roasted soybeans (FFSB; 38% CP) and fed to COMM broiler chicks. There was a decline in BW and breast muscle weight with increasing NO or the 65/85% mix. The 65% and 75% NO diets, however, resulted in similar CARC weights and dry matter (%) so 75% NO was used in the organic field experiments which utilized organic NOplanted the previous year. The analyzed values were higher than the NO used in the preliminary study (CP, 13.65%; Fat, 7.0 %; TSAA, 0.58%; Lysine, 0.57%). This diet was fed to COMM and RedBro (RB) strain chicks, the latter a slow growing strain popular with organic producers. The diets fed in the preliminary and field studies (75% NO, 20.6% FFSBM) had the following analyzed values (Preliminary: 16.4% CP, 0.90% Lysine, 0.60% TSAA; 2013 and 2014 field studies: (19.8, 21.0% CP, 1.10, 1.11% lysine, 0.76% TSAA) with no added methionine. For the pasture studies, chicks were purchased in May and July, reared indoors (3 wk) and fed a commercial organic starter diet. COMM and RB chicks were used each year (two replicate pens per strain) with an approximate 14 d difference strains to reach similar BW. In 2012, the COMM broilers weighed 2.56 kg (51 d) and the RB weighed 2.88 (65 d). Individual carcasses (2012) were selected and divided into similar BW classes: Heavy (H), Medium (M), Light (L) within each strain as follows: COMM (H, 2.17; M, 1.92; L, 1.63 kg) and RB (H, 2.20; M, 1.88; L, 1.62 kg). Carcass dry matter (%DM) is positively correlated with carcass lipid and ranged from 38.7 to 41.9% (COMM) versus 46.9 to 51.8% (RB). One half of each carcass was cooked to a constant temperature (1600 F) and cook loss (%) determined. The range was 28.4 to 30.7% (COMM) and 27.5 to 29.1% (RB). Combined with the DM (%) data, this suggests that RB carcasses had increased lipid and retained moisture after cooking. Across all three CARC classes, breast meat (%) ranged from 22.8 to 25.9% (COMM) versus 16.4 to 20.4% (RB) with a corresponding decrease in the thigh (17.3 to 18.0%; COMM) versus (18.6 to 20.4%; RB) and drum (14.6 to 16.0%, RB; 13.6 to 14.7%, COMM). The NO planted in 2012 supported excellent BW in 2013 (COMM: 53 d, 3.41 kg BW, 2.35 kg CARC; RB: 66 d, 3.21 kg BW, 2.18 kg CARC). The uniformity of CARC is important for small producers so the age and strain differences in CARC range were determined (2014). At 67 d, the RB had a mean BW of 2.83 and 2.99 kg with CARC ranging from 1.77-2.48 kg (Rep 1) and 1.77-2.45 kg (Rep 2). The range encompassed 18/25 birds from each rep. At 53 d, mean BW in the COMM was (3.15, 3.18 kg) with a CARC range from 2.04-2.72 kg and 2.09-2.91 kg per rep (20/25 birds). Similar to 2012, 2015 CARC were divided into three BW classes for dark (thigh/drum) and breast meat determination. The BW classes for the RB ranged from 2.77-3.58 kg with CARC from 1.85-2.45 kg. The COMM BW range was slightly lower at 2.68-3.5 kg but CARC was still slightly higher at 1.85-2.46 kg. Total dark meat (g) was similar (192-186 g, 205-222 g, 258-253 g) in the RB and COMM but breast meat (half carcass) was increased (P < .05) in the COMM across all three BW groups (186-233 g, 208-282 g, 224-287 g). The NO diet was fed by three outside organic poultry producers to RB chicks and the mean CARC was 2.09, 1.95, and 1.98 kg versus 2.09 kg for the OARDC RB. In 2014, some RB and COMM chicks were kept indoors when the other chicks were moved to pasture. Samples of abdominal fat were collected from the indoor and pasture birds at processing. The RB had increased saturated FA (RB, 25.3%; COMM, 23.8%) and monosaturated FA (RB, 37.6%; COMM, 33.7%; P<.05). There were no other strain differences in abdominal lipid FA. The indoor chicks had an increase in polyunsaturated