Poultry rearing systems have been the focus of scientific research for many years as a result of consumer demand for high-quality products and legal poultry welfare requirements. Given these requirements, the following study was carried out as a comparative review of the results obtained by different authors on the effect of rearing systems on productive traits (growth, feed conversion and mortality) and meat quality traits (dressing percentage, yield and percentage of primal cuts, and chemical composition of meat) in broilers.
Most authors reported a lower final body weight and poorer feed conversion efficiency in free-range systems compared to intensive rearing. Conversely, better meat quality traits, most notably in terms of chemical composition of meat, were observed in non-intensive and organic broilers. The above traits showed differences within the same rearing system, due to the effect of a range of genetic and non-genetic factors.
In view of the above, it is hoped that the following review on the use of different rearing systems in broiler meat production can serve as a tool in determining the future direction of research as well as an indicator of its practical applications.