Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

What comes first…the chicken, the egg, or the bad attitude?

14.06.2005


Researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered that chickens raised for meat can choose whether or not they’ll funnel the nutrients they eat towards themselves or their eggs.



That phenomenon of ’reproductive attitude’ is a headache for producers who must figure out how to deal with less productive hens that "partition" nutrients needed for egg production into their own bodies. "They like to be a little bit more selfish with their nutrients, and continue growing," said Dr. Martin Zuidhof, an Alberta Agriculture researcher who is collaborating with the University of Alberta to solve the dilemma.

"Some of the broiler breeders (parents of chickens raised for meat) are happy to shift their nutrients from the growth of their bodies to egg production, but some of them don’t do it very willingly. It is not a conscious thing the bird does, but it does express a tendency of that bird to either be generous or to be selfish with its nutrients."


Channelling food into body-building results in lower egg production, chick production and chick quality, said Dr. Frank Robinson, professor of Agricultural Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta.

The University of Alberta study of 300 high-performance broiler breeder hens explores the relationship between the hen’s growth and reproductive performance, to improve our understanding of how producers can better manage the birds’ body weight during puberty, and also during the egg-laying period that comes later.

No other broiler breeders research program works as closely with individual birds. The research team has shown the importance of recognizing that large poultry populations are made up of a collection of individuals--each with their own way of balancing their growth and reproductive priorities. "Building definitions of ’reproductive attitudes’ has been an eye-opening process that challenges basic assumptions about how these birds function," said Dr. Rob Renema, a researcher in the Department of Agricultural Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta.

Individual assessments have identified a small number of ’super-hens’ that have an incredible growth potential and are also capable of producing many more chicks than usual. The more typical pattern is for the hen to lose some body weight to support egg production. "The trouble with this is that these ’martyr birds’ may eventually suffer from burnout when they don’t balance their own needs well enough," Dr. Renema said.

Discovery of the exceptional "super-mom" birds that don’t fit the textbook norm has opened new doors in the research program. "If the offspring of these special hens are also more efficient, the broiler industry could move forward in leaps and bounds.

As a result of their findings, Robinson, Renema and Zuidhof have broadened their research focus to include exploration of links between hen reproductive attitude and broiler quality. Their work will contribute to the production of high-quality broilers and to the growing research focus on development of high-quality, value-added poultry products.

Bev Betkowski | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Light green plants save nitrogen without sacrificing photosynthetic efficiency
21.11.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Filling intercropping info gap
16.11.2017 | American Society of Agronomy

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

UCLA engineers use deep learning to reconstruct holograms and improve optical microscopy

22.11.2017 | Medical Engineering

Watching atoms move in hybrid perovskite crystals reveals clues to improving solar cells

22.11.2017 | Materials Sciences

New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young

22.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>