Severe feather pecking (SFP) is a serious animal welfare and economic concern in commercial poultry species, particularly laying hens. The increasing demand for a ban on beak treatment presents a challenge to reducing the incidence of SFP. Considerable variation in beak shape exists within and between laying hen lines and there is the potential to genetically select hens whose beak shapes cause less damage when engaging in SFP behaviour. First, the range of phenotypes for both the external beak shapes and the underlying bones needs to be identified. The aim of this study was to estimate the heritability of the shape and size of the premaxillary bone within the top beak of two pure laying hen lines. It was found that both shape and size were heritable within the two lines, suggesting that bone shape could be incorporated into selection indices to help reduce the incidence of SFP.
|Publication status||First published - 9 Feb 2023|
|Event||World Congress of Genetics Applied to Livestock Production - Rotterdam, Netherlands|
Duration: 3 Jul 2022 → 8 Jul 2022
|Conference||World Congress of Genetics Applied to Livestock Production|
|Period||3/07/22 → 8/07/22|