Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1952 Page: 77
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POULTRY RESEARCH 77
amples of experiment station and departmental research in poultry
production are here presented.
Improved Poultry Through Breeding
Mild inbreeding undesirable
Mild inbreeding with an inbreeding coefficient (brother-sister mating)
of 25 percent or more is an unsound practice when 1.000 or fewer
birds are involved, according to research at the New Jersey station.
An attempt was made to maintain and improve three pure lines by
inbreeding and selection, but after the coefficient of inbreeding reached
25 percent the lines began to deteriorate and one became extinct. Inbreeding
was discontinued; however, because of the small number
of remaining good birds it was not possible to reconstitute or bring
these lines back to normal production. When they were crossed,
the offspring from the crosses showed an increase in production over
the pure lines, but their production was no higher than in randombred
and selected lines. The knowledge gained in this experiment
should prevent small poultry breeders from attempting to inbreed
poultry in this manner and thereby losing money.
Crossbreeding for better chickens
Between 25 and 50 percent of the laying hens in the Northeast are
crossbreds, primarily the result of mating Rhode Island Red males
with Barred Plymouth Rock females. This cross is popular with the
hatcherymen since the resulting female chicks can be distinguished
from the male chicks at a very early age by the difference in color
pattern of the feathers. However, because of the lower production
and viability of the parental females, the chicks are more expensive
to produce than those from reverse crosses. After 5 years of research
the New York (Cornell) station showed that mating Barred Rock
males to Rhode Island Red females produced at least percent more
eggs on the average than mating Rhode Island Red males to Barred
Rock females. Although crossbred chicks showed no advantage in
viability over purebreds, the former grew more rapidly and began to
lay at an earlier age than the latter.
Two new poultry breeds have been developed by the Indiana station.
Systematic crossings were made of one strain of Dark Cornish possessing
excellent breast fleshing with five strains of Barred Rocks, each
excelling in one or more characters, such as feathering, growth rate,
or egg production, and one strain of White Rocks excelling in egg production
and possessing the dominant white plumage. One breed
(barred type) has been released to commercial poultrymen as the
Purdue Bar; the second (white dominant) will be released in 1953.
These new breeds at present excel in both body feathering and fleshing
qualities, are almost as rapid in growth as the best of the commercial
broiler varieties, and will lay somewhat better.
At the Pennsylvania station one family (No. 10) of inbred birds had
such low fertility that few birds were reared. Consistently poor results
were obtained from one particular male of this family, when
mated with his sisters and half-sisters, but high fertility resulted
when this same male was crossed with females of another family (No.
6). Crosses were made between family 10 and family 6 and males
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United States. Office of Experiment Stations. Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1952, book, January 1953; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5990/m1/79/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.