Male and Female Fertility and Hatchability in Chickens: A Longitudinal Mixed Model Approach

Sapp, R. L.; Rekaya, R.; Misztal, I.; Wing, T.
August 2004
Poultry Science;Aug2004, Vol. 83 Issue 8, p1253
Academic Journal
The objective of the current study was to investigate different approaches for handling missing records and to develop and implement a multivariate longitudinal mixed model for the genetic evaluation of male and female fertility and hatchability in chickens. The traits recorded on a weekly basis were eggs set (E), percentage fertility (F), and percentage hatch of fertile eggs (H). Three approaches for handling missing records were investigated: 1) all records with zero weekly laid eggs were removed and remaining records with missing F and H were predicted (M1); 2) missing records, including zero weekly laid eggs, were assumed known and equal to zero (M2); and 3) zero weekly laid eggs were assumed as a valid record and missing F and H were predicted (M3). A longitudinal mixed model was used for the multiple trait analysis of E, F, and H. Fixed effects included weekflock, age of service sire (rooster in the pen at data collection), and age of hen. Unrelated service sire, additive hen, permanent environmental, and the residual term were included as random effects. Heritability estimates ranged from 0.06 to 0.13 for E, F, and H. Heritability estimates of F and H were overestimated using M2. Correlations among the 3 traits were highest using M2 and lowest using M1. Pearson correlations indicated that reranking of birds and service sires could occur when using M1. Therefore, M1 should not be used for the analysis of longitudinal data of fertility and hatchability in chickens. Furthermore, M3 seems to be the most ideal method for handling missing records.


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