FA (PUFA; 24.9% versus 23.1%; P < .05) and a small but significant increase in total n-3 FA (2.12 versus 1.66%; P < .05) which does not support a benefit in n-3 FA in birds reared on pasture. The poultry tractors (10 ft) were moved daily so we could determine where a given tractor was 28 days before it had been moved and plant species in replicate pasture lanes (1 m2 square) was subsequently determined. The lanes with (W) and without (WO) poultry had the following plant regrowth pattern (dry mass basis): Broadleaves, W - 11%, WO-12%; non-weed grasses, W-40%, WO-34%; weed grasses, W-35%, WO-17%; clover, W-14%, WO-37%. It is clear that producers who would like to maintain pastures need to consider this in their poultry management practices. We hypothesized that whole grains mixed on farm with FFSB is a possibility for decreasing feed cost and we tested this with organic spelt from one rotation plot and purchased wheat. Diets containing 75% cereal grain and 20.6% FFSB (+ min/vit/salt) consisted of the following: 100% ground wheat, 50 : 50 ground : whole wheat, 100% whole wheat or 100% whole spelt. These diets were fed from 3 to 9 wk to COMM birds. The 100% ground wheat diet decreased BW (P<.05) at 7 and 9 wk (1.88 kg; 3.06 kg) compared with the 50:50/whole grain diets at similar ages (1.96-2.04 kg; 3.25-3.33 kg). Variable costs and enterprise budgets for the poultry and associated organic crops were based on the inputs used and valued at market prices. Fixed costs for durable assets used lease rates and farmland rental rates for Wayne County, Ohio. For machinery, rental rates from the 2014 Ohio Farm Custom Rates Survey reflected ownership (depreciation, interest, etc.) and operating costs (operator labor, fuel, etc.). The poultry included the two strains with four annual production cycles. Wholesale prices (local processors) were used and reflected a premium for the RB birds. Average CARC weight was less for the RB, even with the longer rearing period. We included a credit for increased hay yields following the pastured poultry and this amounted to $0.25 and $0.39 per finished COMM or RB broiler, respectively. Net return per bird (100/group, 2 groups/year) were $1.91 and -$0.46 for the COMM and RB, respectively. If expanded to 2,000 birds per year, net returns increased to $5.40 and $3.75 each for the COMM and RB, respectively. Crop enterprises used the same methods described above. The spelt averaged 27.25 bu/acre with a straw harvest of 1.75 tons/acre ($125/ton) resulting in gross receipts of $546/acre. Total variable costs were estimated to be $379/acre so the total cost of spelt production was $479/acre with a net return of $67/acre. The NO was interseeded with clover and yielded only 16 bu/acre. Assuming a straw harvest of 1.2 tons/acre, NO receipts totaled $354/acre. Variable costs were $465/acre with a total cost of $565/acre yielding a net return of - $211/acre. The considerable negative return is largely due to the low NO yields. Other studies have shown greater NO with organic production methods. With our enterprise budget estimate and all else being equal, breakeven NO yield is 32 bu/acre. The budget for the clover hay was completed for the hay crop alone without the benefit of pastured poultry. Our budget represents normal hay yields and the costs of planting and harvest. With a hay yield of 4 tons/acre valued at $200/ton, per acre returns total $800 with a variable cost of $471/acre. Land cost of $100/acre per year resulted in a total cost of $571/acre. Total net returns were $228/acre without the pastured poultry and recall that we credited the pasture enterprise for increased hay production following the pasture poultry.


