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NOVOGEN Breeds are Selected on their Behaviour

26 July 2016
Groupe Grimaud

NOVOGEN's breeding programme with collective housing systems allows to take into consideration the birds behaviour. The target is to select calm birds with a good nesting behaviour.

A unique and innovative breeding programme

At 17 weeks, the pedigree hens are transferred in two complementary housing systems: one in colony cages (group of 5 sisters) and another one in a RFID floor system.

The colony cages allow in particular to select individual families on their pecking behaviour whereas the RFID floor system brings information on nesting behaviour.

In these two systems, production and egg quality traits are also measured. "At 60 weeks, only 30 per cent of the best birds are kept in our breeding programme," explained Thierry Burlot, R&D Director.

Between 60 and 90 weeks, selected hens are transferred in individual cages where selection on individual traits is more intense (laying persistency, egg quality, etc...). At the end of this stage, the progeny of the best hens is used to renew the next pedigree generation.

Selection in floor system with RFID technology

After two years of testing with radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, NOVOGEN has invested in 2015 in a new floor system selection farm.

This innovative technology enables to collect individual information within a group in conditions closer to field conditions. This information allows to select on new traits which were not used so far.

Some of them are particularly interesting for alternative systems. For instance, big variations of time spent inside the nest (10 to 45 min) are observed and are strongly linked to the individual and family.

The technology also allows to know the interval between two ovipositions, time of lay and to identify hens which are not laying in the nest. Another important benefit is to correlate this information to the egg quality.

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