Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 373744
Title Survival of Laying Hens: Genetic Parameters for Direct and Associative Effects in Three Purebred Layer Lines
Author(s) Ellen, E.D.; Visscher, J.; Arendonk, J.A.M. van; Bijma, P.
Source Poultry Science 87 (2008)2. - ISSN 0032-5791 - p. 233 - 239.
Department(s) Animal Breeding and Genomics
Wageningen Livestock Research
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2008
Keyword(s) feather pecking - group selection - multilevel selection - behavior - inheritance - competition - responses - chicks - strain - cages
Abstract Mortality due to cannibalism is a major problem in laying hens. Due to prohibition of beak-trimming in the European Union, this problem will increase in the near future. One solution to reduce mortality due to cannibalism is to use genetic selection. Mortality due to cannibalism, however, differs from conventional breeding traits, because it depends on social interactions among individuals. Selection strategies aiming to reduce cannibalism, therefore, should consider both the direct effect of an individual on its own survival and the social effect of the individual on the survival of its group members (the so-called associative effect). Traditional breeding, however, accounts for only the direct effect. Recently, methods have been proposed to estimate variance components and breeding values for both direct and associative effects. This paper presents estimated genetic parameters for direct and associative effects on survival days in 3 purebred laying lines. For the analysis, 16,780 hens with intact beaks were used. When considering only direct effects, heritabilities ranged from 2 through 10%. When considering both direct and associative effects, the total heritable variance, expressed as a proportion of phenotypic variance, ranged from 6 through 19%. These results show that heritable variation in survival days is substantially larger than suggested by conventional direct effects models. This means that prospects for reducing mortality by means of genetic selection are good and may lead to substantial reduction of 1 of the major welfare problems in egg production.
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