Effect of Age and Housing System on Genetic Parameters for Broiler Carcass Traits

S. Zerehdaran, A.L.J. Vereijken, J.A.M. van Arendonk, E.H. van der Waaij

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The effect of age and housing system on genetic parameters for BW and carcass traits was investigated. Traits were measured on broilers of different ages (48, 63, and 70 d). Birds in the 48 and 70 d groups were raised in group housing, whereas birds in the 63 d group were raised in the same housing up to 22 d and in individual cages between 22 and 63 d. Each group consisted of ~2,000 individuals from a single group of parents. Carcass, breast meat, abdominal fat, and back half were expressed as percentage of BW. The heritabilities of BW at 48, 63, and 70 d were 0.31, 0.26, and 0.19, respectively, and the heritabilities of back half percentage at 48, 63, and 70 d were 0.42, 0.38, and 0.21, respectively. For other carcass traits, heritabilities were in the same range in different age groups. A positive genetic correlation was found between BW and valuable parts of carcass (breast meat and back half) at 48 d; these relationships were negative at 70 d. The genetic correlation between BW and abdominal fat percentage at 70 d was higher than at 48 d. The increase in growth at 48 d was accompanied by increase in valuable parts; at 70 d it was accompanied by an increase in abdominal fat percentage. The genetic correlation of BW at 48 d between individual cage and group housing demonstrated a genotype by environment interaction for performance of birds, which has consequences for design of breeding schemes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)833-838
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • increased body-weight
  • fat deposition
  • dietary-fat
  • chickens
  • selection
  • growth
  • sex
  • environment
  • genotype
  • performance

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    Zerehdaran, S., Vereijken, A. L. J., van Arendonk, J. A. M., & van der Waaij, E. H. (2005). Effect of Age and Housing System on Genetic Parameters for Broiler Carcass Traits. Poultry Science, 84(6), 833-838. https://doi.org/10.1093/ps/84.6.833