I.A. Paronyan and O.P. Yurchenko
Modern poultry production in the USSR is developing on the basis of industrial technologies and two-way specialization, i.e. egg and meat production.
In the socialized sector the average annual egg yield of hens increased from 130 in 1964 to 226 in 1984. In the same period the total egg production grew from 29 to 73 thousand million. Numbers of breeding chickens were 230 912 000 in 1980 as against 174 758 000 in 1975 - an increase of 30%.
For egg production most chickens are three- or four-line crosses based on imported grandparental lines of the following: Shaver - 288, 292, 444, Evribreed -Highsex White, Highsex Brown and others. During the same time the numbers of egg-type Russian White chickens decreased - they were 6.8-fold less in 1980 compared with 1975.
For meat production the prevailing stocks are the four-line crosses Broiler-6 and Broiler-compact-8 which have been formed from Dutch lines of the Evribreed firm. The live weight of 7-week-old broilers is 1.7 kg, with 2.8 kg of feed being consumed per kilogram of gain.
Total fowl meat production was 2.2 million tonnes in 1984, i.e. three times as much as in 1965 (700 000 t). The Food Programme of the USSR envisages production of 3.4-3.6 m t of fowl meat in 1990. Special attention is being paid to the encouragement of fowl breeding on the private plots of collective farmers.
However, industrialization of poultry breeding has led to a drastic reduction in the number of breeds. The majority of them have lost their productive value and are maintained only as a genetic resource in research centres and by amateur breeders.
This chapter describes the local, old and new breeds and populations in the Soviet Union (see Table 13.1). The bulk of them are dual-purpose breeds with a low productivity which are not used by the poultry industry. However, they possess many valuable biological properties - resistance to disease and sharp changes of environmental temperature; high reproductive rate under industrial conditions; high meat palatability.
The lines which are widely used in the poultry industry badly need genetic diversity in the above characteristics. On the basis of local and rare populations in the Soviet Union new breed groups and highly productive lines and crosses are being developed which are adapted to the variety of climatic zones in the country.
Table 13.1 NATIVE CHICKEN BREEDS AND POPULATIONS IN THE USSR
|Breeds and populations||Number (thousands)|
Black Speckled Australorp
This new synthetic population was produced during 1976-84 in the Ail-Union Research Institute of Farm Animal Breeding and Genetics by crossing White Leghorn males of the C line of cross Shaver 288 and hens from an experimental line of Black Speckled Australorps. The sex chromosome of Australorps was replaced by the chromosome of Leghorns. The genes responsible for the colour of Leghorn plumage - I, Sp, w - and their alleles in Australorps - i, sp, W - were used as markers to create genetic diversity in the new line.
The first specimens (n=30) of chickens homozygous for colour genes were produced in 1978 by inter se breeding of white hybrids (F2) having 3/4 of Leghorn inheritance. They had a pronounced dose effect of gene B in the Leghorn sex chromosome. The male chickens (BB spsp) had white plumage with traces of barring and the female chickens (B-spsp) were barred-and-mottled with white down.
In the first stage of breeding the stock of Barred-and-Speckled Leghorns numbered only 200-250 head. The bulk of them were heterozygotes (Ii Spsp and ii Spsp) (n=l 500) with annual egg production of 230 eggs weighing 56-57 g. This was followed by strict selection among females (50% intensity) for egg weight, conformation and maturity of males (selection intensity 10%) by means of crosses between up to 10 lines. Among male chickens the main selection criteria were conformation, weight and quality of eggs of their female parents, and to a much lesser extent the egg production of female parents.
By 1984 the population of Barred-and-Speckled Leghorns reached 900. Of these 419 were kept in individual cages and from them were chosen 117 hens with a 4.5-month production of 111 eggs weighing 61+0.2 g. The selection differential in egg production was 14 eggs and in egg weight 3 g.
The population contains 7 lines and 27 sublines which differ in the frequency of the gene W (White skin).
The absence of pullorum-infected birds in sublines without yellow-legged offspring is worth mentioning. Probably, the male parents of these specimens were homozygous for the gene W. In 12 sublines out of 20, where male parents were heterozygous (Ww), hens with pullorum disease were identified. Selection in the population is being carried out against the recessive gene w (yellow skin).
