Commercial Level Chicken Welfare Evaluation with the Welfare Quality® Project Protocol

Commercial Level Chicken Welfare Evaluation with the Welfare Quality® Project Protocol


  • Rebeca Zamora Sanabria Universidad de Costa Rica, Escuela de Zootecnia, Centro de Investigación en Nutrición Animal (CINA), Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio, San José Costa Rica
  • Jorge Camacho Salazar Universidad Nacional, Posgrado Regional en Ciencias Veterinarias Tropicales, Campus Omar Dengo, Heredia, Costa Rica
  • María del Pilar Castañeda Serrano Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Centro de Enseñanza, Investigación y Extensión en Producción Avícola CEIEPAv, Tláhuac, Ciudad de México, México
  • Jorge Elizondo Salazar Universidad de Costa Rica, Escuela de Zootecnia, Estación Experimental Alfredo Volio Mata, Ciudad Universitaria Rodrigo Facio, San José, Costa Rica



Animal welfare, broiler, behavior, health, housing, feeding


Introduction: Measuring bird welfare under intensive commercial conditions is something complex. The type of housing, nature of the stimulus, exposure type and time, age, sex, assessment duration, and individual differences affect the results. Objective: Evaluating animal welfare under intensive conditions, in naturally ventilated and environmentally controlled sheds with the Welfare Quality® Project (2009) protocol. Methods: We evaluated 22 different commercial farms, 11 environmentally controlled sheds, and 11 naturally ventilated sheds during 2018 and 2019. The Welfare Quality® Project was implemented, modifying the principle of good health through the transect method. For each criterion, we applied different tests, which we transformed into scores using formulas provided by the spline function Welfare Quality® instrument. Results: 54% of the farms were rated as excellent and 46% of them were rated as good. We obtained the lowest scores in the bedding quality control tests, the lameness percentage, the pododermatitis percentage, and the Qualitative Behavior Assessment (QBA). We found statistically significant differences p≤0,05 between naturally ventilated open sheds and environmentally controlled sheds in bedding quality, lameness percentage, density, and absence of prolonged hunger. Conclusion: We recommend more research on fisheries management, conservation and environmental education; and greater integration of local and international research.


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How to Cite

Zamora Sanabria, R., Camacho Salazar, J., Castañeda Serrano, M. del P., & Elizondo Salazar, J. (2021). Commercial Level Chicken Welfare Evaluation with the Welfare Quality® Project Protocol. UNED Research Journal, 13(2), e3682.