Effects of Maternal Factors on Day-old Chick Body Weight and Its Relationship with Weight at Six Weeks of Age in a Commercial Broiler Line

  • Jahanian, Rahman (Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agriculture, Isfahan University of Technology) ;
  • Goudarzi, Farshad (Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agriculture, Isfahan University of Technology)
  • Received : 2009.06.07
  • Accepted : 2009.08.03
  • Published : 2010.03.01


The present study aimed to investigate the effects of maternal factors on body weight at hatching (day-old) and at six weeks of age in a commercial broiler line. A total of 6,765 records on body weight at day-old (BWTDO) and 115,421 records on body weight at six weeks of age (BWT6W), originated from a commercial broiler line during 14 generations, were used to estimate genetic parameters related to the effects of maternal traits on body weight of chicks immediately after hatch or six weeks thereafter. The data were analyzed using restricted maximum likelihood procedure (REML) and an animal model with DFREML software. Direct heritability ($h^{2}{_a}$), maternal heritability ($h^{2}{_m}$), and maternal environmental variance as the proportions of phenotypic variance ($c^{2}$) for body weight at day-old were estimated to be 0.050, 0.351, and 0.173, respectively. The respective estimated values for body weight at six weeks of age were 0.340, 0.022, and 0.030. The correlation coefficient between direct and maternal genetic effects for six-week-old body weight was found to be -0.335. Covariance components and genetic correlations were estimated using a bivariate analysis based on the best model determined by a univariate analysis. Between weights at hatching and at six week-old, the values of -0.07, 0.53 and 0.47 were found for the direct additive genetic variance, maternal additive genetic variance and permanent maternal environmental variance, respectively. The estimated correlation between direct additive genetic effect influencing weight at hatch and direct additive maternal effect affecting weight at six weeks of age was -0.21, whereas the correlation value of 0.15 was estimated between direct additive maternal effect influencing weight at hatch and direct additive genetic effect affecting weight at six-week-old. From the present findings, it can be concluded that the maternal additive genetic effect observed for weight at six weeks of age might be a factor transferred from genes influencing weight at hatch to weight at six-week-old.


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