The effects of asymmetry and size of secondary sexual characters of 127 hens and 32 cocks on egg laying was studied in a relaxed selection line of Brown Leghorn fowls that had a relatively low level of egg production (approximately 0.6-0.8 eggs/day). Each hen spent 24 h/week with the cocks; there were 4 females per cock. There was a significant effect of wattle asymmetry of cocks on the number of eggs laid by hens mated with them; hens mated with males with symmetrical wattles laid more eggs in total (rs = 0.50, P = 0.003, Spearman rank correlation). Hens mated with cocks with larger wattles laid fewer fertilized eggs (rs = -0.40, P = 0.02). No effect was found for asymmetry of cock wattles on total egg production (rs = 0.10, P = 0.36) or number of fertilized eggs (r s = 0.020, P = 0.85). The results indicated that secondary sexual factors might be important in affecting egg production of fowls.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||Roslin Institute, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9PS, UK.|
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