  • Type: Book Chapters Status: Awaiting Publication Year Published: 2016 Citation: Chapter 12. Enhancing the nutritional quality of poultry meat: Michael S. Lilburn, Ohio State University, USA ISBN-13: 9781786760647 Vol. 1 Achieving sustainable production of poultry meat. Ed S.Ricke, Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Submitted Year Published: 2017 Citation: Lilburn,M.S., P.L.Phelan, M.Mariola, J.Anderson, and K.Bielke, 2017 The inclusion of high levels of naked oats and full-fat soybeans in simple diets for organic broilers. Submitted to Journal of Applied Poultry Research. Lilburn,M.S., P.L.Phelan, M.Mariola, J.Anderson, and K.Bielke, 2017 The growth and carcass traits of commercial and slow growing broilers fed low-protein organic diets with a high level of naked oats and reared on pasture. Submitted to Journal of Applied Poultry Research.

Progress 09/01/14 to 08/31/15

Target Audience:The overall objectives of this project and avisit to the field site were part of a sustainable agriculture course taught at the College of Wooster. There were three presentations relative to the project, two presentationsat organicfield daysin Ohio and one at a Small Farm conference in Indiana.In addition, a synopsis of the project was presentated at a Project Director's meeting in Washington, DC. Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Nothing Reported How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?The results to date have been presented at two state organic field days and one state meeting on sustainable agriculture. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Nothing Reported

What was accomplished under these goals? A whole farm approach to incorporating pasture raised organic poultry and a novel cereal grain (Naked Oats) into a multi-year organic rotation The objective of this four year project was to study the feasibility of using poultry and naked oats as two components of a yearly organic plot rotation. The hypothesis to be tested was that as one yearly crop in the organic rotation, naked oats could serve as the primary cereal grain for the following years broilers. We have just completed the last year of the poultry portion of the project and several interesting observations were made. When the project was initially conceived, the nutritional value of naked oats was based on protein and amino acid levels reported in the literature and the analysis of two Ohio samples of the grain. During the course of the project, we purchased three varieties of naked oats for a yield study (Paul, Buff, Streaker). The protein levels in these newer varieties were considerably higher than in our initial Ohio samples and this resulted in considerably higher levels of protein but more importantly, the essential amino acids lysine and methionine. We used the Streaker variety in our subsequent studies and as a side note, the Buff variety was much more prone to lodging than either the Paul or Streaker varieties during the course of the yield trial. These results support our initial hypothesis that local or regionally available organic cereal grains other than corn could be sourced and make significant contributions to diets for growing broilers without the need for supplemental DL-methionine. At the end of the two broiler growouts in 2014, samples of vegetative regrowth were collected from the lanes in which the poultry tractors had been moved daily and the adjacent, non-poultry control lanes. The samples were removed from 1 m2 squares in the center of each lane at 2, 10, 18, and 26 days after the chickens had been moved. Between 10 and 18 days after the birds had been moved, there was a significant regrowth in vegetative mass on those lanes with poultry and the largest proportion of this regrowth was in weed grasses at the expense of clover.


    Progress 09/01/13 to 08/31/14

    Target Audience: The overall objectives of the multi-year project and results from the current year were incorporated into a lecture given to undergraduate students at the College of Wooster. A one hour visit to the study site was incorporated into the annual Organic Field day sponsored by Ohio State / OARDC. An invited symposium paper covering the objectives and results to date of the project was given at the Poultry Science Association annual meeting in Corpus Christi, Texas in July. Changes/Problems: There were no changes in the project. We did, however, have far fewer oats harvested the previous year (2013) than expected and this did require us to consider looking for an outside organic source of oats, though ultimately this need was met with the oats harveted in 2014. We realized based on observations the previous year that there was a need to move the broiler pens twice a day versus once a day to avoid excessive pasture kill from the poultry excreta generated within each movable pen. Across all years, the recommended organic density of 2 ft2 per bird was maintained. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? A research associate that is part of the project gave two presentations at organic producer meetings in New England during the reporting period. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? A partial summary of some of the results have been shared with the eOrganic COP. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Fat samples from the commercial and RedBro heritage strain broilers raised on pasture and fat samples from similar aged birds grown indoors (non-organic) will be analyzed for omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids to determined the extent to which pasture rearing alterred the proportions of these two classes of carcass lipids.

