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Influence of size and asymmetry of sexual characters in the rooster and hen on the number of eggs laid

By B. Forkman, S. Corr

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Abstract

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.

Date 1996
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 49
Issue 3
Pages 285-291
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Language English
Author Address Roslin Institute, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9PS, UK.
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Tags
  1. Animal fighting
  2. Animal reproduction
  3. Asymmetry
  4. Birds
  5. British Isles
  6. Chickens
  7. Commonwealth of Nations
  8. Developed countries
  9. Egg production
  10. Eggs
  11. Europe
  12. Fertilization
  13. Fowls
  14. Great Britain
  15. morphology
  16. OECD countries
  17. peer-reviewed
  18. Poultry
  19. Sexual selection
  20. size
  21. United Kingdom
  22. wattles
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  1. peer-reviewed