Economically important traits will improve as balanced selection efforts result in broilers and layers that perform well and have high welfare under a variety of management and nutritional regimens.
In the developed world the broiler and layer industries have birds with high performance measures for livability, growth rate, feed conversion, yield and other factors. However, activist groups and consumers have a heightened interest in animal welfare and transparency, so poultry producers are being challenged to manage their flocks with that in mind.
Fortunately, poultry breeding companies recognized these consumer and activist trends years ago and began adapting their selection programs to produce genetic stock that is adaptable to multiple housing situations and has improved performance on bird welfare measures.
The movement out of cages for laying hens started in Europe, but is rapidly spreading to North America. Lying hen strains have proven adaptable to cage-free environments because breeders started adding
This article examines other factors in laying hens, such as feather coverage on laying hens and beak shape, and looks at genetic solutions being developed in the broiler industry to produce the bird of tomorrow.
This is the first article in WATT Global Media’s 100-year anniversary series, which looks at key drivers that will shape the future of the worldwide poultry industry.
The full article can be read in January issues of Poultry International, WATTPoultryUSA, and Egg Industry.