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Model to predict age at sexual maturity in broiler breeders given a single increment in photoperiod


, : Model to predict age at sexual maturity in broiler breeders given a single increment in photoperiod. British Poultry Science 48(5): 625-634

1. Data from 9 experiments in which broiler breeder pullets had been photostimulated at two or more ages were integrated to produce a model to predict age at 50% egg production following a single increase in photoperiod during rearing. 2. It was clear that the photosexual response in broiler breeders was strongly influenced by the feed allowance and hence the rate of prepubertal growth. Regressions for birds given either a constant photoperiod or a single increase indicated that mean age at 50% lay advances by 2 d for every 100- g increase in body weight at 20 weeks. 3. The general response of broiler breeders was similar to that previously reported for egg- type pullets, but with important changes in the ages at which the birds progressed from one physiological state to the next, depending on body weight. 4. Broiler breeders, unlike modern egg- type pullets, exhibit juvenile photorefractoriness and, depending on their body weight, require up to 20 weeks to dissipate this ( faster growth allows quicker dissipation). As a consequence, a group of birds grown to a typical weight of 2 center dot 1 kg at 20 weeks do not start to be photoresponsive until about 10 weeks and are not uniformly responsive until 19 or 20 weeks. A transfer to a stimulatory photoperiod before a bird has dissipated photorefractoriness causes a delay of about 3 weeks in its sexual development, and this results in a bimodal distribution of ages at maturity when a flock is photostimulated between 10 and 20 weeks. 5. Once photosensitive, the response of broiler breeders to an increment in photoperiod is between 0 center dot 50 and 0 center dot 65 of that observed in ISA Brown egg- type pullets. However, a flock of broiler breeders with typical feed restriction starts to mature spontaneously under the influence of the initial photoperiod from about 25 weeks. 6. There is a difference of only 1 to 3 d in age at 50% egg production between a flock transferred to 11 or 12 h followed by further increases to 15 or 16 h and one increased abruptly to one of these photoperiods, and so this model can be used to predict maturity in a commercial flock of birds even though they are likely to be given a stepped, rather than a single, increase in photoperiod.

US$19.90

PMID: 17952735

DOI: 10.1080/00071660701573060


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