A model for an economically optimal replacement of a breeder flock

H. Yassin, A.G.J. Velthuis, G.W.J. Giesen, A.G.J.M. Oude Lansink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A deterministic model is developed to support the tactical and operational replacement decisions at broiler breeder farms. The marginal net revenue approach is applied to determine the optimal replacement age of a flock. The objective function of the model maximizes the annual gross margin over the flock’s production cycle. To calculate the gross margin, future egg production, fertility, or hatchability of the eggs, revenues and variable costs of a flock were estimated. For tactical decisions, the optimal laying length is the age at which the average gross margin of an average flock is maximal. For operational decisions, a flock should be replaced when the marginal gross margin of a replaceable flock is less than the average gross margin of an average flock. To demonstrate the model, a broiler breeder flock from a Dutch breeder farm was used. A sensitivity analysis showed that the optimal replacement decision, for both tactical and operational management, is sensitive to the decrease in the weekly egg production after the peak and the prices of feed and hatching eggs. The effect of the decrease in weekly fertility after the peak on the replacement decision is related to the payment system for hatching eggs. Key words: on-farm decision support tool , flock replacement decision , marginal net revenue approach , broiler breeder farm
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3271-3279
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • egg-production
  • broiler breeders
  • dairy-cattle
  • rejuvenated assets
  • hatchability
  • performance
  • policies
  • hens
  • age
  • decisions

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