Development of chicken breeds with balanced laying, fattening and animal wallowing characteristics


The killing of male day-old chicks from laying hen lines is a socially and ethically hotly debated practice that has been prohibited by law since 2022. Various solutions are being pursued; in addition to in-ovo sexing, the growing organic industry in particular is relying on so-called dual-purpose chickens. Among the purebreds, which can also be the basis for a further generation as a genetic population, there are only a few promising candidate breeds. Among them are English Ixworth, which are used as model genetics in the project. The breed is not only tested for fattening and laying performance, but also selected on an animal-by-animal basis. A breeding scheme, which does not yet exist, is to be created that focuses on the sexual dimorphism desired in dual-purpose chickens with large broilers and high-yield laying hens. In addition, the use of the run will be recorded on an individual basis, as well as other animal welfare parameters. This will help to assess the suitability of the genetics for practice. In order to be able to adapt and assess husbandry methods as well as behaviour and animal welfare, the practitioner attaches great importance to management guides, which together with the animals contribute to the success of primary agricultural production with poultry. However, bringing these animals into farming practice requires more. The practitioner is dependent on coordinated feed management, as this has a considerable influence on the economic value of a production genetic. The aim of the project is to systematically work through these partial aspects and thus place the dual-purpose chicken in its diversity and efficient food production on a solid and sustainable basis. Although the selected genetics are used as examples, the overall objective is to generate fundamental principles with regard to balanced breeding and feeding, as well as practical application possibilities for dual-purpose chickens.
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