Over the years the Hubbard JA57 breeder female has become the main breeder female used as the base of the French Label Rouge concept. Everything begins in the early 1960s, when the Label Rouge started and defended a concept of extensive production, looking for tradition and already to be respectful to good animal welfare based on robust breeds with slow growth.
Fifty years ago, in 1967, the JA57 breeder female was officially ‘born’ and since then the Hubbard R&D team has continuously worked to make sure that it fully meets the demand of the increasing Label Rouge market. Since then Hubbard has become the market leader in the supply of breeding stock for slow(er) growing chickens through the development of Premium products based on genetic selection focused on robustness, animal welfare, meat quality and tradition.
Label Rouge concept and Hubbard
The Label Rouge chicken concept is based on free range with a minimum age of slaughter of 81 days produced by around twenty organizations which offer, under the Label Rouge umbrella, their own chicken based on the specific region and/or feather and skin colour and type of chicken.
Besides the different breeder females, the company offers a wide range of breeder males in terms of phenotype enabling each Label Rouge organisation in different regions to differentiate itself from the others. The range of slow growing ‘Label Rouge’ type males goes from the Hubbard I66 white skin male, the Hubbard S77N Naked Neck Yellow skin to the Hubbard S88 black feathered Naked Neck male usually mated with the Hubbard P6N black feathered breeder female. Out of a total production of 114 million Label Rouge chickens per year, today more than 88 million are a Hubbard product (77%). To support this market share Hubbard offers specialised technical service to all its customers and at all levels of production to continue to further improve technical performance through management. This includes involvement of its team of experts for incubation, reproduction and nutrition.
Hubbard Premium R&D and product performance
The company continues to select its Label Rouge breeds in compliance with the very strict specifications imposed by the SYNALAF organization that controls all Label Rouge strains. The latest state-of- the-art technologies used by Hubbard make it possible to supply the Label Rouge and other Premium markets with high performance levels at breeder level (216 HE/HH at 64 weeks) as well as for the final product with the best FCR, carcass and cut up yields. Over the last years the Label Rouge market has shown a sharp increase in percentage of chickens being cut up. The current selection techniques, using hightech tools, enables the Label Rouge producers to better meet the new challenges of the market, in particular the increase in the share of cut up and the development of more need for breast meat while maintaining a slow growth which corresponds to the requirements of the concept and the robustness of the final product which makes it the most efficient Label Rouge chicken on the French market on as well as breeder level as the final product.
New breeder standard based on excellent field results
The excellent field performances of the Hubbard JA 57 breeder female made Hubbard decide to increase the performance standard by +5 HE/HH (see Table).
Other markets and new concepts
The Hubbard Premium products are renowned worldwide for its good performances and robustness and today are not only used for the production of Label Rouge, but also in many other slower growing chicken concepts in Europe, such as ‘Certified’ chicken in France, Better Life and ‘Chicken of Tomorrow’ in NL, ‘RSPCA Approved’ in the UK, or traditional Free Range in Italy or Portugal for example. The slower growing chicken market is developing in Europe (and abroad) with different concepts responding to changed consumer demand in the developed countries focusing more on animal welfare, no use of antibiotics and meat without any defects.
Hubbard is the only breeding company with 50 years of experience in the selection and marketing of premium chickens. Focus on animal welfare, health, taste and tradition combined with economic efficiency are the cornerstones of our success in this increasingly important market. Hubbard offers from the very beginning the best solutions for the premium chicken markets. These products are not new; they are based on years of experience in breeding and in practical know-how! Hubbard’s knowledge provides expertise and assistance for the development of all these new slower growing chicken production projects around the world.”