University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Heritability of Embryonic Mortalities in Ostrich Eggs and Factors Affecting Hatching Failure of Fertile Eggs During Artificial Incubation.

Brand, Z., Cloete, S.W.P., Malecki, I.A. and Brown, Chris (2012) Heritability of Embryonic Mortalities in Ostrich Eggs and Factors Affecting Hatching Failure of Fertile Eggs During Artificial Incubation. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 52 (9). pp. 806-812. ISSN 1836-0939

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The high rate of embryonic mortality during artificial incubation of ostrich eggs is a major concern in the ostrich industry. Data from 48 126 individual egg records were available to derive genetic parameters for embryonic mortalities, modelled as a trait of the individual egg. Embryonic mortality was classified according to stage of death, i.e. early embryonic mortality that occurred before 21 days of incubation (EEM), late embryonic mortality that occurred after 21 days of incubation (LEM) and overall embryonic mortalities (OEM). LEM increased significantly for eggs laid by females >10 years old. Transfer of eggs between incubators during incubation also impaired hatchability. An increase in OEM occurred for eggs freshly set (43%) as well as for eggs stored for more than 6 days (50%). Medium heritability (h2) estimates were derived for all the embryonic death traits and ranged between 0.16 ± 0.02 for LEM and 0.22 ± 0.03 for EEM. The dam permanent environmental effect was low ranging between 0.021 ± 0.005 for LEM and 0.046 ± 0.008 for EEM. Hatchability of fertile ostrich eggs may consequently be improved by removing older females from breeding flocks, setting of eggs between 2 and 6 days after collection, and by refraining to transfer of eggs between incubators during incubation. Moderate h2 estimates indicate that breeding may be used as a tool to enhance chick production in ostriches. This contention is supported by the fact that selected breeding for chick production and liveweight appeared to result in genetic changes in embryonic mortality rates.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: embryonic mortality, ostrich eggs, artificial incubation, hatchability, SERG
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Chris Brown
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2012 14:28
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2020 14:00

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