The Barred-and-Speckled Leghorn is an egg-laying breed but it is a bit too heavy. The live weight of 150-day-old pullets is 1.74 and that of adult hens is 2.0-2.1 kg. The live weight of cocks is 2.5 kg. Age of maturity is 165 days. Annual production is 220 eggs averaging 58 g. Champion layers give 270-290 eggs per year. Egg shell is cream or white; selection is being conducted for cream colour. Fertility of eggs is 90-95% and hatchability 80%. Survival rate of the young up to 150 days of age is 95%; in adults it is 87%.
The characteristic feature of the new population is an excellent carcass appearance. In this trait they are superior to all known breeds of coloured chickens which carry the dominant gene E. Barred-and-Speckled hens, when mated with cocks of the C1C2 male parental form from the cross Hysex white, produce three-line hybrid layers, which are as good as four-way hybrids.
Barred-and-Speckled Leghorns are bred for increased egg production and for combining ability in the cross with male parental lines of White Leghorns.
An experimental population was created at the All-Union Research Institute of Farm Animal Breeding and Genetics by breeding inter se descendants of Black Australorps which had been injected intramuscularly with blood from Barred Plymouth Rocks. The total volume of components injected during 11 months amounted to 330-380 ml per bird. The 1962 experiment resulted in 1093 offspring (F1). Among them were birds in which the juvenile moult produced, instead of black, a partially or completely white plumage. The number of chickens (F1) with depigmentation in groups which received injections of the whole alien blood, plasma, and blood elements was 4 (2.2%), 2 (1.9%) and 1 (0.9%). The control group had no specimens with white plumage.
Mendelian analysis showed that the white colour of the plumage in chickens obtained in this experiment was determined by the effect of the semi-dominant gene De with 40% penetrance in heterozygotes (Dede). The expression of depigmentation varied greatly in individual chickens.
Experimental chickens also showed a considerable variation in the down colour of the embryo. Together with black, which is typical for Australorps, nearly white was observed, with several transitions between the two. Two F5 female chickens produced 33 chicks 7 (21%) of which were white with a small black spot on the back. Assuming that this is a recessive character, the mating of heterozygotes should give 25% of cases. The deviation of the observed number (7) from the theoretically expected (8-9) appeared to be not statistically significant.
Birds with white embryo down were bred inter se and crossed with chickens having other down colour. In 1973-74, over 5000 such chicks were hatched. Their definitive plumage was black with a slight depigmentation. It was confirmed that white colour of the embryo down is inherited as a recessive character in relation to black and that it is controlled by the autosomal gene sp (spot). The gene sp inhibits melanin synthesis in homozygotes not only in various generations of the plumage, but also in the shanks. This improves significantly the appearance of Black Speckled Australorp carcasses (dede spsp), compared to the original breed - Black Australorps (dede SpSp).
Further breeding was conducted with this group and raising of chickens carrying the De allele was discontinued. Birds with white definitive plumage (DeDe SpSp) had eyesight defects accompanied by symptoms of exophthalmos and anexophthalmos.
In breeding Black Speckled Australorps the chief attention was paid to mass selection for lower breeding age and higher egg weight. In 1975-76 their population reached 800-900 head. In 1976 they were joined by males of the C line of cross Shaver 288, in order to produce a new synthetic line. A small number of Black Mottled Australorps, 50 hens and 10 cocks, were transferred to the gene conservation flock, where they were randomly bred with one male to three females. In the breeding season of 1984 their number was 150 hens and 40 cocks.
Black Speckled Australorps are bred for egg production. Plumage is black with small white spots; ear-lobes are red; comb is single. Down is light in colour; shanks are white, somewhat pigmented and not long.
The live weight of 56-day-old pullets is 0.73 and of cockerels 0.88 kg. The live weight of 150-day-old pullets is 1.82 and that of adult hens 2.2 kg. The live weight of cocks is 2.6 kg. Females reach sexual maturity at 162 days of age.
The average annual production of Black Speckled Australorps is 200 eggs weighing 55 g. Egg shells are cream-coloured. Fertility of eggs is 95%, hatchability 80-85%. Survival rate of the young up to 150 days is 95%; that of adults is 90%.
The birds are well adapted to battery keeping either individually or in groups. Another feature is a high resistance to pullorum disease. They are important as carriers of the recessive sp gene, which is responsible for the light colour of the plumage and a better appearance of carcasses. Introduction of this gene into populations having the dominant E gene would contribute to their wide utilization by the poultry industry.
This breed was produced during 1929-53 by mating White Leghorn males with females from local populations, followed by inter se breeding of crosses with various grades of Leghorn inheritance. The crossbreeding involved Leghorns of different origin - Danish, English, American - each having its own production and exterior features. Selection had the aim of improving egg production, viability, growth rate and live weight.
