Skeletal development in the meat-type chicken

B Williams, S Solomon, D Waddington, B Thorp, C Farquharson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

1. This study ascertained how bone of modern meat-type chickens develops under typical commercial conditions and compares development with that in genetic precursor stock. 2. A modern fast-growing selected strain and a slower-growing control strain were used. Birds were weighed weekly. A random sample was taken from each population at a range of ages up to 39 d. 3. A tibiotarsus from each bird was X-rayed and its dimensions and estimated resistance to bending were determined. Cortical bone samples were ashed to measure total mineral, calcium and phosphorus content. Cortical samples were also taken for porosity assessment. 4. As expected, the selected strain grew faster and heavier than the control strain. Despite this, both strains demonstrated similar periods of rapid bone formation (days 4 to 18) and mineralisation (days 4 to 11), and achieved similar estimates of resistance to bending. 5. However, cortical bone of the selected strain was less well mineralised and more porous than that of the control strain and showed a significant increase in the molar Ca:P ratios above the expected range of values during the first 2 to 3 weeks of life. 6. Despite production of bones with the correct dimensions for load support, the relatively poor density and mineral content of bone in the selected strain is likely to reduce effective breaking strength of the tibiotarsus. Possible reasons may be either inadequate dietary supply of Ca and P or impaired utilisation of the minerals due to a rapid growth rate or genetic factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-9
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Poultry Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2000

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Bone Density
  • Bone Development
  • Bone and Bones
  • Calcium
  • Chickens
  • Copper
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Phosphorus
  • Spectrophotometry, Atomic
  • Tibia
  • Zinc


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