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Kitchener, Canada

Quinton C.D.,Hybrid Turkeys | Wood B.J.,University of Guelph | Miller S.P.,University of Guelph
Poultry Science

Genetic parameters for production, survival, and structural fitness traits recorded in pedigreed turkey sire and dam parental lines from a nucleus breeding program were estimated with multiple-trait animal models. Survival and conformation traits were scored in binary terms of health, where 0 = died or affected, and 1 = survived or healthy. Walking ability at 20 wk was subjectively scored from 1 (poor) to 6 (excellent). Body weights and egg production displayed moderate heritability (h 2 = 0.18 to 0.35). Early survival (to 3 wk) displayed low heritability (h 2 = 0.02 and 0.04 for the dam and sire lines, respectively). Late survival (3 to 23 wk) and longevity (age at death or cull) had low to moderate heritability (h 2 = 0.12 to 0.14). Walking ability had moderate heritability (h 2 = 0.26, 0.25). Leg structure health displayed low heritability (h 2 = 0.08), as did hip structure, foot, and skin health (h 2 ≤ 0.02). Crop health displayed moderate heritability (h 2 = 0.12). Walking ability, hip and leg structures, footpad, and breast skin health had negative genetic correlations with BW (r G = -0.50 to -0.23). Egg production had moderate positive genetic correlation with late survival (r G = 0.61). Genetic correlations between early and late survival were close to zero (r G = 0.10 and 0.03 for the dam and sire lines, respectively). Walking ability had high positive genetic correlations with late survival, longevity, hip structure, and leg structure in both lines (r G = 0.51 to 0.91). These genetic parameters indicate that unchecked selection for growth could decrease survival, walking ability, and hip, leg, footpad, and skin health in turkeys. However, index selection should be effective at improving fitness, survival, and growth simultaneously in commercial turkey lines. Walking ability should be a good indicator trait for selection to improve overall late survival and hip and leg health in turkeys. © 2011 Poultry Science Association Inc. Source

Tu X.,Iowa State University | Du S.,Zhejiang University | Tang L.,Iowa State University | Xin H.,Iowa State University | And 2 more authors.
Computers and Electronics in Agriculture

Feed conversion is an important production trait in turkey breeding; the measurement of an individual bird's feed efficiency is important in identifying the most genetically superior individual. The development of a real-time automated feed intake and body weight monitoring system is described in this paper. The system integrated multiple feed and body weight weighing stations consisting of electronic scales, radio frequency identification (RFID) devices and data communication modules. A distributed and client-server-based system architecture with multi-threading software design was developed. This system architecture allowed for a real-time data acquisition capability when a large number of stations were required. A structured query language (SQL) database management system was developed to record and manage the dynamic feed intake and body weight gain data of individual birds. The developed system also offers a powerful research tool for studying poultry feeding behavior under group housing conditions. © 2010. Source

Wood B.J.,Hybrid Turkeys | Wood B.J.,University of Guelph | Wilson S.J.,University of Sydney
World's Poultry Science Journal

Mycoplasma are a successful group of pathogens because of their ability to enter and colonise a host, whilst, at the same time, evading the bird's immune response. Mycoplasma iowae (MI) is no exception and, while mostly being a pathogen of turkeys, it can be found in other domestic poultry. It has the added ability of being able to induce a transient immune suppression situation, and this may result in a low to undetectable humoral immune response, giving it the capacity to conceal itself from the immune system. This makes MI both difficult to diagnose and control. The organism has a range of strain dependent pathogenicities and when it is pathogenic, it is primarily found in the embryo and growing poult. This leads to a range of clinical presentations such as decreased hatchability (due to higher than expected embryonic mortality) and stunting and leg abnormalities in the growing poult. As a consequence of the significant variation in pathogenicity of field strain isolates, the isolation of a non-pathogenic MI may conceal the true origin of possible embryo and poult health issues. Control of pathogenic MI at the commercial level is primarily through sourcing pathogenic MI free stock and the maintenance of appropriate biosecurity levels. Copyright © World's Poultry Science Association 2013. Source

Dalton H.A.,University of Guelph | Wood B.J.,Hybrid Turkeys | Wood B.J.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada | Torrey S.,University of Guelph | Torrey S.,Agriculture and Agri Food Canada
World's Poultry Science Journal

Injurious pecking is a serious concern for commercial turkey production and welfare. The behaviour is thought to represent re-directed ground foraging, but the development and causes are poorly understood with little supporting literature. In the initial development of the behaviour, early lighting regimes and social facilitation may play contributing roles. Other factors such as the availability of foraging material, diet composition, stocking densities, and group dynamics may also affect levels of injurious pecking. Given that commercial turkeys are group-housed, alternative breeding techniques, like group selection based on social effects, might successfully reduce moralities from pecking without detracting selection pressure from economic traits. However, to better suit their behavioural needs, any genetic attempts to adapt turkeys to perform less injurious pecking should be done in combination with environmental and dietary improvements. Copyright © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 2013. Source

Case L.A.,University of Guelph | Wood B.J.,Hybrid Turkeys | Miller S.P.,University of Guelph
Journal of Animal Science

Ultrasound measurements of muscle depth were analyzed to determine if these traits could be used to increase the rate of genetic gain in breast meat yield (BMY). Two measurements of breast depth, one taken horizontally across both breast lobes and one parallel to the keel, were captured using ultrasound. Heritabilities of muscle depth traits ranged from 0.35 to 0.70. These values were greater than heritabilities of conformation scores, which ranged from 0.25 to 0.47 within sex and line. The ultrasound traits also showed strong genetic correlations to BMY, ranging from 0.43 to 0.75, indicating that selection, using ultrasound depth as a correlated information source, could result in improved BMY. Including each ultrasound trait in a linear regression model predicting BMY increased the proportion of variation explained by the models by 0.08 to 0.17, relative to using conformation score as the only in vivo estimate. Based on results from a sim-ulated turkey breeding program with selection pressure only on BMY, the ultrasound measures could increase the accuracy of a selection index for BMY by 0.02 to 0.16. As a result, ultrasound technology has the poten-tial to improve the rate of genetic gain in BMY in a breeding program. © 2012 American Society of Animal Science. Source

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