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Genetic parameters were estimated for egg defects, egg production, and egg quality traits. Eggs from 11,738 purebred brown-egg laying hens were classified as salable or as having one of the following defects: bloody, broken, calcium deposit, dirty, double yolk, misshapen, pee-wee, shell-less, and soft shelled. Egg quality included albumen height, egg weight, yolk weight, and puncture score. Body weight, age at sexual maturity, and egg production were also recorded. Heritability estimates of liability to defects using a threshold animal model were less than 0.1 for bloody and dirty; between 0.1 and 0.2 for pee-wee, broken, misshapen, soft shelled, and shell-less; and above 0.2 for calcium deposit and double yolk. Quality and production traits were more heritable, with estimates ranging from 0.29 (puncture score) to 0.74 (egg weight). High-producing hens had a lower frequency of egg defects. High egg weight and BW were associated with an increased frequency of double yolks, and to a lesser extent, with more shell quality defects. Estimates of genetic correlations among defect traits that were related to shell quality were positive and moderate to strong (0.24–0.73), suggesting that these could be grouped into one category or selection could be based on the trait with the highest heritability or that is easiest to measure. Selection against defective eggs would be more efficient by including egg defect traits in the selection criterion, along with egg production rate of salable eggs and egg quality traits.
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Poultry Science Association Inc.
Wolc, Anna; Arango, J.; Settar, P.; O'Sullivan, N. P.; Olori, V. E.; White, I. M. S.; Hill, W. G.; and Dekkers, Jack C. M., "Genetic parameters of egg defects and egg quality in layer chickens" (2012). Animal Science Publications. 655.