Wed. Sep 23rd, 2020

Supporting Farmers

How to improve chicken breed by cocks exchange

3 min read

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High quality egg laying birds are a wish for many farmers as they can fetch more money at the market both for the eggs, meat and manure from the droppings.
In line with the above I have written this article to ensure when working on improving your flock  breed  by exchanging birds that you do it the right way.
Exchange
In  this  type of strategy  a flock of indigenous  local hens  laying 50 eggs a year and beginning to lay at 25 weeks of age, crossed with “improved breed” cockerels, which have a genetic breed potential of 250 eggs a year, with hens beginning to lay at 21 weeks.
The results are cross-bred hybrid pullets beginning to lay at 24 weeks, with a genetic potential of laying 200 eggs per year.
The first generation hybrid cross-breed has a higher theoretical genetic potential (genotype) than the average (150) of the two parent breeds, due to the effect of hybrid vigour.
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Poultry production systems
However, unless management (especially in the area of nutrition) is improved, this genetic potential will not be realized by the hybrid cross-breed in actual practice in the environment.
If subsequent generations of the hybrid cross-bred pullets are mated (back-crossed) again with the same “improved breed” cockerel, the genetic potential for increased production is raised, although at a slower rate (as hybrid vigour only works with first-time crossing).
With each generation, higher levels of management (including the provision of properly balanced feeds) are required to achieve this potential.
If the hybrid cross-breeds mate among themselves, however, potential production falls in the very next generation to the average potential of the two original genotypes, even if management could support the higher hybrid level.
The use of cockerels in this way is the basis for the Cock or Cockerel Exchange Programme (CEP) or Opération Coq, which has been implemented in almost all tropical countries. Households exchange all their local cockerels for a few improved cockerels, which are then raised to maturity to allow them to adapt to local conditions.
Eggs or pullet exchange
In some cases, a Pullet Exchange or Hybrid Hatchable Eggs Programme is used. These approaches were used extensively from the early 1930s until the 1960s, by which time urban development had begun to give rise to peri-urban, intensive, small- to medium-scale poultry production, which makes use of imported commercial breeds and technology.
The gradual replacement of local genes through cross-breeding and artificial selection has been the basis of initial development in many countries .
Although many strategies  deemed appropriate for smallholder poultry production systems have been implemented, most have not succeeded, due to a lack of management input to support the improved potential.
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