Hubbard JA87 broilers can be used for Freedom Food production
United Kingdom - As of end 2014 the Hubbard JA787 and JA987 broilers are accepted for use for free range, in addition to indoor, production within the RSPCA's Freedom Food scheme.
Hubbard supplies for nearly 15 years the UK market with quality breeding stock for the slower growing broiler markets focusing on animal welfare, quality and taste. Hubbard customers have always been very pleased with the good performance of the breeders and broilers and its ease of management. Initially Hubbard introduced the Hubbard JA57 breeding stock into the UK which perfectly suits the organic, 81-day free range and the 56-day free range markets. Later on new concepts have been developed by the different producers looking for a premium quality chicken filling the gap between the conventional broilers and 56-day free range broilers grown in the UK. Already 15 years ago Hubbard started to develop another product, the Hubbard JA87, which suits these new markets best with a slower growing broiler which brings slightly faster grows, lower FCR and more breast meat than the original Hubbard JA57 which is also used as the basis for the Label Rouge and certified markets in France.
"Since we introduced the JA87 into the UK in 2008, our predictions on performance have been achieved and combined with its ease of management it is a wonderful bird to work with on as well as breeder as broiler level", says Jim Hunnable of Hubbard UK. "We have always been working closely together with the RSPCA and Freedom Food and we are extremely delighted that besides the Hubbard JA57, which serves as a benchmark for the RSPCA within their Welfare Assessment trials, now the Hubbard JA87 has been permitted for use within the Freedom Food scheme for indoor and free range systems. Our customers have been asking for this, and now it is official we can move ahead by supplying them a very efficient product for the high-end quality markets. The Hubbard JA87 answers to the changes in the market by offering a real balance between economic growing of alternative chickens and the demand for conformation and meat quality in combination with very good welfare traits.
Dr. Marc Cooper, RSPCA chicken welfare scientist, said: "This is good news for Freedom Food free-range chicken producers who now have another breed available to choose from. The use of the Hubbard JA787/987 broilers was already permitted for indoor production within the Freedom Food scheme under a collaborative agreement to improve the welfare characteristics of the breed. However, after examining the suitability of the JA787 for use in free-range production, these broilers can now be reared in free-range systems under a similar agreement. We very much look forward to continuing to work with Hubbard on this issue."
Jeremy Cooper, chief executive of Freedom Food, said: "We welcome this opportunity to work with Hubbard and help bring further improvements to chicken welfare. In offering a greater choice of breeds to producers, we have the potential to bring many more birds onto the Freedom Food scheme and give consumers a wider choice."
The Hubbard JA87 is also finding its way into other European countries such as France, the Netherlands and Germany where the importance of the premium markets is developing quickly driven by the need for good animal welfare, quality meat and hardly any use of antibiotics.
For nearly 40 years Hubbard is already directly involved in the development of the speciality markets such as organic, Label Rouge, free range, Certified and more recently the upcoming new premium standards. Through the wide range of Hubbard Color PS females and Hubbard PS males, customers can make their own combination to suit their specific needs best. Even though the economy has slowed down in the last few years, overall it can still be concluded that the total speciality chicken market has seen a tremendous growth and it is still expected to continue to grow in the coming years.
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