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 505736
Title Heritability of body surface temperature in hens estimated by infrared thermography at normal or hot temperatures and genetic correlations with egg and feather quality
Author(s) Loyau, T.; Zerjal, T.; Rodenburg, T.B.; Fablet, J.; Tixier-Boichard, M.; Pinard-van der Laan, M.H.; Mignon-Grasteau, S.
Source Animal 10 (2016)10. - ISSN 1751-7311 - p. 1594 - 1601.
Department(s) Behavioural Ecology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) adaptation - egg quality - genotype–environment interaction - heat stress - laying hens

Exposure of laying hens to chronic heat stress results in loss of egg production. It should be possible to improve hen resilience to chronic heat stress by genetic selection but measuring their sensitivity through internal temperature is time consuming and is not very precise. In this study we used infrared thermography to measure the hen’s capacity to dissipate heat, in a commercial line of laying hens subjected to cycles of neutral (N, 19.6°C) or high (H, 28.4°C) ambient temperatures. Mean body temperatures (BT) were estimated from 9355 infrared images of wing, comb and shank taken from 1200 hens. Genetic parameters were estimated separately for N and H temperatures. Correlations between BT and plumage condition were also investigated. Wing temperature had low heritability (0.00 to 0.09), consistent with the fact that wing temperature mainly reflects the environmental temperature and is not a zone of heat dissipation. The heritability of comb temperature was higher, from 0.15 to 0.19 in N and H conditions, respectively. Finally, the shank temperature provided the highest heritability estimates, with values of 0.20 to 0.22 in H and N conditions, respectively. Taken together, these results show that heat dissipation is partly under genetic control. Interestingly, the genetic correlation between plumage condition and shank and comb temperatures indicated that birds with poor condition plumage also had the possibility to dissipate heat through featherless areas. Genetic correlations of temperature measurements with egg quality showed that temperatures were correlated with egg width and weight, yolk brightness and yellowness and Haugh units only under H conditions. In contrast, shell colour was correlated with leg temperature only at thermo-neutrality.

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