    What was accomplished under these goals? Feed represents the greatest cost to organic poultry producers and much of this cost occurs after 21 days of age when feed intake begins to accelerate in growing birds. The concept behind this project is that a low protein diet with no supplemental methionine can be fed to organic broilers resulting in not maximal but satisfactory growth from three weeks of age to finish. During the recently completed reporting period, we finished our third year of the project. The diets fed once again consisted of 75% organic naked oats grown the previous year at OARDC and 20% organic extruded soybean meal. The analysis of the diets showed higher protein and amino acid levels than in previous years though methionine and total sulfur amino acids were still relatively low by commercial standards. The dietary analysis was 21.8 % crude protein, 0.32% and 0.76% methionine and total sulfur amino acids, respectively, 1.10% lysine and 0.73% threonine. We once again utilized both off-site organic producers and on-site facilities at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). The body weight of the commercial broilers at 52 days of age ranged from 5.82 to 8.82 lbs (n=24) in one replicate pen and 5.2 to 8.85 lbs in the second replicate pen. In the first replicate pen there were 23/25 birds that weighed more than 6.0 lbs while in the second replicate pen the number was lower (19/25). For all birds, this corresponded to to 3.9 to 6.77 and 3.7 to 6.47 lbs for the carcass weights in each replicate pen, respectively. The slower growing heritage RedBro broilers at 66 days ranged from 4.44 to 8.85 and 3.56 to 9.07 lbs in each replicated pen with corresponding carcass weights of 3.03 to 6.24 and 3.56 to 6.58 lbs. There was considerably more variability between replicate pens as 21/25 weighed 6.0 lbs or more in pen one versus only 50% (12/24) weighed 6.0 lbs in pen two. This observation is important because it shows that while lower protein and amino acid based diets can be used to raise organic broilers, the reponse to these diets will be different in heritage versus commercial genotypes, not only in terms of length of the growing period but also in the average variability within a genotype.


      Progress 09/01/12 to 08/31/13

      Target Audience: The target audience has always been organic producers and scientists interested in organic poultry production. Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Nothing Reported How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? The results were disseminated via two pasture walks at the organic field site and a webinar hosted via the eOrganic Community of Practice. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? During year 3 of the project, representative carcass samples will be analyzed for omega-3 fatty acid content and carcass pigmentation associated with pasture rearing versus no access to pasture.

      What was accomplished under these goals? Two groups of pastured broilers were reared at the Ohio State Organic field site in addition to three outside organic cooperator farms. The results from the 2013 production year confirmed the previous years observations in that diets containing 70% naked oats with 20% supplementation with full-fat extruded soybeans would support growth in commercial broilers and heritage type RedBro broilers. Similar to what was observed in 2012, the RedBro broilers take an additional 10 to 14 days to reach the same body weight as the commercial broilers. A sample of birds from both the commercial and RedBro strains grown in 2012 were processed and cooking yields determined. The RedBro broilers were considerably fatter than the commercial broilers at similar a similar body weight and cook loss to a similar temperature (160 0 F) was similar in both strains.


        Progress 09/01/11 to 08/31/12

        OUTPUTS: This project is just beginning as are preliminary experiments. The primary goal of this project is to determine if alternative ingredients and nutritional approaches can be used to successfully rear organic broiler chickens to acceptable market weights without the need for supplemental dietary methionine and with reduced dietary cost. The preliminary experiments are designed to see if a high proportion of naked oats (cereal grain) can be used to replace corn and minimize the level of soybean meal protein supplementation in organic broiler diets. Naked oats has a favorable amino acid profile that could partially offset the need for more expensive protein/amino acid supplements. Diets containing 60 to 80% naked oats will be studied in preliminary experiments before the outdoor, organic experiments are conducted. PARTICIPANTS: P.L. Phelan was involved in the design of the rotations that will be used over the course of the project. M. Mariola will integrate the research conducted in the project into his College of Wooster classes on sustainability. TARGET AUDIENCES: Organic poultry producers and those interested in organic agricultural products. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

        There are no outcomes to be reported at this time.


        • No publications reported this period