Researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered that chickens raised for meat can choose whether or not theyll 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 dont 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."
Bev Betkowski | EurekAlert!
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