Parental assignment in geese: efficient selection, respectful of animal welfare

Partenaire(s) : Grimaud Frères
Filière(s) : Autres volailles

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The selection of palmipeds, meat pigeons and hatching are Grimaud Frères core business. Its expertise as a goose breeder is recognised, in particular through the award and regular renewal of the approval of the SYSAAF (French Poultry and Aquaculture Breeders’ Union), which validates its best practices. Selecting animals to meet the requirements of breeders and consumers means exploiting individual variability and optimising mating plans to maximise the natural potential of the animals.

A selection database is thus constituted of pedigree animals, i.e. whose genealogy and ancestry are controlled for each animal. The various characteristics (growth, consumption index, meat yield, reproduction, etc.) of each animal are measured regularly and accurately. To work under conditions that are as close as possible to commercial farms, Grimaud Frères has chosen to raise and breed its geese in groups on the ground.

The breeding birds are kept in collective pens on litter. No cages, no insemination or nesting trap (a nest that closes once the female is inside enabling the egg and female to be connected). This farming practice leaves room for gregarious and social behaviour with natural parades and mating. The animals are free to express their natural behaviour. Determination of the genealogy is achieved through parental assignment. This method is based on a simple principle. Every breeding animal passes on half of its genetic heritage to its progeny. The analysis of genetic markers shared between parents and goslings allows the relationship to be traced.

Grimaud Frères, a pioneer in the development of the existing panel and the development of this geese breeding method, recently launched a new phase of development. Research has thus led to the identification of new markers within the goose species: SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism). It is a variation that is unique to a set of genome positions, allowing individuals to be distinguished from one another, because these variations are specific to each individual. While the genome and markers were already available for species such as cattle or chickens, this was not yet the case for geese.

The accessibility of these new molecular markers and the analysis of genotyping have significantly improved the efficiency of this method with more than 95% of goslings assigned. This opens up new possibilities for selection with innovative characteristics to meet customer requirements… Increasing the power of assignment will mean, for example, allowing the best breeding animals to be identified even more accurately so that they can pass on their entire potential to their descendants. Improved accuracy also enables optimal management of the diversity of the genetic origins, ensuring robustness and adaptability to different environments.

With the development and exploitation of parental assignment through SNP, Grimaud Frères combines animal welfare with efficient selection.

Grimaud Frères is already applying this method in its different selection programmes. This improvement is thus proposed through three differentiating products on the goose market: the G35 medium white goose, the G35 heavy white goose, and the G36 grey goose, respect for our animals and predisposition to performance motivating our everyday selection.

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