Organic poultry production has increased sharply with growing consumer demand in the context of sustainable development. A study was conducted in 85 organic broiler flocks between 2014 and 2015 to describe the husbandry practices and the health and welfare status of organic broilers in France, and to study farming diversity by comparing independent farms (Ind farms, n = 15) with direct sales to farms working with companies (Comp farms, n = 70). Each flock was visited at 3 and 11 weeks of age to collect data on farming conditions, health disorders, and mortality. Welfare notation of 30 broilers per flock and parasitic examination of 5 broilers per flock was also performed. Findings showed significantly different farming management between Ind farms and Comp farms, with smaller flocks on the Ind farms (476 broilers/house vs. 3062 broilers/house, p < 0.01) more frequently in mobile houses. The mean mortality rate was 2.8%, mainly involving digestive disorders. Helminths were detected in 58.8% of the flocks. On average, 21.9% and 5.8% of broilers in a flock had footpad dermatitis and dirty feathers, respectively. The health and welfare characteristics of organic broilers on Ind farms vs. Comp farms were not significantly different, except dirtier feathers and more footpad dermatitis on Ind farms (19.1% vs. 2.9%, p = 0.03 and 39.6% vs. 18.1%, p = 0.02, respectively), associated with poultry housing conditions in mobile houses (p < 0.01). This study provides greater insight into farming sustainability aspects related to the husbandry practices, and the health and welfare of organic broilers in France.
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