Performance of broiler chickens reared at two stocking densities and coir litter with different height

<div><p>ABSTRACT The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of broiler chickens reared at two stocking densities and coir litter with different height. A total of 522 one-day male chicks were distributed in a completely randomized design in a 3×2 factorial arrangement, with three litter height (5, 10 and 15 cm) and two densities (10 and 13 birds/m2), with six triplicates. The experimental period lasted 42 days, evaluating pH and litter moisture; performance; carcass traits; bone quality; and intensities of breast, hock and footpad lesions in the birds. Regarding the effect of density, a significant influence was observed only on performance, wherein the birds reared at the density of 13 birds/m2 showed lower intake and weight gain and better feed conversion than those reared at the density of 10 birds/m2. Irrespective of the rearing density and litter height, the hock and footpad lesions were frequent, and with severe intensity. It is concluded that coir with 5 cm height can be used to housing up to 13 birds/m2; however, the high rate of hock and footpad lesions makes the use of coir in the evaluated form unfeasible.</p></div>