Poultry breeding

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Poultry breeding

  1. 1. Why conserve Poultry biodiversity? • Poultry biodiversity refers to the genetic variants available within and among poultry species (chicken, turkey, quail, duck, goose, pheasant) distributed around the globe. • Distinct indigenous varieties, native breeds, small scale traditional farms, fancy breeds maintained by hobbyists, stocks developed and maintained by government and research institutions and specialized populations developed by industry form the bulk of this genetic reservoir.
  2. 2. Biodiversity?? • The huge potential of these valuable resources for contributing to food production, biotechnology and health of humankind remains largely untapped. • These germ plasm resources form the basis for future economic, scientific and socio cultural opportunities. Maintenance of the genetic potential of these resources at adequate levels requires systematic scientific application of conservation biology principles.
  3. 3. Genetic Conservation • Applied conservation genetics, which integrates population genetics and molecular biology, has attracted the attention of international scientific community recently. • This emerging discipline would help identify, analyze and develop strategies to conserve existing biological diversity and variability and make them potentially available for future scientific progress.
  4. 4. Causes of decline in Poultry biodiversity:  Diminishing poultry biodiversity and genetic variation: 1. Accelerated loss of experimental/ specialized research populations 2. Replacement of locally adapted breeds in small farms and villages with modern industry stocks 3. Consolidation of primary breeding companies globally resulting in loss of foundation populations (business decisions?) 4. Erosion of genetic potential in industry stocks as a result of decades of intensive selection stretching biological limits
  5. 5. Erosion of genetic potential: • As a result of intense genetic selection over many decades, there is loss of genetic variation in industrial stocks and many stocks may be nearing physiological plateau in the near future. • Stocks with less genetic variability can not cope up with challenges like: newly emerging or reemerging diseases, environment conditions etc.
  6. 6. Genetic Diversity • Genetic diversity in industrial stocks is essential to afford future opportunities of selection for changed market/ consumer preferences, products etc. • This makes it imperative for primary poultry breeding companies to conserve all their bio-resources without dropping.
  7. 7. Conservation of Biodiversity by Molecular tools: • The modern day molecular tools provide highly efficient scientific levers to arrest the decline in biodiversity of the endangered poultry species. With the advent of various DNA profiling techniques, the endangered and threatened breeds of poultry can be efficiently evaluated for their genetic worth and be maintained without further erosion of genetic variability. • The multi-locus DNA fingerprinting utilizing VNTR sequences (conserved across the various orders, genera and species of avis), provide the most economic and powerful way of analyzing their intra and inter-population genetic variability.
  8. 8. Conservation of Biodiversity • Besides working as ultimate tools to determine the parentages and strain/ line identities, these tools can be used for greater application in conservation genetics. • By DNA fingerprinting, it is possible to deduce the existing genetic relatedness and or distances between individuals & breeds and there by estimate various population parameters:  Average heterozygosity in a given flock (even in absence of pedigree and quantitative information),  Coefficient of genetic differentiation (that reflects the components of total genetic variation attributable to intra and inter-population genetic variations)  and above all, the indices for inbreeding (accumulated over generations) to any breeder stock.
  9. 9. Conservation of Biodiversity • By judicious amalgamation of the DNA profiling tools, the job of arresting the fastdiminishing bio-diversity becomes much easier and a feasible task. • With the release of the draft chicken genome map database by the NIH, USA, since March 2004, there is an excess of DNA markers available to the molecular geneticists, which can be put to use for the conservation geneticist following suitable protocols.
  10. 10. Conservation of Biodiversity • Among the most potential DNA markers are: microsatellites, unique RFLPs and SNPs, which can be efficiently used for the above, using the sequence info, freely accessible from the public domain databases. • With such available genetic information in hand, custom-breeding programs can be designed, by the breeders, which could helpconserve any endangered breed in a scientific manner.
  11. 11. Systematic steps to arrest decline of poultry biodiversity: • Training: It is important to take urgent steps to generate trained human resources with knowledge of conservation biology especially genetics. • Education: Veterinary/animal husbandry curricula may incorporate conservation biology as one of core subjects. • Research: Studies encouraged at post graduate and doctorate levels to assess and compile database on biologically important indigenous varieties of chicken species. • Data: organization on the lines of American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC).
