Slow growing chicken developed for UK meat market
A new slow-growing chicken breed has been launched in the UK by broiler genetics company Aviagen, targeting the organic and free-range markets.
The Rowan Ranger has been available in the Netherlands since July 2013, under the Beter Leven (Better Life) quality assurance scheme and now it has also been assessed by the RSPCA and accepted for use under the society's Freedom Food scheme .
"The Rowan Ranger has been developed in response to market demand for slower growing alternatives across Europe," said a statement. "Aimed at free-range, slow growing and organic producers, the breed offers excellent meat yield and feed conversion rates."
Aviagen has worked with processors, farmers and wider stakeholders to develop the breed.
Under the agreement with the RSPCA, Aviagen has also committed to continued welfare improvements in the Rowan Ranger, with regular meetings between the two parties to ensure on-going improvement in some specific welfare traits.
Aviagen will roll the product out from early 2014 to customers who are interested in getting some first-hand experience with the Rowan Ranger.
"With increased demand from around Europe for slower growing varieties, the Rowan Ranger has been part of our breeding programme for some time," said Aviagen general manager Graeme Dear.
Dr Marc Cooper, RSPCA chicken welfare scientist, said the development gave Freedom Food chicken producers a choice. "We hope to see this breed widely adopted by the industry."
Source: Poultry World
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