Genetic advances in Pekin ducks: between precocity, performance and viability
With the idea of further reducing production costs, the world market for Pekin broiler ducks is moving increasingly toward a younger and younger slaughter date, with the challenge of always optimising the main production performances (target weight, net yield and feed efficiency).
Grimaud Frères adapts to meet the conflicting expectations between precocity and performance. Each year, it ensures that all the selection criteria measured on its lines are as representative as possible of market expectations.
For live weight, for example, selection animals are weighed at an increasingly young age to identify the best candidates for early weight gain. The first weighing is currently at 14 days of age.
The RFID-controlled feed consumption measurement periods were also shifted to younger measurement ages. To ensure accuracy, the RFID feeders were updated to accommodate smaller animal sizes. It is now possible to monitor the food consumption and behaviour of birds from the age of 10 days.
The algorithms applied to the images generated by the scanner have also been updated to reflect this search for precocity. This makes it possible to reliably measure meat yields in animals as young as 38 days old.
All these efforts enable Grimaud Frères to select, with precision, increasingly precocious animals that simultaneously meet the expectations of weight, meat yield and feed efficiency. Based on selection strategies specific to broiler chickens, it is very likely that future gains in precocity will still be significant in Pekin broiler ducks.
This strong selection based on precocity is a constraint on other characteristics, Grimaud Frères is redoubling its efforts to integrate in its selection programmes all the criteria for monitoring the state of health of the birds (viability, quality of stance, footpad dermatitis, bone density, posture, etc.), quality of the meat (fat content) or resistance to diseases.
Grimaud Frères is proud to present you with its new products resulting from its fine-tuned selection of performance, precocity and viability.