Genetic parameters for feed utilization traits in Japanese quail

S. Varkoohi, A. Pakdel, M. Moradi Shahr Babak, A. Nejati Javaremi, A. Kause, M. Zaghari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Feed costs substantially affect the efficiency of poultry operations, justifying genetic improvement of feed utilization by selection. The current research was conducted to estimate genetic variance for the 4-wk feed conversion ratio (FCR) and its genetic correlations with BW, BW gain (WG), feed intake (FI), and residual feed intake (RFI) in Japanese quail. The data analyzed originated from a line selected for low FCR for 3 generations. In each generation, 35 sires and 70 dams were used as parents for the next generation. Body weight and WG were recorded on a total of 1,226 individuals, whereas FCR, RFI, and FI were recorded on 505 family groups. The results showed that heritability estimates (±SE) of BW at 28 d of age and WG between 7 and 28 d of age were 0.22 ± 0.05 and 0.28 ± 0.06, respectively. For FI, FCR, and RFI, significant genetic variances were estimated. Genetic correlations of FCR between 7 and 28 d of age with WG and FI between 7 and 28 d of age were –0.45 ± 0.09 and 0.24 ± 0.08, respectively. This implies that a low FCR is genetically related to a high WG and low FI. The genetic correlation between FCR from 7 to 28 d of age and RFI from 7 to 28 d of age was 0.26 ± 0.08, indicating that the 2 alternative feed efficiency traits are genetically different traits, and that the correlated genetic response in one of them in response to selection on the other is likely to be only moderate. Genetic correlations of RFI from 7 to 28 d of age with WG and FI between 7 and 28 d of age were 0.08 ± 0.04 and 0.74 ± 0.11, respectively. This reflects the fact that RFI is phenotypically independent of WG, which tends to make the genetic correlation between RFI and WG low as well. In conclusion, all the traits analyzed displayed significant genetic variance, allowing their genetic improvement by selection, yet the alternative feed utilization traits, FCR and RFI, displayed different genetic characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-47
JournalPoultry Science
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • 4-week body-weight
  • conversion ratio
  • food-consumption
  • term selection
  • white leghorns
  • efficiency
  • growth
  • broilers
  • carcass
  • heritability

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