Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1953 Page: 51
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POULTRY RESEARCH 51
Inheritance of fertility
Low fertility in certain inbred lines of chickens and some families
of White Holland turkeys is being investigated by the Pennsylvania
station. In chickens, representatives of three inbred lines and of one
cross between inbred lines were tested for the duration of fertility
following a single insemination with 1/20 cc. of semen from each of
three inbred males and one outbred male. Duration of fertility was
shorter for "within-family" matings than for "cross-family" matings.
Fertility duration was longer for matings with the outbred male than
with inbred males for each group of females. It is evident that the
ability of chicken females to retain functional semen is influenced by
the degree of inbreeding; also, that the semen produced by inbred
males gives a shorter duration of fertility than that produced by
In turkeys, 17 full-sister families were tested for duration of fertility
following a single insemination with 1/20 cc. of pooled semen
obtained from 9 males. The duration of fertility in full-sister groups
varied from 25 to 50 days, whereas, in individual females it ranged
from 10 to 53 days. This preliminary study provides additional
evidence to support the theory that fertility in turkeys is inherited
on a genetic basis.
The influence of genetics on hatchability
Eight years ago the Massachusetts station initiated research to
develop a high and a low hatchability line by means of selective
breeding, through the use as foundation stock of yearling female
breeders that had been tested for hatchability the previous year. The
mean hatchability of the hens used to start the high line was 92.5
percent, compared with a mean of 45.1 percent for the breeders in the
low line. Matings in 1945 showed a mean for the high line of 78.2
percent and 68.7 percent for the low line.
Pedigree selection breeding has been carried on within each line
through eight generations. Mean hatchability fluctuated from generation
to generation with the average in the two lines showing significant
differences. In 1951, the hatchability was 86 percent for the
high line and 68 percent for the low line; in 1952, it was 71 percent
and 61 percent, respectively; and in 1953, 94 percent and 74 percent,
respectively. Fertility has been satisfactory in all generations.
Rather striking is the fact that low viability is a characteristic that
appears in the embryos and in the birds of all ages in the low line.
Advancements in Nutrition
Methionine-an important nutrient
The amino acid requirements for growing chicks were reported in
1952. Additional information on the need of poultry for methionine,
the first of the essential amino acids to find practical application in
avian nutrition, is now available. At the Texas station, levels of
methionine, varying from as little as 1/2 pound per ton of finished
broiler feed to as much as 5~pounds of feed-grade methionine per ton,
were compared. One-half pound to 1 pound per ton produced the
best and most consistent results. A significant increase in the growth
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United States. Office of Experiment Stations. Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1953, book, 1953; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5989/m1/53/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.