Before 1965 Russian Whites were the principal egg-laying chickens in the USSR. The average annual production was 175-190 eggs per layer; egg weight was 57-60 g. In breeding state farms the egg production of Russian Whites was 220-230 per year. However, under commercial conditions Russian Whites could not compete with imported lines and crosses of White Leghorns. They fell behind by 40-50 eggs per year and by up to 2.5-3.0 g in egg weight.
For that reason the stock of Russian Whites, which in 1975 was 29.7 million, had decreased to 4.4 million by 1980. They are still found in considerable numbers in Turkmenia, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan.
At present, breeding work with Russian White chickens is carried out in Yasnaya Polyana breeding farm in Stavropol territory. During the first phase (1967-69), breeding was based on selection and parents were evaluated by their daughters' production. In 1970 the breeding system was switched to creation of inbred lines (n = 40) and a control population. The main type of inbreeding was between paternal half-sibs, seldom between full sibs. The birds hatched in 1973 had an inbreeding coefficient (Wright) of nearly 37%. The average production of the six best inbred lines in 475 days was 200-205 eggs weighing 54-56 g. The crosses of these lines had a higher production — 211-236 eggs per year.
In 1983 the number of Russian Whites in Yasnaya Polyana breeding farm was 4500.
Chickens of this population are light in weight and produce small eggs. Their plumage is white; skin and shanks are yellow; they have a single comb.
The live weight of 8-week-old pullets is 0.55 kg; that of cockerels is 0.56 kg. Adult hens weigh 1.6 kg, cocks 2.0 kg. Fertility of eggs reaches 93%; hatchability is 82%; survival rate of young and adults is 95 and 92% respectively. Egg production for the initial and intermediate population during 70 weeks of life is 182 and 206 eggs of 55 g.
Of some interest is the population of Russian White chickens at the All-Union Research Institute of Farm Animal Breeding and Genetics. It was created by selection for resistance to subnormal temperatures in the first days of life and for high egg production. Chickens are free from leukosis and have a high resistance to Marek's disease and carcinomas of internal organs. Chicks are raised at temperatures which are 8-10 below normal. In 1984 this population numbered 500 head.
The live weight of 60-day-old chickens is 0.7 kg; that of adult hens is 1.8 kg and cocks weigh 2.2 kg. The average annual production is 240 eggs, weighing 56 g. Fertility of eggs is 92% and hatchability 80%. Survival rate of both young and adults is 95%.
Breeding work with the populations of Russian White chickens is directed to increasing live weight, egg weight and egg production.
This breed was created during 1946-67 by scientists of the Moscow Timiryazev Academy of Agriculture by mating the crossbred offspring of Brown Leghorn males and Yurlov females with New Hampshire males. The three-way cross chickens were bred inter se. Selection was carried out for egg production, viability and fleshing.
During the first stage of selection inbreeding was used. The average inbreeding coefficient in the lines was no more than 20% and the genetic similarity factor was 45%. The multiplication of lines was based on group mating of cocks with selected half-sibs or sibs.
By 1967 the breeding flock, which included the lines A, B, C and D, numbered more than 7 000 head. In the best pens the egg yield reached 220 and champion layers produced 260-280 eggs per year.
Since 1970 the breeding of Moscow chickens has been carried out in batteries and using artificial insemination. In the course of seven years, a promising new line has been created, M5, with an egg production of 228 eggs per year. It is used to produce hybrids in crosses with White Leghorns. The hybrids lay annually 230-250 eggs weighing 58-60 g. In selection for combining ability the productivity of hybrids was compared with that of paternal sibs of one line and of maternal sibs of the other (controls); at the same time the productivity of reciprocal hybrids was compared.
The characteristic feature of this breed is resistance to disease under commerical conditions.
In the frequencies of ovalbumin genes (A - 0.989) this breed is close to meat-type breeds and in the allele frequencies of the G3 locus (A - 0.750) it is close to Brown and White Leghorns.
The new breed can be found in Moscow and Saratov regions and in the Ukraine. However by 1980 its stock had declined to 42 000 compared with 61 000 in 1975.
Moscow chickens are bred for egg and meat production. They have a broad head, broad and bulging breast, long and broad back. The plumage is dense, black, with or without golden hackles. Cocks have golden feathers on shoulders and back. Ear-lobes are red. In hens shanks are black-and-yellow; in males shanks are paler, without pigmentation.