  12. 12. Systematic steps to arrest decline of poultry biodiversity: • Standards: Compilation of Pakistan Poultry Breed Standards and Specifications like British Poultry Standards or American Standards of perfection. • Extension: Encourage local/fancy chicken breeding at their source locations • Coordination: Coordinate with zoological parks and wildlife personnel in assessing the genetic worth of avian/chicken species available with them and apply conservation genetics principles to maintain present levels of diversity • Participation: Encourage private sector pharmaceutical, biotechnology, bioinformatics firms to invest in conservation of valuable avian genetic resources of Pakistan.
  13. 13. Summary • There is an urgent need to evaluate the poultry biodiversity of Pakistan and to compile available data base for future potential applications in scientific and biotechnological applications of food production. • To achieve this objective, trained human resources in the areas of conservation biology especially genetics are to be made available within a reasonable time.
  14. 14. Summary • The latest emerging genetic tools like DNA profiling procedures are real boons for such purposes and should be employed to the advantage of conservation genetics. • Active involvement of various agencies and poultry community is very essential.
  15. 15. Local breeds: • The original breeds consisting of locally adapted stocks evolved over millions of years get replaced by modern industrial stocks at a faster rate. • The true genetic potentials and their value to food production and biotechnology are, as such, unknown. • This is especially true for developing countries like Pakistan where, due to economic reasons small-scale poultry breeders and fanciers are not able to survive. • Globally, FAO (2000) has listed 30 extinct chicken breeds in the recent past with many more in critical list.
  16. 16. • Practical 3 Dated 23-10-2013
  17. 17. Local breeds: • The total percentage of avian breeds at risk of being lost increased from 51 to 63% in a matter of 4 years indicating the alarming trend. • USA has a system of periodic census inventories of genetic resources available with small and middle level poultry breeds having economic and historical significance through American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC). • American Poultry Association also lists more than 150 breed standards. Pakistan Poultry database on the above model is very important.
  18. 18. Consolidation of primary breeding companies: • Due to thin profit margins and severe competition the global poultry breeding companies witness many mergers, closures and takeovers. • This has resulted in an overall decrease in total number of elite pure lines by these multinationals marketing breeding stocks globally. • In egg layer stocks only five major poultry breeding companies supply almost all the eggers throughout the world. • Six major primary breeders holding 35-40 pure lines control and supply 400 billion market broilers globally.
  19. 19. Consolidation of primary breeding companies: • These stocks are designed and genetically selected over many generations for economically important traits of growth, production, and reproduction. • They also require specialized management, nutrition, and disease prevention and environment conditions for optimal performance to ensure profitability. • Because of their uniform genotype they may not have adequate heterozygosity to sustain evolutionary genetic adaptations. • Decisions about retention or termination of lines from programs are necessarily based on profitability and not genetic. As a result, these stocks have a restricted narrow genetic base.
  20. 20. Erosion of genetic potential: • As a result of intense genetic selection over many decades, there is loss of genetic variation in industrial stocks and many stocks may be nearing physiological plateau in the near future. • Stocks with less genetic variability can not cope up with challenges like: newly emerging or reemerging diseases, environment conditions etc. • Genetic diversity in industrial stocks is essential to afford future opportunities of selection for changed market/consumer preferences, products etc. • This makes it imperative for primary poultry breeding companies to conserve all their bio-resources without dropping.
  21. 21. Genetic Resource • The excellent advances in poultry production during 20th century are attributable to a large extent usage of population genetics principles and intensive selection and development of specialized populations of poultry. • The breed base made available to scientists at the turn of 19th century provided resources and opportunity to achieve many scientific advances during 20th century. • For continued genetic progress during 21st century, it is very important to conserve the genetic reservoir of existing poultry populations which can respond to future research and production needs.
  22. 22. Genetic Resource • The biological diversity of the planet is rapidly being depleted and is a global concern because of dangers of total extinction and/or endangered level of many flora and fauna. • Poultry biodiversity is also declining at an alarming level globally and we may need to review the urgency of conserving poultry biodiversity because avian species are unique and different from other flora and fauna.
  23. 23. INTRODUCTION • Webster’s New -World Dictionary defines proof as “anything serving or tending to establish the truth of something, or to convince one of its truth; conclusive evidence” (1968, Simon &Schuster, N.Y.). • Presently, animal breeding has an aura of unreality relying too heavily on theoretical expectations without empirical verification. • Many experts strongly criticize the tendency of population geneticists to devote too much interest to the development of statistical methods, and not enough on obtaining experimental results that could validate and expand the biological model. • Animal breeders tend to accept models with unrealistic assumptions. Assumptions need to be validated and viewed with skepticism.
