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Poult Sci. 2012 Nov;91(11):2942-8. doi: 10.3382/ps.2012-02414.

Strain and sex effects on growth performance and carcass traits of contemporary commercial broiler crosses.

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Department of Poultry Science, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.


In total, 3,840 sexed birds from 6 commercial cross broiler strains (4 male and 3 female) were raised and processed to analyze the effect of strain and sex on growth performance and carcass traits. Chicks from M1 × F1, M2 × F1, M3 × F1, M4 × F1, M3 × F2, and M4 × F3 crosses were sexed. Fifty female and 40 male chicks were randomly allocated to 24 floor pens (119 × 300 cm) covered with pine shavings in each of 4 rooms. The FCR was adjusted for the weight of dead birds (AFCR). Four birds/pen were processed at 7 wk of age. Carcasses were deboned after 2 h of chilling (n = 32 birds per treatment). There were significant strain by sex interactions for BW gain from 0 to 21 and 0 to 48 d. Strain differences in growth rate and mortality increased with age. The cross with the fastest growth rate also had the highest mortality. Because of differences in mortality and carcass yields, birds with the fastest growth (0-48 d) did not produce the most salable meat. Both the heaviest live BW per bird at 48 d (3.45 kg) and highest mortality (13.40%) were observed with the M4 × F3 cross. However, the heaviest live BW per 1,000 chicks placed was from the M3 × F2 cross (3,107 kg). The highest chilled carcass yield was from the M3 × F2 cross (76.05% of live BW) as was the highest meat yield (2,364 kg per 1,000 chicks placed) and highest pectoralis meat yield (805 kg per 1,000 chicks placed). The M3 × F2 cross produced the most total white meat (1,058 kg per 1,000 chicks placed), but interestingly the slowest-growing strain (M1 × F1) produced more white meat (breast + tenders + wings) than did the fastest-growing M4 × F3 strain (980 kg vs. 1,002 kg per 1,000 chicks placed). These results demonstrate the complexity of choosing between commercial strain crosses. The most profitable choice will be dependent on whether whole birds or parts are marketed and the relative values of the parts.

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