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Attitudes and Perceptions of Family Farmers in Brazil on Problems of Raising Broilers

19 April 2015

Farmers who raise chickens for meat using alternative systems - either antibiotic-free or on free range - usually rely on corn (maize) and soybean meal and they mentioned to researchers that subclinical coccidiosis is the main disease challenge.

With the purpose to identify alternatives to the use of oilseed crops and cereals in broiler feeding, first-named author, Gustavo Fonseca de Almeida and co-authors interviewed 21 family farmers raising broilers in alternative systems located in three relevant sites for the poultry industry in Brazil.

In the journal, Organic Agriculture, they describe two groups in the south (Parana and Rio Grande do Sul), which are organised in cooperatives raising slow-growing broilers in free-range systems. The third group was linked to a broiler company in the state of Sao Paulo producing antibiotic-free broilers in intensive systems.

Individual assessments were performed through surveys with semi-structured questions.

Nutrient supply was heavily dependent on maize and soy.

Free-range broilers were normally raised with access to outdoor areas in permanent paddocks with very little vegetation available.

In the three sites, the finishing period of broilers was the production stage with higher feed supplementation.

In addition, farmers producing antibiotic-free broilers highlighted subclinical coccidiosis as of high economic importance.

Production of slow-growing broilers in free-range systems would benefit from local resources for the finishing period, concluded the researchers.

They also suggested novel feeding strategies for broilers, based on the farmers’ report, agroecological site characteristics and production systems.


Fonseca de Almeida G., K. Horsted, E.A. Figueiredo, S.M. Thamsborg, M.B. Molento, L.C. Demattê Filho and J.E. Hermansen. 2015. Attitudes and perceptions of three groups of family farmers in Brazil on problems they perceive in raising broilers and alternative feeding strategies. Organic Agriculture. 5:79-89.

Further Reading

You can view the full report (fee payable) by clicking here.

April 2015

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