In response to the economic and sustainability challenges of adopting slower-growing breeds for poultry production, Red Tractor has accepted a new higher welfare chicken breed onto its approved breeds list.
The Hubbard Redbro is now included in Red Tractor’s Enhanced Welfare chicken scheme following research conducted by industry experts and producers.
Meeting the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC) has been associated with supply chain costs, making it a barrier for widespread adoption and potentially unaffordable for families.
Red Tractor is the first UK assurance scheme to include the Hubbard Redbro on its approved breed list. The decision was based on data from the broiler breed welfare assessment protocol and commercial field trials.
Studies have shown that the Hubbard Redbro, already approved by the BCC, exhibits higher welfare outcomes compared to other breeds used for indoor production.
Research demonstrated that the Hubbard Redbro has a lower feed conversion ratio, making it more economically viable and sustainable for farms.
The breed is also more efficient in converting feed into live weight and meat, requiring less feed than other slower-growing breeds to reach the desired weight and specifications.
Red Tractor CEO Jim Moseley stated, “The broiler breed welfare assessment trials demonstrated that the Hubbard Redbro was commensurate in welfare outcomes with breeds already on the BCC approved breeds lists. As the only UK assurance scheme aligning with the BCC, our decision to include the Hubbard Redbro on our Enhanced Welfare module breeder lists is an important step forward for the poultry industry.”
Red Tractor’s Enhanced Welfare module, launched in 2020, includes slower-growing chicken breeds, all of which require more space, natural light, and enrichment.