In breeding chickens for meat production, major selection emphasis has been applied to body weight at 8 to 9 weeks of age; when most meat type chickens are marketed as broilers. Growth to this age represents about 40 percent of adult weight. Genetic analyses and selection studies (S ie g e l, 1962; Jaap, 1962, and M e r r it t et al., 1966) and commercial experience have clearly indicated that adult body weight shows a strong positive correlated response to this selection for fast early growth. So while the genetic improvement in growth rate results in an increase in efficiency of production, the resulting increase in adult size, because of greater feed and space requirements, decreases efficiency.

E. S Merritt

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 1, Madrid, Spain, 951–958, 1974
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