Potential for sustainable poultry production based on local chicken breeds and regional protein plants

The project aims at testing a poultry production system based on crosses of local chicken breeds and using regionally grown field bean (Vicia faba) as protein source, which also offers the chance to fatten the brothers of laying hens and therefore to refrain from killing male chicks. The focus is on a fattening and laying experiment with two local breeds and a performance breed and crossbreds thereof, which will be fed with a soy-based standard feed and, as an alternative protein source, local field beans with normal and reduced content of the anti-nutritive agent vicin. Performance profiles, quality and sensory properties of products (meat and eggs) as well as effects of the genotype x feed combination on animal health will be characterized comprehensively. Genetic studies
on the field bean and the chicken breeds will provide a better assessment of the potential for further genetic improvement. Empirical consumer research studies serve to better understand expectations and decision criteria of potential buyers. The project will provide an important basis for developing a sustainable and socially accepted poultry production which also takes animal welfare into account.