  24. 24. WHERE ARE WE? In Broilers! • The modern broiler grows more than three times faster than the vintage broiler (around 1960) with greater meat yield and better feed conversion reaching market weight on much less feed required by the vintage broiler. • Even when grown to a fixed age, the modem broiler has better feed conversion (30% better at 42 d) despite reaching a greater size (about 2130 g vs 510 g at 42 d) than the vintage broiler (Havenstein et aI. 1994a). • The greater part of these changes have resulted from genetic improvement: 85.3% for growth rate, 91.3% for carcass yield and 62.5% for feed conversion; with the remainder being due to diet (Havenstein ef al. 1994a,b).
  25. 25. Improvement in Broiler Parameters 1. 2. 3. 4. • All of the changes in broilers have not been positive. The incidence of leg and other skeletal problems has increased. Mortality due to physiological changes has increased and is excessive under many circumstances such as at altitude, in high heat and humidity and under reduced air flow or any other extreme stress. Reproductive fitness has been negatively affected by selection for increased body weight although onset and severity vary and can be partially counteracted by selection. Reproductive problems exacerbated by excess fatness are controlled in modem broiler parents by feed restriction programs. However, increased fat in modem broilers is exaggerated as vintage broilers and modem broilers of the same weight have a similar percent fat..
  26. 26. Improvement in Layers  The modern layer out put is considerably higher. • Egg numbers have increased from less than 270 to over 340 eggs between 1950 and 1993 (a 28.8% increase). This represents an average increase of about 1.8 eggs per year. • Simultaneously, egg mass has been improved by 42.7%, egg weight by 11.7% and feed efficiency by 32.4%. • Egg shell strength was unchanged and albumen quality has improved slightly. • Fertility and hatchability have remained high or improved slightly. • Since selection in layers is largely for fitness traits, most of the problems plaguing broilers have been avoided. • Due to the nature of important traits in layers, change has been slower than in broilers.
  27. 27. • Practical 4 Dated 30-10-2013
  28. 28. Quantitative genetic theory in animal breeding,  Major Assumptions of Infinitesimal Model and Quantitative genetic 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12) 13) 14) An infinite number of loci; Unlinked loci; Only additive effects in base population Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium Linkage equilibrium; Genetic and environmental effects normally, independently distributed; Constant genetic and phenotypic (co)variances; Genetic and phenotypic (co)variances of the base population are known. Selection is on a linear function of the records; The relationship matrix is complete (no missing or incorrect records); Multivariate normality even after repeated selection, Genetic parameters are symmetrical; No genotype-environment interactions The underlying genetic model is known.
  29. 29. Credibility of Infinitesimal Model  Most Infinitesimal Model assumptions are known to be false with regard to the poultry genome.  The number of loci in the poultry genome are finite.  The assumption of normality may not be reasonable, especially after repeated selection.  Directional dominance and linkage accentuate the problem.  Economic traits in poultry have considerable genetic non additivity  Fitness characters have low, asymmetrical heritabilities and asymmetrical correlations exist for several traits
  30. 30. Credibility of Infinitesimal Model  Low frequency genes with large negative effects have been observed for some fitness traits  Many examples of major genes affecting economic traits exist  It is a known fact that selection changes genetic parameters.  Several studies reported substantial changes in genetic correlations (re3) with selection .  As so many Infinitesimal Model assumptions are incorrect, its value as a model for the assessment of genetic improvement is questionable.
  31. 31. Selection Techniques • Selection techniques. Several multiple trait, multiple source selection techniques exist: • Index selection (IS) or Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (BLUP); and several culling methods. • Current theory heralds BLUP as the best” selection method Fixed effects aside, as a generalization of selection index theory to unequal information on relatives (Lin 1978), • BLUP embodies many aspects of the Infinitesimal Model. Thus, the efficiency of BLUP is suspect, especially in some cases.
  32. 32. Selection Techniques • In experimental comparisons with chickens, family and index selection was less effective while individual selection was more effective than expected (Kinney et al. 1970; Garwood & Lowe 1979; Garwood et al. 1980). • In more recent experiments with Drosophila, Perez and Toro (1992) compared three family selection indices for progeny number: dam record only, dam plus dam full-sibs, and dam plus dam and sire full sibs. Response was the reverse of that expected. • The efficiency of family information may be affected by: weights placed on sources of information; inbreeding and the loss of allelic variation; incorrect parameter estimation; the use of theoretical genetic relationships; and assumptions of additivity.
