Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 44, Issue 7, pp 1437–1443 | Cite as

Estimation of genetic parameters for body weight and egg production traits in Mazandaran native chicken

  • Shahram NiknafsEmail author
  • Ardeshir Nejati-Javaremi
  • Hassan Mehrabani-Yeganeh
  • Seyed Abolghasem Fatemi
Original Research


Native chicken breeding station of Mazandaran was established in 1988 with two main objectives: genetic improvement through selection programs and dissemination of indigenous Mazandarani birds. (Co)variance components and genetic parameters for economically important traits were estimated using (bi) univariate animal models with ASREML procedure in Mazandarani native chicken. The data were from 18 generations of selection (1988–2009). Heritability estimates for body weight at different ages [at hatch (bw1), 8 (bw8), 12 (bw12) weeks of ages and sex maturation (wsm)] ranged from 0.24 ± 0.00 to 0.47 ± 0.01. Heritability for reproductive traits including age at sex maturation (asm); egg number (en); weight of first egg (ew1); average egg weight at 28 (ew28), 30 (ew30), and 32 (ew32) weeks of age; their averages (av); average egg weight for the first 12 weeks of production (ew12); egg mass (em); and egg intensity (eint) varied from 0.16 ± 0.01 to 0.43 ± 0.01. Generally, the magnitudes of heritability for the investigated traits were moderate. However, egg production traits showed smaller heritability compared with growth traits. Genetic correlations among egg weight at different ages were mostly higher than 0.8. On the one hand, body weight at different ages showed positive and relatively moderate genetic correlations with egg weight traits (ew1, ew28, ew30, ew32, ew12, and av) and varied from 0.30 ± 0.03 to 0.59 ± 0.02. On the other hand, low negative genetic correlations were obtained between body weight traits (bw1, bw8, bw12, and wsm) and egg number (en). Also, there is low negative genetic correlation (−24 ± 0.04 to −29 ± 0.05) between egg number and egg weight. Therefore, during simultaneous selection process for both growth and egg production traits, probable reduction in egg production due to low reduction in egg number may be compensated by increases in egg weight.


Heritability Genetic correlation Chicken Economic traits 



We sincerely thank the farm attendants who worked on data collection at the breeding station of Mazandaran native chicken. Thanks are also extended to two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on a previous version of this manuscript.