The live weight of 8-week-old pullets is 0.8 and that of cockerels is 0.9 kg; adult hens weigh 1.9-2.2 and cocks 2.6-2.8 kg. Chickens become sexually mature at 165-170 days of age. Egg-shell colour is light brown. Fertility of eggs reaches 92%; hatchability is 85%. Survival rate of the young and of adults is 95 and 90% respectively. Annual productivity averages 215-228 eggs weighing 56-58 g. Feed consumption per 10 eggs is 1.86-2.00 kg.
The breeding work with Moscow chickens is aimed at increasing combining ability in the cross with White Leghorns.
This breed was produced during 1947-59 by researchers of the Ail-Union Institute of Poultry Breeding at the Zagorsk poultry farm in Moscow region by mating Russian White hens and Plymouth Rock and Pervomai cocks. Selection was based on the combination of high egg production with good fleshing. The nucleus stock included only birds with a rose comb. In 1948 the hens which met the standards of the new breed had an average egg production of 173 eggs with the weight of 60-62 g. The champion laid 219 eggs. The average live weight of adult hens was 2.7 kg.
By 1975, this breed numbered 18 000 head and by 1980 it had increased to 97 000.
Moscow White chickens are used both for egg and meat production. They have a deep and broad body, red-and-white ear-lobes and a rose comb. Shanks are yellow and not long. The live weight of 8-week-old chicks is 0.8 kg; adult hens weigh 2.6 and cocks 3.6 kg.
Age at sexual maturity is 170 days. The average annual production is 180 eggs of 58 g; egg shell is white. Fertility of eggs is 95% and hatchability 90%. Survival rate of the young stock is 95% and of adults 90%.
A characteristic feature of Moscow White chickens is their adaptability to rigorous climatic conditions. Their small rose comb never gets frost-bitten. Selection of this breed is directed to increasing egg production and egg weight.
This is an indigenous chicken breed of the Ukrainian forest-steppe region. Its origin is unclear. It is believed that it was produced by crossing local hens with Buff Orpingtons. A great genetic similarity was found in the polymorphism of protein loci of eggs of Poltava Clay and Rhode Island Reds.
Since 1951 the Ukrainian Institute of Poultry Breeding has been engaged in breeding work with Poltava Clay chickens on the basis of mass selection to increase egg production and live weight. Five inbred lines specialized for egg production were started in 1966; they were bred by mating half sibs. The average production reached 190-209 eggs per year with an egg weight of 54-58 g. Production of champions reached 316 eggs per year.
The combining ability of birds from these new lines was tested in the cross with White Leghorns. The production of two- or three-line interbreed hybrids was 236-240 eggs per year with an egg weight of 53-54 g.
Poltava Clay chickens are widely distributed in the Ukraine on farms not specializing in poultry and as private property of the rural population. In recent years their stock has decreased from 747 000 in 1974 to 626 000 in 1980.
Poltava Clay chickens have buff plumage with black tips to flight and tail feathers. Ear-lobes are red; the comb is pink and shanks are yellow.
The breed is raised for egg and meat production. The live weight of 8-week-old . pullets is 0.8 kg and of cockerels 0.9 kg; adult hens weigh 2.2 kg and cocks 2.6 kg. Age at maturity is 170 days. The average production of Poltava hens is 170-190 eggs per year with a weight of 56 g. The egg shell is brown. Fertility of eggs is 95% and hatchability 88%. Survival rate of the young stock is 92% and of adults 95%.
Poltava Clay chickens are being bred for higher egg production and egg weight and are used in autosexing crosses with birds having light Columbian plumage.
This breed was produced in the Adler poultry complex in Krasnodar territory during 1951-65 by crossing chickens of five breeds. Males of the Pervomai breed were mated with Russian White females and the F1 crosses were bred inter se. F2 progeny with a high production and viability were mated with New Hampshire males in order to improve meat qualities. The three-breed crosses were bred inter se. Offspring selected on appearance and growth rate were mated with White Plymouth Rock cocks for further improvement of meat conformation. These four-way crosses were bred inter se and their offspring were selected according to "standard" requirements. Some of these hens were mated with Yurlov cocks and the five-way crosses were bred inter se.
In creating this breed the main breeding method was selection of the young stock on live weight at 60 days of age, rate of feathering, meat conformation. In each generation, when selecting birds for the nucleus stock, preference was given to specimens with the Columbian plumage pattern.