  33. 33. • The presence of nonadditive genetic effects (Johannsson et al. 1995) and common environmental (Harris ef al. 1984) effects, such as congenital diseases like the lymphoid leukosis virus, may bias estimates of breeding values based on information from relatives. • While adding information from relatives may potentially increase selection accuracy chiefly in traits with low h*, optimal weights of sources of information may deviate from theory. • BLUP tends toward the selection of families resulting in an elevated rate of inbreeding. The loss of favorable alleles as a consequence of inbreeding may be more serious by lowering the limits of selection and the rate of genetic progress.
  34. 34. • Hypothetically, BLUP may optimize short-term response if the genetic model approximates that assumed, but even so, long-term response may be compromised If the rate of inbreeding is restricted to the same level as that of phenotypic selection, then even theoretically BLUP has little advantage (Quinton & Smith 1995). • Several investigators have examined the effect of parameter estimation errors on selection accuracy, concluding that errors in parameter estimation, notably in estimates of genetic correlations, could produce large biases in estimated selection criteria.
  35. 35. • In the use of IS and BLUP, additive genetic relationships are assumed to be known. In fact, they are theoretical estimates derived from the pedigree representing an expectation based on sampling parental genotypes. • Even in direct descent where the assumed additive genetic relationship must hold, sampling of parental genotypes may be biased based on differential exclusion, gametic competition, or mortality. Also, the efficiency of IS and BLUP are greatest at constant allelic frequencies.
  36. 36. • As allelic frequencies change, IS and BLUP become increasingly less efficient. Since the only basis for genetic change is in fact genetic change (shifting allelic frequencies), the fiction of fixed allelic frequencies becomes foolish and the efficiency of IS and BLUP over generations of selection becomes increasingly questionable. • BLUP and IS assume multivariate normality. In swine, the researchers reported selection results that deviated significantly from theoretical expectations due to the failure of the assumption of multivariate normality. • For traits such as egg number which do not show multivariate normality, IS may fail to perform as predict & Culling techniques such as multiple trait culling levels and index updating can effective alternatives to BLUP and SI under some circumstances.
  37. 37. • Where the genetic architecture of traits does not conform to BLUP and IS assumptions, culling might be more efficient than BLUP as might a base index ignoring genetic covariances. • There might be a number of alternatives to BLUP, but we do not have any empirical evidence. Fitness traits which often have asymmetrical herabilities are good examples. • In chickens, fertility and hatchability can easily be decreased and in some progenies decreases on the order of 30-40 % are not unusual. Corresponding increases cannot be found. • Further, fertility and hatchability are at very high levels in most improved lines, such that they can be viewed as approaching a limit.
  38. 38. • Both fertility and hatchability can be maintained at high levels using a culling scheme that has little effect on the selection pressure available for other traits. • In chickens, most mortality is due to disease. Each cause (pathogen and virulence) can be viewed as a separate trait. • No effective method of selecting for general disease resistance exists (Gavora 1990). • Selection for immune responses has been successful without corresponding improvements in disease resistance (Kean et al. 1994).
  39. 39. • Selection on general mortality in normal populations is selection primarily on exposure, which is futile. • Although this is well known, many theorists still treat mortality as a single trait applying methods that will fail and even “prove”, using index in retrospect techniques, that genetic improvements have been made although challenge tests would prove to the contrary. • Treating traits or groups of traits differently makes good sense biologically.
  40. 40. • For characters with means approaching limits, negative major gene effects inherited in a Mendelian fashion and asymmetrical heritabilities, BLUP or IS may have little logic or value. • Also, for compound traits like mortality, where each cause of mortality is a different trait, usually with very low incidence, and is highly dependent on exposure and virulence, intense BLUP selection will have little beneficial effect, wasting selection pressure that could be used elsewhere. • Empirical evidence and accumulated knowledge of the genome support the current practice of using different methods for different traits as the biological nature of each dictates.
  41. 41. • Practical 5 Dated 7-11-2013
  42. 42. Future Poultry Improvement • There are a number of techniques that are of potential value to future poultry improvement: 1. Increasingly vocal animal welfare (and animal rights) concerns in addition to economic considerations may dictate that poultry be selected for adaptation to production environments; 2. Animal breeding is becoming increasingly costly and multiple stage selection may allow more cost effective breeding programs and make better use of facilities 3. Molecular genetic techniques show promise for revolutionary changes in animal improvement techniques.
