Genetic parameter estimates (full sib and half sib analysis) of fertility and hatchability in two strains of Rhode Island chickens
A study was conducted to estimate the genetic parameters of fertility and hatchability in two strains of Rhode Island Red (RIR) Chickens denoted as Strain A and Strain B respectively using the full-sib (sire +dam variance) and maternal half-sib (dam variance) components. The birds were obtained from the selected populations of RIR Chickens kept at the poultry breeding programme of National Animal Production Research Institute, Shika, Zaria, Nigeria. Settable eggs were collected from mating 28 cocks to 252 hens in a ratio of 1cock:9 hens from each strain. Eggs were pedigreed according to sire and dam. Results showed that values obtained for number of egg set (EGGSET), number of fertile eggs (NFERT), number of hatched chicks (NHATCH), percentage of chicks hatched from total eggs set (PHATCH) and percentage of chicks hatched from fertile eggs (PHATCHBL) were all higher in strain A than strain B. Heritability estimates obtained from the full-sib and maternal half-sib analysis ranged from medium to high for the two strains (0.24-0.96). The maternal half sib estimates were higher (0.40-0.96) than the estimates obtained from full sibs (0.24- 0.48). Genetic and phenotypic correlations obtained for both strains were positive and similar regardless of method of estimation. Genetic correlations between EGGSET and PFERT were low in strain A using both full-sib and maternal half-sib analyses (0.09-0.14). Phenotypic correlations between EGGSET and PFERT, PHATCH and PHATCHBL were also low in both strains and regardless of method of analyses. Moderate to high heritability estimates suggest that genetic improvement can be obtained by selection of these reproductive traits. The full-sib analysis for estimating heritability will be preferred since it is assumed that only additive genetic variance contributes to the covariance between family members.
Keywords: Rhode Island Red Chickens, genetic parameters, fertility, hatchability