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Cuxhaven, Germany

Koenig M.,Max Rubner Institute | Hahn G.,Max Rubner Institute | Damme K.,Bayerische Landesanstalt fur Landwirtschaft | Schmutz M.,Firma Lohmann Tierzucht GmbH

The aim of the study was the development of a new conventional and ethically justifiable production system for the rearing of male laying-type cockerels to produce coquelets. The purpose was to find an alternative to the present culling of one-day-old male layer chicks, which amounts in Germany to more than 40 millions per year. In the course of several rearing periods, economic efficiency, suitable management factors, and carcass product quality were to be evaluated. The experiment was performed on commercial broilers (Ross 308) and different genotypes of laying-type cockerels: medium heavy, brown-eggshell Lohmann Brown (LB) and Hy-Line Brown (Hyline); light, white-eggshell Lohmann Selected Leghorn (LSL) and Dekalb White (Dekalb). The cockerels were reared on deep Utter, and were fed standard diets ad libitum. The first step was to find the appropriate genotype by analyzing growth performance and carcass composition. The broilers attained the intended carcass weight of about 650 g after 19 days, the laying-type cockerels after 47 days (LB, Hy-Line) or 49 days (LSL, Dekalb). The results on growth performance showed that it was reasonable to stop fattening duration at this point. Feed conversion was calculated to be 1:1.2 for broilers, and 1:2.45 for egg-laying types. The weights of valuable parts (i.e. breast, legs) were higher for broilers than for laying-type cockerels. The relative carcass composition was not different between the laying-type breeds. Our study could contribute to link the production of a high-quality niche product with the solution of ethical problems in animal production. Source

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