The stock of Adler chickens grew constantly and by 1961 it had reached 4600 head; in 1962 it numbered 8100. In 1962 20 pens of similar birds were formed in order to test cocks for the meat qualities of their offspring. Promising genealogical lines within the breed were identified by 1965. The total stock in that year reached 46 000 and sales of hatching eggs rose to 500 000. The breed is raised in Krasnodar and Stavropol territories and in Azerbaijan. Its population increased from 110 000 in 1975 to 603 000 by 1980.
Characteristic features of the Adler breed are: both meat and egg production, Columbian plumage pattern, single comb, red ear-lobes and yellow shanks. These chickens have a well-developed skeleton.
The live weight of 49-day-old pullets is 0.83 kg and of cockerels 1.0 kg; adult hens weigh 2.7-2.8 and cocks 3.8-4.2 kg. Age at sexual maturity is 180 days. The average production is 160-180 eggs per year; egg weight is 60 g. The egg-shell colour is brown. Fertility of eggs is 90% and hatchability 75-80%. Survival rate of the young up to 56 days of age is 95% and of adults 83%.
At present, Adler Silver chickens are not used in broiler production because they cannot compete with White Plymouth Rocks. They can be used for creation of new synthetic lines as a female parent line in broiler crosses.
This breed was produced in the Kirgiz Research Institute of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science during 1948-68 by crossing Leghorns, New Hampshires, White and Barred Plymouth Rocks.
The main direction of breeding was family selection with progeny testing of cocks. During the first ten years emphasis on selection for egg production resulted in a high concentration of the A allele (0.905) in the egg white globulin locus. Later, selection was for growth rate. The population of Kirgiz chickens became genetically similar to meat-and-egg breeds. By 1979 the concentration of the above gene had decreased to 0.842 and that of the A allele at the G3 locus went up from 0.092 to 0.126.
Kirgiz chickens are well adapted to the strongly continental, hot dry climate. They are found in non-specialized farms in Kazakhstan. Their stock increased from 17 000 in 1964 to 132 000 in 1975. In 1980 the number of Kirgiz chickens was 122 000 head.
Kirgiz meat-egg chickens have a cone-shaped body of medium size, pinkish-red ear-lobes and a small single comb. Plumage resembles that of the Barred Plymouth Rock.
The live weight of 9-week-old chickens in the breeding nucleus is 1.25 kg; the foundation males of the line weighed 1.4-1.6 kg at this age. The live weight of adult hens is 2.3-2.5 kg and of cocks 3.0-3.5 kg.
Hens reach sexual maturity at 180 days of age. Annual production is 160-170 eggs weighing 56-58 g. Fertility of eggs is 90-95% and hatchability 78-82%. The breed has a high viability: mortality of young is not above 3-5%, adults 5%.
The breed has an important value as a basic material for selection of highly specialized synthetic lines of egg-type and broiler crosses in Kirgizia and Kazakhstan.
This breed was created at Kuchino breeding farm in Moscow region under the supervision of the Moscow Academy of Agriculture and the Institute of General Genetics of the USSR Academy of Sciences, by crossing five breeds - Russian White, New Hampshire, Rhode Island Red, Australorp and White Plymouth Rock. Inter se breeding of crosses was combined with selection for a number of traits - egg production, egg weight and live weight. Later, part of the stock was crossed with Livny cocks (from a local population of egg-and-meat chickens of the Orlov region); the resulting stock was divided into 16 individual pens, and was bred and selected as "standard" chickens. Since 1962 family selection was carried out with differentiation of lines by egg production, egg weight and growth rate. The most effective was selection for growth rate up to 60 days of age: live weight of cockerels increased from 624 to 1074 g, that of pullets from 557 to 928 g. When reared on high-protein rations (23.4% crude protein), average live weight of 90-day-old cockerels reached 2052 and that of hens 1545 g.
The number of Kuchino Jubilee chickens increased from 9300 in 1974 to 53 000 in 1980. The breeding stock in Kuchino farm went up to 13 000, and sales of hatching eggs to 320 000. The breed is found in Moscow and Voronezh regions, Krasnodar and Altai territories and in the Ukraine and Georgia.
Kuchino Jubilee chickens are of meat-and-egg type, very beautiful in plumage colour and conformation. Adult hens have dark buff plumage, with scattered black spots, and with "calico" hackles. The down is grey and quills are light in colour. Cocks have red plumage with golden hackles and saddle; tail and breast are black. On the wings there is a black bar with a green sheen. Ear-lobes are red; comb is single and small. Shanks are yellow. Brooding instinct is weak.
