Breeding perfromance in the Italian chicken breed Mericanel della Brianza

Cerolini, Silvia; Madeddu, Manuela; Zaniboni, Luisa; Cassinelli, Chiara; Mangiagalli, Maria G.; Marelli2, Stefano P.
October 2010
Italian Journal of Animal Science;Oct2010, Vol. 9 Issue 4, p382
Academic Journal
In Italy, 90 local avian breeds were described; the majority (61%) were classified as extinct and only 8.9% as still widely spread. Therefore, efforts for conservation of Italian avian breeds are urgently required. The aim of this study was to record the breeding performance of the Italian breed Mericanel della Brianza to multiply a small population, in order to develop a conservation programme. Fourteen females and eight males were available at the beginning of the reproductive season in 2009 and organised into eight families (1 male/1-2 females) kept in floor pens. Birds received a photoperiod of 14L:10D and were fed ad libitum. Breeding performance was recorded from March to June. Egg production and egg weight were recorded daily; eggs were set every two weeks and fertility, embryo mortality and hatchability were recorded. Mean egg production was 37% and mean egg weight was 34±3.49 g. High fertility values from 94% to 87% were recorded in the first three settings and the overall mean fertility value was 81.6%. Overall hatchability was only 49.6% owing to a high proportion of dead embryos. Embryo mortality occurred mainly between days 2 and 7 of incubation and during hatching. The highest hatchability values were recorded in settings 1 and 2, 69% and 60% respectively, and a large decrease was found in the subsequent settings. Marked variations in egg production, fertility, hatchability and embryo mortality were found among families. The present results represent the basic know - ledge of reproductive parameters necessary to improve the reproductive efficiency of the breed within a conservation plan.


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