Genetic differences of Ascaridia galli egg output in laying hens following a single dose infection
MetadataShow full item record
Groups of 20-week-old white (Lohmann LSL) and brown (Lohmann Brown) hens were reared under helminth-free conditions and both divided into two subgroups. One subgroup was artificially infected with 250 embryonated Ascaridia galli eggs, the other subgroup were kept as uninfected controls. During the following 12-month laying period individual faecal Ascaridia egg counts (FEC) were performed and bodyweight measured at monthly intervals. Laying performance and egg weights were determined daily. The mean FEC were significantly (P < 0.01) higher in infected white hens than in infected brown hens. The growth rate of the white hens was significantly (P < 0.05) higher in the control group, whereas in brown hens no significant group difference was observed. The laying performances and egg weights did not differ significantly (P > 0.05) between control and infected animals for either line. The estimated repeatabilities for mean log(10) FEC of different samples were reasonably high (0.16-0.54). Heritabilities for mean log(10) FEC were between 0.13 and 0.19 for white hens and between 0.0 and 0.10 for brown hens. Thus, it should be possible to select for A. galli resistance in chickens, which will be of importance for birds kept in alternative and organic farming systems.