The live weight of 8-week-old chickens is 1.2 kg; that of adult hens is 2.7-3.0 and of cocks 3.5-4.0 kg. Age of maturity is 180 days. Annual egg production averages 200 eggs averaging 59 g. Egg shell is light brown. Fertility of eggs is 95% and hatchability 77-87%. Survival rate of chicks is 98.7% and of adults 95%. Kuchino Jubilee chickens have high meat quality: breast muscles of chicks contain 25.3% of protein. They feather quickly at an early age.
Selection of the Kuchino Jubilee breed is directed toward increasing growth rate and egg production.
This breed was created during 1947-61 at Pantsirev breeding state farm in the Volga area by crossing White Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, New Hampshires, Black Australorps and White Plymouth Rocks. The purpose was to create a native breed of dual-purpose type with high egg and meat production.
In the first phase Leghorn hens were mated to Rhode Island and New Hampshire cocks. In another group Rhode Island hens were mated with New Hampshire cocks. In 1948 the crossbred hens were mated to New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Leghorn cocks. After 1951 the three-way crosses were bred inter se with selection of hens which had black or white plumage and a high egg production.
In 1954 Black Australorp cocks were mated with the black hens in the crossbred population and the white hens were mated with White Plymouth Rocks. Further breeding work was directed to increasing growth rate.
Pantsirev chickens used to be widely spread in the Volga area. They are famous for their adaptability to local conditions. In 1974 the stock numbered 278 000 but by 1980 it had gone down to 22 000. Low dual-purpose production appeared to be the main reason for this decrease.
Pantsirev black hens used for meat and egg production have a deep and broad body, red-and-white ear-lobes and a single comb. Shanks are black-and-white. Cocks usually have a few white feathers near saddle and tail.
The live weight of the 8-week-old chickens is 0.91 kg; that of adult hens is 2.4 and of cocks 3.2 kg. Age at sexual maturity is 175 days. The average annual production is 180 eggs of 57 g. Egg shell is cream-coloured. Fertility of eggs is 95% and hatchability 85%. Survival rate of the young is 86%.
The population of Pantsirev hens with white plumage is for egg and meat production. They have a small head with a single comb and compact body. Ear-lobes are red-and-white.
The live weight of 8-week-old chickens is 0.93 kg; that of adult hens 2.5 and of cocks 3.0 kg. Age at sexual maturity is 170 days. The average annual production is 190 eggs of 58 g. Egg shell is light cream. Fertility of eggs is 95% and hatchability is 80%. Survival rate of the young is 95% and of adults 96%.
Selection of Pantsirev chickens is aimed at improving egg production and egg weight.
This breed was developed at Pervomai state farm in the Ukraine (1935-41) and at Pachelma state farm in Penza region (1942-63) from a three-breed cross.
White Wyandotte cocks were mated with Rhode Island hens and a crossbred cock was selected which was mated with Yurlov hens. Three lines were formed by breeding the three-breed crosses inter se using half-sib mating.
During World War II the population decreased to 48 hens and 6 cocks; the nucleus stock included only 10 hens and 4 cocks. In 1947 the Pervomai population increased to 180 and in 1948 to 670 birds. Line selection was then discontinued because of the adverse effect of inbreeding on viability, hatchability and egg production. The main breeding methods became large-scale crossing of lines and infusion of fresh blood of males from other farms. The year 1956 marked the resumption of line selection, breeding males being evaluated on the growth rate of their offspring. By 1962 the population of the Pervomai breed reached 56 000 head.
During the whole period of breed formation, selection was carried out for high growth rate, high egg production and early maturity. Annual production of hens increased from 135 to 195 eggs, weighing 56-57 g. Hatchability increased from 66 to 78%. Egg production of champions reached 256-270 eggs.
The main disadvantage of this breed is too low a production and inability to compete with modern highly specialized egg-meat lines. For that reason the population of Pervomai chickens began to drop sharply and in 1975-80 it numbered only 2100-2500 head.
Pervomai chickens are bred for egg and meat production. They have light Columbian plumage colour, yellow shanks, red ear-lobes and a rose comb. Their conformation is marked by short legs indicating compactness.
The live weight of 8-week-old pullets is 0.88, and that of cockerels is 0.98 kg. The live weight of hens is 2.5 and of cocks 3.5 kg. Age at sexual maturity is 170 days. The average annual production is 180-190 eggs weighing 55-56 g. Egg shell is brown. Fertility of eggs is 95% and hatchability 85%. Survival rate of the young up to 56 days of age is 98% and of adults it is 95%.
Selection of Pervomai chickens is aimed at increasing egg production and egg weight.
