Heterophils isolated from distinct broilers (lines A and B) differ in function and cytokine gene expression profiles. Nothing is known about Toll-like receptor (TLR) expression nor functional activation and cytokine/chemokine gene expression of line A and B heterophils when stimulated with TLR agonists. We found that line A and B heterophils express the same range of TLRs. All the bacterial TLR agonists, peptidoglycan, the synthetic lipoprotein Pam3CSK4, ultra-pure lipopolysaccharide, and flagellin all induced significantly greater functional activation of heterophils from line A compared to B. Only stimulation with the guanosine analog, loxoribine, (LOX) induced a significantly greater functional response in B over A. Additionally, all heterophils from line A stimulated with the bacterial TLR agonists had dramatic upregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokine and chemokine mRNA expression, whereas heterophils from line B had little or no upregulation of these genes. However, stimulation of all heterophils from line B with the bacterial TLR agonists and LOX induced a significant upregulation of IFN-alpha, with little transcription of this cytokine gene in line A heterophils. These findings suggest that the difference in heterophil functional efficiency between these parent lines is due to recognition of pathogens and activation of signaling pathways that induce innate cytokine and chemokine responses.