Exploring new selection technologies

Partner(s): Grimaud Frères
Industry(ies): Duck | Other poultry

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For many years, Grimaud Frères has been betting on the use of innovative technologies to serve its breeding programmes for waterfowls and pigeons.

The installation of several hundred RFID-fitted feeders on selection sites, which detect the animal every time it visits the feeder, has already enabled significant genetic progress in animal feed efficiency, thereby paving the way for the exploration of individual eating behaviour in field conditions.

The acquisition and development of the routine use of a medical scanner also required a lot of work. Each animal has by now been through the scanner, and the images obtained allow for the reconstruction of the bird in 3D, including all its tissues, muscles, bones, and internal organs. With such precision, the genetic improvement in meat yield is hugely increased.

Even more innovative approaches are also currently in development at Grimaud Frères; for example, the development of sensors allowing the geolocation of each animal at any moment. This highly advanced technology allows for animals to be distinguished from one another based on general behavioural criteria, such as distances covered or movement speed. The idea is to provide the means to select the animals which are the most docile and best suited to their environment.

This is why the development of advanced technologies is part of our R&D programmes, and we combine all of these methods in order to enhance the effectiveness of the programmes while maintaining Animal Welfare and the genetic diversity of livestock. Now, the future lies in the genomic selection of ducks, which began this year and will help bolster all of the progress achieved so far. The principle consists in identifying the markers present in the genome for each individual, following DNA sampling, and to link these to expected performance; this will once again avoid performing numerous procedures on the animals and will improve the accuracy of the information.

Finally, in ovo sexing, which consists of the early determination of each bird’s sex in the egg, will prevent the destruction of unsold animals.

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