  43. 43. Adaptation to production environments.  The example of group selection. • The housing of laying hens in group battery cages has been considered to be reducing well-being and commercial performanance. • Beak trimming and battery housing of layers which are viewed as causing stress for extended periods of time. • Such practices have been severely restricted in Europe. • It suggests modifying the behavior of the bird so that beak trimming to prevent cannibalism is unnecessary and the cage environment is no longer stressful to the bird • Other types of housing designed to replace battery cages can also be very stressful to birds.
  44. 44. Group Selection • Group selection method to produce cooperative genotypes adapted to battery cages as opposed to the selfish, competitive genotypes maladapted to battery cages produced by conventional selection revealed that:  Egg production and hen days increased while mortality decreased sharply.  In a direct comparison with a commercial and genetic control line in multiple hens cages, the group selected line had much higher egg production, much lower mortality and much better feather scores than the commercial and control lines.  This clearly demonstrates that selection for adaptation can improve welfare as well as commercial performance.
  45. 45. Multiple stage selection. • When traits are expressed for selection at different ages or there are large differences in costs of measuring traits, selection by independent culling levels may give a higher aggregate economic return compared IS or BLUP, because not all traits need be measured on all individuals. • However, general solutions for optimum independent culling levels are not possible and specific solutions require numerical integration. • Also, independent culling for each trait ignores superiority in other traits. • Independent culling levels procedure using orthogonal transformation of the original traits can be used.
  46. 46. Multiple stage selection. • This procedure furnishes solutions for optimum truncation points and has similar properties to multiple stage selection index so that resulting genetic gains may exceed conventional independent culling levels selection. • For most situations, a multiple stage selection scheme, either conventional or transformed culling, can have an efficiency close to that of index selection. • Further, their procedure can optimize aggregate economic return per unit of cost associated with obtaining measures on each trait.
  47. 47. Multiple stage selection. • Multiple stage selection is a common procedure used by all commercial broiler breeders. In dam lines, birds are first culled on weight with the superior pullets further tested for adult performance. • Culling levels are commonly derived empirically over time through feedback of results and within generation by iteration to achieve specific goals rather than based on theory. • Too intense early culling can erode genetic gain for later traits. Too feeble an intensity at early culling can incur significant additional costs. Industry culling procedures may be close to optimum, but this new theory may make additional gains or profits possible. • Also, profitability of alternative breeding schemes can be assessed using index updating
  48. 48. Molecular markers (or genes) in poultry breeding. • Markers have many important and useful applications in poultry improvement. Some of the many applications will be briefly discussed: Establishing genetic relationships; Predicting heterosis; Genomic selection; and Marker Assisted Selection (MAS).  Estabishing genetic relatioships. • DNA-based technologies like DNA fingerprints (DFP) are powerful tools for identification and pedigree determination. Identification applications have many mundane but useful functions: preventing or correcting pedigree errors; recovering pedigrees; retrospective genetic analysis. In the study of inbreeding, genetic drift or mutation, DNA-based methods provide an unparalleled tool to follow changes at the DNA level.
  49. 49. Heterosis • Heterosis is substantial for most commercial traits in chickens. • Almost all commercial male and female parent lines and virtually all commercial broilers or layers are crosses. • There could be a substantial advantage to predicting the heterosis expected from crosses at all levels. • Preliminary results in laying hens show promise for the prediction of heterosis using DNA fingerprint information.
  50. 50. Genome Selection • Genomic Selection. Occasionally, genes must quickly and economically be introduced into poultry populations (introgression). Undesirable genes in the donor genome must be excluded as far as possible. • Theoretically, DNA-based markers can enhance the efficiency of introgression. • Ideal introgression would employ equally spaced markers in the host genome and tightly linked flanking markers for the donor gene. The gene of interest could then be introgressed with the highest recovery of the host genome
  51. 51. Marker Assisted Selection • However, suitable markers must be found and unless database with suitable cloned DNA, this may be no trivial problem. they can be located in a Marker assissed seZectitm ~J4W$J. • Use of MAS in any form requires linkage disequilibrium, either at the family or population level. • In the case of a randomly mating population, different individuals will tend to be in equilibrium with QTL alleles segregating in proportion to the relative frequencies of the alleles.
