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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effect of ’rc’ mutation on the performance of chickens under different densities and flock sizes Ali, Ahmed


The impact of visual contact or the lack of it on egg production was investigated by utilizing genetically blind chickens in a factorial experiment involving two genotypes (blind vs sighted), two densities (1000cm² per bird vs 2000cm² per bird), two flock sizes, and two replications. Parameters measured were: number of eggs collected, egg weight, amount of feed taken from feed trough, body weight gain, fertility of eggs, feather pecking and comb damage scores, leukocyte count, plasma corticosterone level and adrenal gland weight. During the two-month experimental period, blind hens produced 12.7% more eggs while requiring 44.lg less feed per bird per day compared to normal hens. There was no significant difference in body weight gained between the two genotypes. Thus blind hens had better feed efficiency compared to normal hens. Significant genotype x flock size and genotype x density interactions also indicated that the performance of the blind chickens was less sensitive to densities and flock sizes compared with normal chickens. Other parameters measured provided evidence that the blind chickens were less active socially, and had better feather coverage during the experimental period. These parameters also provided circumstantial evidence that the blind chickens were under less stress than normal ones. It is therefore concluded that the blind chickens had less energy requirement for activities other than egg production. Results from this experiment indicate that the genetically blind chicken not only has good potential as an experimental animal but also may have some commercial value.

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