This is a local breed of the central and northern Ukraine; its origin is unclear. Its distinguishing feature is a short thick beard and thick muffs covering small ear-lobes. This character is dominant over absence of beard.
The breed is raised by amateur breeders and in gene conservation flocks of research institutes. The stock is 200 head. The head is large and broad, with a rose or single comb and short strong beak. The body is compact, round, abundantly feathered. Muffed chickens are short and thickset with relatively short legs. The tail is well developed, with rounded feathers, and sloping somewhat backwards. The plumage is usually black, light grey or red-brown, but there are also white, spotted, silver and mottled varieties.
Muffed chickens have a very strong brooding instinct. Chicks feather very early. The live weight of adult hens is 1.8-2.3 and of cocks 2.3-3.5 kg.
Age at sexual maturity is 150-180 days. The average annual production is 150-160 eggs of 50-60 g. Egg shell is light brown. Production of champions reaches 200-214 eggs per year. Fertility of eggs is 93% and hatchability 75-80%. Survival rate of the young is 94% and of adults 95%. Due to their thick plumage and compact body build, they have a good resistance to low temperatures.
The breed was developed in Armenia during 1949-74 from the cross of local chickens with Rhode Island Reds and New Hampshires.
Chickens of local populations were well adapted to the continental climate but had a low productivity - 100 eggs per year with an egg weight of 52 g. In 1949 a champion layer from the local population which laid 107 eggs in the third year of its production period, was mated with a Rhode Island cock of 1947 hatch. The cock was heavy (3.7 kg) and had a typical conformation. Among the crossbreds, a cock with a yearling weight of 3.0 kg was chosen. It was mated with another local champion which laid 191 eggs in the fifth and 123 in the seventh year of production and had a good hatchability.
Backcrosses having 3/4 of local and 1/4 of Rhode Island inheritance, formed the breeding nucleus (n=11). Production of these birds was over 150 eggs and one hen with a live weight of 2.4 kg laid 213 eggs in a year. Later, one cock was used in mating both with the hen which originated the breed and with its female offspring. The third generation of chickens, possessing 7/8 of local and 1/8 of Rhode Island inheritance, was bred inter se after 1952, thereby preserving the characteristics of the locl birds, and creating a one-type line in 4-5 years. Hens of this line had an average annual production of 153 eggs averaging 56 g. A champion layer gave 241 eggs. The average live weight of hens was 2.0-2.2 kg and that of cocks 3.0-3.7 kg.
In 1964-65 hens of the new line were mated with New Hampshire cocks. The resulting red-buff chickens were widely distributed in Armenia and Azerbaijan. The breeding stock increased rapidly - 2500 in 1965, 109 000 in 1975, 337 000 in 1980. The rapid progress of the breed became possible by the creation of highly productive specialized lines and families.
Yerevan meat-egg chickens have a strong constitution and distinctive appearance. The comb is small, with uniform points; ear-lobes are pink; shanks are yellow and plumage is red-buff.
The live weight of 8-week-old chickens is 0.8 kg; adult hens weigh 2.2-2.5 and cocks 3.5-4.5 kg. Age of sexual maturity is 170 days. Egg shell is brown. Fertility of eggs is 95% and hatchability 80-85%. Mortality of the young is 5-7% and of adults 5%. The average production is 180-200 eggs per year; egg weight is 58-60 g. The production of champions is 270-290 eggs.
Crossbred progeny of Yerevan hens and White Leghorn cocks produce 230 eggs per year weighing 60 g. The live weight of adult layers is 1.8-2.0 kg. Specialized egg lines of Yerevan hens are used as female parents in crosses with male lines of White Leghorns.
Specialized dual-purpose (meat and egg) lines of Yerevan chickens are a valuable genetic resource for the creation of new synthetic meat-and-egg lines of broiler crosses.
This breed was created in the Central Black-Earth zone of the Russian Federation in Orlov, Kursk and Voronezh regions, by means of traditional selection. M.F. Ivanov was of the opinion that the Yurlov breed originated from crosses of local hens with fighting cocks and Brahma males.
The breed was formed by prolonged selection of cocks having a strong and long-drawn-out crow. It was believed that selection on the beauty and length of crowing would help to develop a strong constitution with robust body and broad breast.
During 1941-45 the bulk of the Yurlov population was lost. In 1948, the All-Union Poultry Breeding Institute brought 27 specimens from Goryaninovka village in Kursk region. By 1951 the gene conservation population had increased to 200 head. The average performance in this flock was 124 eggs per year. Later it was possible to raise the performance up to 154 eggs of 71 g per year.
