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Geneticist predicts 500 eggs in 100 weeks!

01-Nov-2011

Dutch Geneticist Frans Van Sambeek has startled the poultry world by predicting that their breeds will soon be capable of depletion at up to 100 weeks old by which time they will have laid 500 eggs. Frans, who is Director of Layer Breeding at Hendrix Genetics says this means that the flock will need to average 86% production!

The economic case for this type of production cycle is quite straightforward. It extends the laying life of commercial hens, making better use of layer house facilities and reducing the financial impact and down time involved in replacing pullets.

The main question for a breeding company such as Hendrix Genetics is whether there are lines or individual birds in the foundation gene pool with these characteristics?

The answer to this question is definitely "yes".

Data from Pure Line flocks hatched in 2008 and 2009 have already been kept to 100 weeks.  They show that different breeding lines varied from less than 5% up to 60% of individual birds achieving 500 eggs by 100 weeks of age.

The single most productive bird laid 571 eggs, or a rate of 98% from 18 to 100 weeks. Remember that these birds are in single bird cages in a disease free environment under the best conditions possible. However it shows what is genetically possible and that a target of 500 eggs in 100 weeks is achievable.

In the future the egg production per hen housed will go up considerably, not just by a higher average laying percentage but by especially running significantly longer laying cycles.


Better eggs and lower mortality

Many years of high selection pressure have already resulted in reduced end of lay egg weight, egg shell and interior quality. These vital elements will be constantly improved to keep pace with the increased production cycle length. Hendrix Genetics has the systems and resources in place to continually improve these traits, in a balanced way, for different players in the egg value chain. Better still, selecting for production to 100 weeks old also automatically selects for reduced mortality.