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Title: Deriving a preliminary breeding objective for commercial ostriches: an overview
Contributor(s): Cloete, SWP (author); Engelbrecht, A (author); Olivier, JJ (author); Bunter, Kim Louise  (author)
Publication Date: 2008
DOI: 10.1071/EA08135
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Abstract: Ostrich farmers rely on skins and meat as their most important sources of revenue, with feathers being of secondary importance. This paper provides a summary of parameter estimates (heritabilities and genetic correlations) estimated from the resource flock held at the Oudtshoorn Research Farm. Traits considered were egg production, chick production, mature liveweight, offspring slaughter weight and skin traits. Feather weight of mature breeding birds was not included, as revenue received for this commodity is comparatively low, and mostly reliant on quality. All the traits considered were moderately to highly heritable, and reproduction traits in particular were highly variable. No substantial unfavourable genetic correlations were noted, and worthwhile gains in all traits appear to be achievable within a selection objective based on economic principles. Economic weights for key traits were obtained from a bio-economical input–output simulation model that was prepared for the industry. A simple preliminary selection index including chick production (as a hen reproductive trait) and slaughter weight (as a measure of growth) appears to be adequate for the present needs, given the limited availability of routinely recorded traits. A key performance trait that is currently missing from the economic assessment is chick survival, which is known to be low and highly variable among ostrich flocks. Further information will be added as it becomes available.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 48(10), p. 1247-1256
Publisher: CSIRO
Place of Publication: Collingwood, Victoria, Australia
ISSN: 1836-0939
Field of Research (FOR): 070201 Animal Breeding
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 830307 Minor Livestock (e.g. Alpacas, Ostriches, Crocodiles, Farmed Rabbits)
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU)
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