Yurlov chickens are the ancestors of some new home-bred breeds: Pervomai, Adler Silver and Zagorsk Salmon chickens still have in their genotype 1/2 to 3/8 of Yurlov inheritance.
Yurlov chickens have the well-manifested characters of meat-type Asian and game breeds. Their body is broad, deep and long. The head is small, with broad frontal bone, large orbital arches and red ear-lobes. They have a single, rose or walnut comb. The legs are long and strong, yellow or black in colour. The plumage is rather fluffy and of various colours; dark silver, salmon and red are the commonest. Chicks feather very slowly.
The live weight of 8-week-old chickens is 0.9-1.2 kg; adult hens weigh 2.6-3.0 and cocks 3.5-4.0 kg. Annual production is 160-180 eggs of 60-80 g. Egg shell is pink-brown. Fertility of eggs is 91% and hatchability 80%. Survival rate of the young is 90% and of adults 88-93%.
The Yurlov breed is kept in gene conservation flocks at research institutes and by amateur breeders.
This breed group is used for meat and egg production. It was created during 1950-59 by breeders from the Ail-Union Poultry Breeding Research Institute in the Moscow region starting with a four-way cross. In 1950 they made reciprocal crosses of Russian Whites with the New Hampshire, Rhode Island Red and Yurlov breeds. The F1 crosses were backcrossed to Rhode Island Red and Yurlov cocks.
The foundation birds had a high production and viability. For example, Rhode Island Red cocks had female parents which laid not less than 180 eggs per year and Yurlov cocks descended from a hen which laid 185 eggs.
In 1953 the number of Salmon chickens having 3/8 of Yurlov blood was 227. They were bred in a closed population where family selection was used to combine high laying rate, viability, egg weight and good fleshing. The live weight of the 90-day-old Zagorsk Salmon cockerels was 1.7 kg; 90.6% of carcasses were rated as first grade.
The Zagorsk Salmon breed used to be numerous in Krasnodar arid Stavropol territories and in Moscow and Tambov regions. During the last five years they have been bred only in two populations in research institutes; the total stock is 600 head.
The Zagorsk breed is raised for meat and egg production. They have a deep and broad body. The head is of medium size, with a single comb and red ear-lobes. The neck is also of medium size with silvery hackles in cocks. Flight and tail feathers are light brown in hens and almost black in roosters. Shanks are short and yellow. Feathering of the young is slow and the brooding instinct is weak.
The live weight of 7-week-old pullets is 0.85 and that of cockerels is 1.00 kg; the live weight of adult hens is 2.7 and cocks weigh 3.7 kg. Age at sexual maturity is 180 days. The average annual production is 170 eggs of 60-62 g; for champions the corresponding figure is 211-216 eggs. The egg shell is thick and brown in colour. Fertility of eggs is 91% and hatchability 75-80%. Survival rate of the young is 93% and of adults 92%.
A characteristic feature of Zagorsk Salmon chickens is polymorphism in the down colour of day-old chicks. This colour varies from absolutely white, or white with dark spots, to light brown with longitudinal stripes. Selection is aimed at autosexing day-old chicks by the down colour.
This breed was formed in ancient times in Central Asia by selection for aggressiveness of cocks, massive body, strong constitution and skeleton, under conditions of scarce feeding and adverse management.
The breed has a wide distribution in Bukhara and Samarkand regions under the name "kulang" and in Fergana valley and Kirgizia as "dakan". It is said that in the past "kulangs" were used for breeding some English commercial breeds.
Long selection for sporting purposes (cock fights) led to the formation of chickens with unique exterior and constitution. They are large, with a massive vertically-set body. The head is small, slightly flattened from side to side; the comb is small, pea-shaped, often reduced. Eyes are round, gleaming, vivid. Legs are long. Plumage is thick, tight to the body; its colour is variable. The temperament is lively and aggressive.
The live weight of 9-week-old pullets is 0.97 and that of cockerels is 1.29 kg; adult hens weigh 3.2-3.8 and cocks 4.0-7.0 kg. Age at sexual maturity is 215 days.
Annual production is 105-120 eggs of 55-60 g. The egg shell is light brown. Fertility of eggs is 70% and hatchability 80-85% Survival rate of the young up to 9 weeks of age is 98% and of adults 97%.
Uzbek Game birds are well adapted to local conditions. The breed can be used in the creation of new lines for the broiler industry of Central Asia.