  52. 52. • Alternative marker genotypes will include both positive and negative alleles at any linked QTL, and the mean quantitative value of the alternate marker genotypes will not differ even when a linked segregating QTL is present in the population. • Therefore, specific linkage arrangements must be determined for each individual by progeny testing numerous offspring.
  53. 53. BLUP & MAS • Theoretically, generalized mixed model (BLUP) approaches for incorporating markers into breeding programs reduce the erosion of marker information from one generation to the next and maximizes expected response of MAS, but require abundant QTL’s with large effects to be effective assuming all alleles are traceable. • However, finding loci with large effects in a population which has undergone long term selection would be unexpected unless the gene has a negative plieotropic effect on fitness.
  54. 54. MAS Effectiveness • Using a Monte Carlo simulation program, Zhang and Smith (1993) simulated the effectiveness of MAS. Selection on the phenotype always gave greater response than selection on markers only. • As expected, combined selection gave greater response than selection on the phenotype or marker. • However, the improvement was considerably below the 100% to 200% improvement prediction.
  55. 55. Constraints MAS • However, MAS assumes an additive model. In wide crosses of tomatoes, De vicente and Tanksley (1993) found at least one QTL had an effect opposite of that expected due to overdominance. In inbred line crosses, Edwards et al. (1987) found that overdominance occurred frequently for yield traits • Evaluating expression of QTL’s in different dams concluded that associations between DFP band patterns and quantitative traits may not be consistent in different genetic backgrounds. Epistatic effects (AXA, AXD, and DxD) were significant for egg production traits. All of this suggests problems in the application of MAS.
  56. 56. Effectiveness MAS • An economic study of MAS using the efficiencies and costs with an assumed 100 fold decrease due to technology advances by 1994, concluded that in most realistic animal breeding operations use of MAS will not be profitable. • Zhang and Smith (1993) concluded that MAS will have limited value until close linkages or the QTL’s themselves are identified. • From numerous other theoretical evaluations of MAS it can be generally concluded that MAS will only be advantageous for traits which cannot be measured on the individual and in species which allow for large family sizes. • Thus, MAS appears to be of little importance in genetic improvement of poultry.
  57. 57. Effectiveness MAS • To date, MAS has not been used or tested on a wide scale. The only reported attempt to actually use MAS was that of Dunnington et al. (1992) who used within family MAS by tail analysis. • Birds were hi-directionally selected based on two markers which had a significant effect on body weight @WV). Offspring of those mating were not significantly merest. • The authors attributed the lack of response on BW to false positives. Nevertheless, the authors examined the most favorable case for MAS, i.e. intermediate gene frequencies for the QTLs by crossing bi directionally selected populations, and it failed.
  58. 58. Effectiveness MAS • All theoretical studies of MAS assume an existing gene pool. MAS only changes frequencies of existing alleles. • A more beneficial use of this technology is to search for alleles in wild ancestors of domesticated species which have become lost. • In every instance where this was used new alleles that outperformed the elite parents by as much as 20% were found Thus, the real value of MAS in most species may be to look for lost alleles in distant ancestors.
  59. 59. • Next
  60. 60. Genetics of sex determination in mammals versus birds: • • • • • • • • • • MAMMALS (e.g., humans, cows, etc.) Male = XY Female = XX Males determine the sex of the offspring BIRDS (including all poultry species) Male = ZZ Female = ZW Females determine the sex of the offspring
  61. 61. DNA
  62. 62. Sex Chromosomes • Every individual has two sets of chromosomes one from the mother and one from the father. • Each set contains a sex chromosome which is important in determining the gender of the animal. • In mammals there are two possible sexchromosomes - X and Y. Females have to X chromosomes (XX) while males have one of each (XY).
  63. 63. Sex Determination • Male mammals, therefore, determine the gender of the offspring. • In birds, however, the two sex chromosomes are Z and W. The females are ZW and the males are ZZ. • For birds, therefore, it is the female that determines the sex of the offspring.
  64. 64. CHICKEN Assessment for improving productivity Assessment at 8 and 16 Weeks of Age 1. Skull width • A wide skull on a chicken is a strong indicator of good growth potential. If birds cannot be physically examined, often judging skull width visually can be a reliable indicator of young birds with good growth potential. • If the skull is narrow, then the rest of the bird will be narrow. As a rule of thumb, medium to large skull width is good for egg layers, and large to extra wide skulls are better for meat birds.
