Poultry Breeding Selection and Improvement
Genetic improvement utilizing sound poultry breeding techniques depends on access to genetic variation and effective methods for exploiting this variation. Genetic diversity constitutes a buffer against changes in the environment and is a key in selection and breeding for adaptability and production on a range of environments. Commercial chickens available in much of the world are produced by a relatively small number of breeding organizations. This structure has been effective during the last 50 years in providing superior stocks.
However the extent to which domestication and subsequent selection for particular traits of economic importance have reduced genetic variability in commercial poultry is not known. An overview of the genetic changes achieved in layer chickens that have been made, the current status of genetic diversity is examined and the potentialities of the new technologies evaluated.
Backyard poultry compared to commercial poultry, are much more diversified as the genetic pool is higher across the country and the world. Breeds that have not been bred in sufficient numbers however, may be endangered and can suffer from a low genetic pool.
General Poultry Breeding Goals
All breeding plans for commercial breeding companies have one major objective in common: to increase the genetic potential of the stock to produce a maximum of sale-able, high quality products at minimum cost in a given production system. Breeders of egg-type chickens concentrate on four major objectives:
* Low mortality and high adaptability to different environments
* maximum number of sale-able eggs per hen housed
* low feed cost per egg or per kg egg mass
* optimal external and internal egg quality