  1. Abdallah, A. G., Harms, R. H. and Russell, G. B., 1995. Effect of age and resting on hens laying eggs with heavy or light shell weight, Journal of Applied Poultry Research, 4, 131–137Google Scholar
  2. Ayyagari, V. S. C., Mohapatra, A., Venkatramaiah, T., Thiagasundaram, D., Choudhuri, D. C., Johri, D. and Renganathan, P., 1980. Selection for egg production on part records, Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 57, 277–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Besbes, B., Ducrocq, V., Foulley, J. L., Protais, M., Tavernier, A., Tixier-Boichard, M. and Beaumont, C., 1992. Estimation of genetic parameters of egg production traits of laying hens by restricted maximum likelihood applied to a multiple-trait reduced animal model. Genetic Selection Evolution, 24, 539–552CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Dana, N., Vander Waaij, E. and Van Arendonk, J., 2011. Genetic and phenotypic parameter estimates for body weights and egg production in Horro chicken of Ethiopia, Tropical Animal Health and Production, 43, 21–28PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Danbaro, G., Oyama, K., Mukai, F., Tsuji, S. and Miyata, T., 1996. Estimation of genetic parameters by restricted maximum likelihood under multi-trait animal models in selected layer lines, Japanese Journal of Poultry Science, 33, 185–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Enayati, B. and Rahimi,G., 2009. Genomic growth hormone, growth hormone receptor and transforming growth factor β-3 gene polymorphism in breeder hens of Mazandaran native fowls, African Journal of Biotechnology, 8, 3154–3159Google Scholar
  7. Engström, G., Liljedahl, L. E., Wilhelmson, M. and Johansson, K., 1992. The pattern of genetic and environmental variation in relation to ageing in laying hens, Genetic selection evolution, 24, 265–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fairful, R. W. and Gowe, R. S., 1990. Poultry Breeding and Genetics, (Elsevier Science, Amsterdam)Google Scholar
  9. Falconer, D. S. and Mckay, T. F. C., 1996. Introduction to Quantitative Genetics, (Longman Group, Essex, UK)Google Scholar
  10. Francesch, A., Estany, J., Alfonso, L. and Iglesias, M., 1997. Genetic parameters for egg number, egg weight, and eggshell color in three Catalan poultry breeds, Journal of Poultry Science, 76, 1627–1631Google Scholar
  11. Ghazikhani Shad, A., Nejati Javaremi, A., Mehrabani Yeganeh, H., 2007. Animal model estimation of genetic parameters for most important economic traits in Iranian native fowls, Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 10, 2787–2789PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gilmour, A. R., Gogel, B. J., Cullis, B. R. and Thompson, R., 2006. ASReml User Guide (NSW Department of Primary Industries, Australia)Google Scholar
  13. Henderson, C. R., 1986. Recent developments in variance and covariance estimations. Journal of Animal Science, 63, 208–216Google Scholar
  14. Hicks, C., Muir, W. M. and Stick, D. A., 1998. Selection index updating for maximizing rate of annual genetic gain in laying hens, Journal of Poultry Science, 77, 1–7Google Scholar
  15. Hoffmann, I., 2005. Research and investment in poultry genetic resources-challenges and option for sustainable use. World’s Poultry Science Journal, 61, 57–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kamali, M. A., Ghorbani, S. H., Sharbabak, M. M. and Zamiri, M. J., 2007. Heritabilities and genetic correlations of economic traits in Iranian native fowl and estimated genetic trend and inbreeding coefficients, British Poultry Science, 48, 443–448PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Khadem, A., Hafezian, H. and Rahimi-Mianji, G., 2010. Association of single nucleotide polymorphisms in IGFI, IGF-II and IGFBP-II with production traits in breeder hens of Mazandaran native fowls breeding station, African Journal of Biotechnology, 9, 805–810Google Scholar
  18. Kianimanesh, H. R; Nejati Javaremi, A; Rahimi, G., 2002. Estimation of economic indices for important production traits of the Iranian native fowls, First seminar on genetics and breeding applied to livestock, Tehran, IranGoogle Scholar
  19. Ledur, M. C., Fairfull, R. W., McMillan, I. and Asseltine, L., 2000. Genetic effects of aging on egg production traits in the first laying cycle of White Leghorn strains and strain crosses, Journal of Poultry Science, 79, 296–304Google Scholar
  20. Ledur, M. C., Liljedahl, L. E., McMillan, I., Asselstine, L. and Fairfull, R. W., 2003. Genetic effects of aging on fitness and nonfitness traits in laying hens housed three per cage, Journal of Poultry Science, 82,1223-1234Google Scholar
  21. Lwelamira, J., Kifaro, G. and Gwakisa, P., 2009. Genetic parameters for body weights, egg traits and antibody response against Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV) vaccine among two Tanzania chicken ecotypes, Tropical Animal Health and Production, 41, 51–59PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Minga, U., Msoffe, P. L. and Gwakisa, P. S., 2004. Biodiversity (variation) in disease resistance and in pathogens within rural chicken, World Poultry Congress, IstanbulGoogle Scholar
  23. Norris, D. and Ngambi, J., 2006. Genetic parameter estimates for body weight in local Venda chickens. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 38, 605–609PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Poggenpoel, D. G., Ferreira, G. F., Hayes, J. P. and Preez, J. J. d., 1996. Response to long-term selection for egg production in laying hens, British Poultry Science, 37, 743–756PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sabri, H. M., Wilson, H. R., Harms, R. H. and Wilcox, C. J., 1999. Genetic parameters for egg and related characteristics of white Leghorn hens in a subtropical environment, Genetics and Molecular Biology, 22, 183–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sang, B. D., Kong, H. S., Kim, H. K., Cho, C. H., Kim, D., Cho, Y. M., Sang, B. C., Lee, J. H., Jeon, G. J. and Lee, H. K., 2006. Estimation of genetic parameters for economic traits in Korean native chickens, Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences, 19, 319–323Google Scholar
  27. Sharma, D., Johari, D. C., Kataria, M. C., Singh, B. P., Singh, D. P. and Hazary, R. C., 1996. Effect of long term selection on genetics of economic traits in white leghorn, Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences, 9, 455–459Google Scholar
  28. Wolk, A. and Szwaczkowski, K., 2009. Estimation of genetic parameters for monthly egg production in laying hens based on random regression models, Journal of Applied Genetics, 50, 41–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shahram Niknafs
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ardeshir Nejati-Javaremi
    • 1
  • Hassan Mehrabani-Yeganeh
    • 1
  • Seyed Abolghasem Fatemi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture & Natural ResourcesUniversity of TehranKarajIran

Personalised recommendations