  65. 65. 2. Heart girth  A good heart girth is an indicator that there is enough space for the internal organs to be of good size, maximizing the bird’s potential for growth and development. Care must be taken to ensure that the girth is accurately assessed. • Often, if the bird’s legs are held slightly forward during the assessment, the girth can seem larger than it actually is. For a more precise assessment have the legs of the bird pointing towards the rear of its body and place your fingers on each side of the ribs just behind where the wings attach to the birds body.
  66. 66. 3. Back flatness, length, and breadth • A flat back makes for a more attractive carcass on a table bird. Good length and width contribute to the quality of the dressed bird as well. Flat backs are one indicator of good bone development in a bird. The back should be wide and carry its width along its length. • Generous length and width of back are indicators of longevity, vigor, and provide ample capacity for egg and digestive organs. Birds with narrow or tapered backs lack the capacity for satisfactory egg production.
  67. 67. 4. Body depth, capacity • As with heart girth, this aspect of the bird’s body indicates whether there is ample or restricted space for internal organs. Body depth is the thickness between the back and the keel. • Good depth gives birds an advantage for internal organ development. This factor also contributes to carcass appearance for the table bird.
  68. 68. 5. Breast and keel • The keel is examined for its straightness & length (for good carcass appearance) and the breast is inspected for development of good meat proportions. • The amount of meat on the breast will ultimately drive the bird’s appeal to the consumer. • Position the bird in an inverted manner to get an accurate feel for fleshing.
  69. 69. 6.Weight • Young birds can be weighed to determine overall growth rates for the flock. Weight has the advantage of being an impartial record that can allow comparison of different generations of birds. • As your flock grows and years of selection occur, target weights can be designated as minimum qualifications for retention of breeding stock. • Males should meet or exceed 5.1 pounds and females 3.5 pounds by age 16 weeks. The heaviest birds that make the cut in the first 5 categories can be marked as potential breeders as early as 8 weeks of age.
  70. 70. 7. Color • Although ideal color is nice, it is not a necessity in the early stages of selection for production traits in a breed. • It should be noted that it is more important to have males with good color than females because the males carry two genes for color (ZZ) and females only one (Z0). Once production traits meet the program’s goals, then color can be improved through further selective breeding. • The bottom line is that color is much easier to correct than production traits. • Width of skull, heart girth, flatness of back, and fleshing on breast are the most significant qualities to look for in the selection process with young birds. They are characteristics that all of the superior birds excel in. Typically, the birds that excelled in these traits at 8 weeks of age will remain the top birds at 16 weeks of age.
  71. 71. Some Other Points 1. Appetite equals rate of growth – A bird’s body grows according to the inputs it receives. Thus, a bird that eats larger quantities of food will grow faster than a bird that eats smaller quantities of the same food. All other factors being equal, individual birds that show strong appetites should be given consideration when choosing breeding stock. 2. Protein equals rate of growth – Just as the amount of food consumed affects the rate at which a bird grows, so does the quality of the feed provided. Higher protein diets, up to 30% protein, are to be preferred for birds that have access to range and which are expected to grow at significant or reasonable rates. Low protein diets, 16% protein and lower, can reduce the rate of growth by as much as 50% and cause adult size to less than the genetic potential not to mention that lower protein diets often cost more money in the long run, as the birds will often eat more total pounds of feed for pounds gained.
  72. 72. Some Other Points 3. Wide feathers – Birds with wide feathers grow at a faster rate than birds with narrow feathers. This has largely to due with the fact that narrow feathers allow more body heat to escape and thus less of the food consumed goes into growth. Birds with narrow feathers can be identified at an early age, as they are apt to be slow to grow back feathers for the first 6 weeks of life. 4. Mortality – Extremely slow or excessively fast maturing chicks tend to suffer higher mortality than chicks which grow at a “normal” rate. Excessively fast maturing poultry have thinner gastro-intestinal tracts, which allow for faster nutrient uptake. But the thinness of these tracts can also make for proneness to intestinal blowouts and infections.
  73. 73. Some Other Points 5. Size • • Mature size and rate of growth are not positively correlated. The largest male produced weighed 9.5 pounds at one year of age. This same male weighed only 5.13 pounds at 16 weeks of age while others reached as much as 6.0 pounds by the same age. Both mature size and rate of growth are important considerations for potential breeding stock.

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