Research & Development
As part of the Aviagen Group – the world's leading poultry breeding company – Aviagen invests heavily in research focused on delivering balanced progress in both broiler and breeder traits. Through the application and integration of novel techniques and new technologies, continuous progress in breeder and broiler chicken performance is delivered simultaneously in commercial traits such as broiler live weight and egg production, as well as welfare-related traits such as robustness, cardiovascular fitness and skeletal strength. The focus for Aviagen is on maintaining balanced progress in each branded product line. A highly trained team, many with more than a quarter of a century of experience, selects the best breeding stock. The application of new technologies and advanced selection techniques and data analysis means greater selection accuracy and improved rates of genetic progress.
To this end, Aviagen collaborates with its distributors and customers to identify specific market requirements. Constant improvement of existing commercial brands, the expansion of genetic pool diversity through acquisitions such as the Peterson Male line, and the meticulous evaluation and development of new lines, ensure Aviagen remains the supplier of choice to the global poultry industry.
Aviagen R&D Techniques & Technologies
Commercial FCR Selection
Improvement in feed efficiency (FCR - Feed Conversion Ratio) is of major importance in our selection strategy to further improve the efficiency of broiler meat production. Continuous investment began in 2004 in groundbreaking lifetime feed conversion analysis with electronically monitored feed stations capturing every meal eaten by each pedigree bird in the selection program. Lifetime FCR is measured in a group environment under conditions reflecting commercial farms and natural feeding behavior. The innovative system Aviagen pioneered consists of individual feed stations equipped with the latest transponder technology for bird identification and state-of-the-art weighing technology to accurately and reliably record feed intake.
Breast Meat Yield
Investment for breast meat yield selection combines direct yield testing on the brothers and sisters of pedigree birds with performance measurement and farm selection information. In addition, continued development and use of non-intrusive ultrasound technology provides an accurate assessment of yield that can be carried out on a live bird.
Improving Leg Strength
Aviagen utilizes an X-ray unit called a Lixiscope, which offers the opportunity to safely detect and identify Tibial Dyschondroplasia (TD). The introduction of the Lixiscope has enabled Aviagen to identify TD accurately and select against its presence and improve overall leg health in the breeding program. Aviagen was the first to implement use of the Lixiscope and in combination with individual bird walking assessment, it has significantly improved leg strength in all our products worldwide.
Aviagen is the only breeding company using multiple selection environments of the first class pedigree facilities together with commercial-like conditions to identify the birds with not only the best genetic performance, but also with the robust characteristics necessary to manage and succeed in more challenging environments. This dual selection program uses state-of-the-art technology to measure physical competence and robustness, enhancing livability traits in the birds. Aviagen selects using a targeted approach incorporating livability as well as key components affecting livability, such as leg strength and cardiopulmonary function.
Aviagen includes genomics information in the routine selection of its elite lines. Genomics information will complement existing selection techniques, adding to the continuous improvement of Aviagen products year-on-year. Aviagen’s genomics project is concerned with identifying naturally occurring markers within the genome of elite birds and using those markers to help breed stronger and more productive birds through the current selective breeding program, a completely natural process. In line with Aviagen’s tradition of innovation and dedication to R&D, this major achievement comes as a result of long-term commitment to cutting-edge research and bringing together the expertise of top scientists in the field of genomics and the internal knowledge gained from more than 50 years at the forefront of breeding. Aviagen commenced using genomics in its commercial selection program in June 2012 and became the first company to include genomic information as a critical additional source of information in the R&D breeding program.