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Chickens Have Choices Too

by 5m Editor
14 June 2005, at 12:00am

OMAHA - Researchers at the University of Alberta have discovered that chickens raised for meat can choose whether or not they&#39;ll funnel the nutrients they eat towards themselves or their eggs. That phenomenon of &#39;reproductive attitude&#39; is a headache for producers who must figure out how to deal with less productive hens that &quot;partition&quot; nutrients needed for egg production into their own bodies. &quot;They like to be a little bit more selfish with their nutrients, and continue growing,&quot; said Dr. Martin Zuidhof, an Alberta Agriculture researcher who is collaborating with the University of Alberta to solve the dilemma. &quot;Some of the broiler breeders (parents of chickens raised for meat) are happy to shift their nutrients from the growth of their bodies to egg production, but some of them don&#39;t do it very willingly. It is not a conscious thing the bird does, but it does express a tendency of that bird to either be generous or to be selfish with its nutrients.&quot; Channelling food into body-building results in lower egg production, chick production and chick quality, said Dr. Frank Robinson, professor of Agricultural Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta. <i>Source: HighPlainsJournals</i>

5m Editor